BOSTON (CBS) — The Chiefs beat the Patriots in last Thursday’s season opener on the strength of their 42 points on offense, but they also had a strong defensive game plan that kept Tom Brady from throwing a touchdown pass. Their strategy thrived on dropping eight men into coverage, with Eric Berry and Marcus Peters locking down Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan.
It was a great strategy, but the Chiefs had the personnel to pull it off. How many other NFL teams do? The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe talked about that with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday, acknowledging that the Chiefs’ “brilliant” game plan can’t be replicated by many other teams across the NFL.
“There’s a short list,” said Howe. “Maybe Seattle – Seattle can definitely do that – but there aren’t a lot of teams. We’ll see if Houston can do it in a couple of weeks.
“When you can make Gronk have to fight for every single inch of space the way that Eric Berry did, that starts you off on the right foot. Same thing with Chris Hogan. And that’s something the Patriots are going to have to work to adjust.”
Howe was asked about Tom Brady’s striking comments regarding the Patriots’ attitude as a team following the letdown loss. Bill Belichick had spent the offseason trying to keep his team sharp and prevent them from buying into their own hype, which looks like an issue that the team will have to fix over the course of the regular season.
“That’s got to be concerning, because you’re hearing it from the No. 1 guy on the roster here,” said Howe. “And Bill Belichick was asked several times … if anything reminded him of that 2014 loss [to the Chiefs], and he just wouldn’t touch those questions.
“I think if it does anything for Bill Belichick, it reinforces the point that he’s been trying to drive home all offseason: everything they’ve done in the past really doesn’t mean a damn thing anymore.”
On the possible trade rumors involving Dion Lewis, Howe does not believe a move is likely, considering the injury concerns they’ve had with other running backs on the roster.
“They know how talented Dion Lewis is,” said Howe. “Mike Gillislee has dealt with two hamstring injuries over the course of the offseason. They don’t want to all of a sudden trade a guy like Dion Lewis and have it be your third strike with Gillislee.
“You don’t want to trade a guy that you like. … You want to have as many healthy bodies as possible while you have the luxury of having that.”
Howe also touched upon the most “fixable” problems on the Patriots roster and the latest with Dont’a Hightower’s availability for next weekend against the Saints. Listen to the full podcast above!