Bill Belichick has never been one to rest on his laurels. Staying ahead of the curve – that’s what Belichick is all about. Keeping one step ahead of the competition. For a lot of this season, New England’s fast-break spread-style offense looked like it was at least one step ahead of everyone else, maybe two. Then the AFC title game happened. Everything went wrong for New England. They didn’t protect Tom Brady well enough. They had some drops. Brady got picked. It was just a bad day all around for the Pats’ offense. Now Belichick has to sift through the wreckage and figure out how to fix whatever is wrong. If anything is actually wrong. Could’ve just been a bad game. The wind seemed to bother Brady. And they didn’t have Gronkowski. So maybe the solution is to stand pat? Roll again with the same personnel and see if things come up better?
But I don’t think New England will stand pat. That’s the thing about Belichick. He doesn’t stand pat. Just look back to a few years ago when they added Randy Moss. The Patriots were a great team before Moss. But Belichick looked at Moss and thought it would be fun to have that home run element to his offense. And the result was a record-setting offensive season. Belichick may be looking around right now trying to find the next Moss. The next guy he can plug in to the formula and take it to another level.
Aren’t a lot of guys like that out there obviously. Big-time receiver talent doesn’t just drop in your lap. Well, Moss sort of dropped in Belichick’s lap. But can lightning strike twice? Maybe it can. There’s a guy in Minnesota right now who has that kind of game-changing talent. And there is a lot of buzz about him wanting out of Minnesota.
Of course I’m talking about Percy Harvin. Could Harvin be the guy Belichick wants? On the surface, Harvin would seem to make sense for New England. They make use of their little speedy slot receivers better than probably any team. That type of receiver is central to their whole scheme. Wes Welker has thrived in that offense. But Harvin as we know is on a different level talent-wise. He has everything Welker has, plus the raw speed, plus crazy moves and the ability to break tackles with power. He’s like a super-charged Welker. It’s easy to imagine Belichick looking at Harvin’s talent and drooling.
It’s equally easy to imagine Harvin watching Tom Brady and drooling. We know Harvin isn’t happy with the QB situation in Minnesota. He doesn’t think Christian Ponder can be the man. Unlike Ponder, there is no question about Brady being the man. And Harvin has certainly heard plenty of stories from his pal Randy Moss about Brady. For one season at least, the Brady-to-Moss connection achieved mythic proportions. Could Brady-to-Harvin become equally epic?
You wouldn’t’ use Harvin the same as Moss obviously. Harvin isn’t that pure deep receiver. But New England isn’t necessarily looking for that element. That’s what they signed Brandon Lloyd for. Harvin would likely be used the same way as Welker, but he would just bring such a dynamic quality to the offense, it would exceed what you have with Welker. And you could also use him in returns and as a back out of the backfield. The versatility of Harvin also makes him attractive. Plus, lately Welker has developed a reputation for dropping passes in big games. It might be time for Welker to move on, just to get a fresh start away from all that. Think the fans would be happy with Harvin as a Welker replacement? I think so.
So let’s talk details here. What would it take for the Patriots to get Harvin away from Minnesota? The Vikings would be thrilled to score a first round pick but I don’t see that happening. Belichick doesn’t have any problem dealing draft picks but even he probably wouldn’t cough up a first. I’m thinking a second gets it done. Then the Vikings can be rid of the Harvin headache. He can go to New England and be happy the way Moss was happy with Belichick and Brady constantly telling him how great he is. He won’t have to suffer with Christian Ponder as his quarterback anymore.
It seems to make sense for everyone involved. Maybe it would even be the best thing for Christian Ponder. Emotionally I mean. On the field, it would not be good for Ponder. It’s never good to lose a top-notch talent in the prime of his career, from a purely on-the-field point-of-view. But this isn’t about what goes on between the lines. It’s about Harvin’s attitude and the way he meshes with Ponder. Or, doesn’t mesh with Ponder. I just think it’s a terrible fit personality-wise. If Ponder had more assertiveness, maybe he could co-exist with Harvin. But I don’t see Ponder’s personality changing. And I don’t see Percy changing either. I don’t want Percy to go, but the reality is, he probably has to go.
If he does have to go, New England would be an interesting place for him to land. I’ll admit, I’m curious to see what those guys would do with his talent. I’m guessing he wouldn’t act up the way he did in Minnesota. Can’t really see Percy Harvin yelling at Belichick the way he yelled at Leslie Frazier. He certainly wouldn’t pull any crap with Brady. He would be like Moss in New England. Docile. Guys like that tend to shut up in the presence of other strong personalities.
Of course it would be painful to watch Harvin go to New England and thrive the way Moss did. It always sucks to see a great player go somewhere else and make runs at Super Bowls. But there are certain realities. The reality for the Vikings is, Harvin probably doesn’t fit into their picture anymore. Sad but true.