FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots are 2-0.
That's before you get to all the ifs, ands and buts that surround the team -- the ailing offense, the injuries to key players, and the overall lack of flash in those two wins.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has a unique perspective after a long tenure with the Oakland Raiders.
"Even if they're ugly 2-0 victories, a victory is a victory," he said. "I'd rather have ugly wins than pretty losses any day, and I had a lot of pretty losses in my career, so I'll take the ugly wins. All that counts, man. It's going to stack up. I know as the weeks go by, we're going to get better as a team."
Kelly was a defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders for nine years from 2004-2012, during which time the Raiders went 45-99 (.313), the third-worst record in football in that stretch. He was never a part of a team that went over .500 on the season, and he was even a member of the 2006 team that went 2-14 and netted the first overall pick in the draft.
The Raiders started 0-2 four times in Kelly's nine years with the team.
So, naturally, he sympathizes with teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that don't start hot, and knows not to overlook a team that may be in desperation mode.
"I mean, you know they're desperate, but you also know they're a good team," he said. "I mean, from watching them on film, like you said, (they lost twice on) two field goals at the end of the game? Come on, you know. In another circumstance, they could easily be 2-0, so you can't take this team lightly at all. They're coming in here with their backs against the wall, you know they're going to give you their best shot, so you gotta be ready."
The Buccaneers lost their first game of the season when linebacker Lavonte David's penalty for a late hit on Jets quarterback Geno Smith set up Jets kicker Nick Folk's 48-yard game-winner. Their second loss came to the New Orleans Saints, with Buccaneers kicker Rian Lindell missing from 47 yards, allowing Saints quarterback Drew Brees marching his team into field goal range and setting up kicker Garrett Hartley's 27-yard game-winner.
There are currently six 0-2 teams: the Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins, the New York Giants, the Carolina Panthers, the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. After Monday night, there will be a seventh: either the Cincinnati Bengals or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots haven't started 0-2 since 2001, the year Tom Brady took over at quarterback. They are 148-44 in the regular season since then, the best record of any team in football. Few teams have ever enjoyed the kind of success the Patriots have seen lately.
Who knows how much longer their run of success continues, but it hasn't ended yet, and it could be much worse than being 2-0 right now.
A little perspective from the always-insightful Tommy Kelly.
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