With Brady Band-Aid gone, Bill Belichick’s shortcomings as GM leave Patriots in moribund chaos

New England Patriots fans seem to be fed up with Bill Belichick. Frankly, this is surprising.

For much of the past 20 years, legions of Patriots fans have adhered to the “We Trust Bills” mantra. Belichick had overall responsibility for nearly all aspects of football operations, and the team achieved unprecedented success, including six Super Bowl championships.

But about four seasons of mediocrity and badness seems to be the limit, especially considering the 2023 Patriots are in disarray. And it’s all basically being run by one grumpy man, and if the boos from fans at home games and the howls of protest on sports talk radio are any indication of the collective mood of the fan base, many are ready to turn the page. page to welcome new friends.

In many ways, you can’t blame them for feeling that way after a 1-4 start to the season. But the thing is, there’s no easy fix, and moving on from Belichick — no matter how necessary it feels — will likely result in at least a few seasons of struggle.

Belichick is the head coach and de facto general manager. He was surrounded by a crowd of pleasant faces. Bill Parcells said as he left the gates of New England, “If they want you to cook, at least they should let you buy some groceries.” Belichick is the head chef and has an eye for all the ingredients, the menu , prep cook, bartender…has the final say…his hands touch everything.

So Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly doesn’t agree to keep Belichick around until he breaks Don Shula’s win record of 347, but that’s not quite what it seems. easy. It’s unlikely Belichick would agree to have his personnel removed but remain coach, and a mutual parting of ways would likely result in a slew of others who essentially owe their careers to Belichick following him out.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Coach Bill Belichick has overtaken general manager Bill Belichick for a while now, and without Tom Brady to fill the cracks, the Patriots have fallen into current dilemma.  (Photo by Winslow Townsend/Getty Images)

Coach Bill Belichick has overtaken general manager Bill Belichick for a while now, and without Tom Brady to fill the cracks, the Patriots have fallen into current dilemma. (Photo by Winslow Townsend/Getty Images) (Winslow Townsend via Getty Images)

Director of player personnel Matt Groh is the son of Al Groh, who worked with Belichick with the Giants and Browns. When Groh decided to give up a career as a lawyer and follow his father and brothers into football, he was hired as a front-office assistant for his father’s friend’s team. Belichick’s two sons, Steve (linebackers coach) and Brian (safeties), have been with the team since college and have never worked for anyone but their father. Super Bowl-winning former Patriots Adrian Clem (offensive line), Troy Brown (receivers) and Jerrod Mayo (backs) are all on the coaching staff, although Mayo appears to be stuck. Husband’s favorite. Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino only refers to Belichick as his boss.

During the 2018 season, the Patriots defeated the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII. Historically, this would create a lengthy post-championship honeymoon period for head coaches. In the four seasons and five games since winning the title, New England has a 38-33 regular season record. (They have two wild-card round losses during that span.) Excluding Tom Brady’s 12-4 record in 2019, his final season with the team, the Patriots are 26-29.

Things get worse: It looks like things are getting worse.

Coach Belichick should still be considered one of the best coaches of all time; we won’t argue that point. But Belichick has been an average GM at best over the years, and with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Brady might be even greater than we long thought, given his ability to cover up countless GM mistakes like the world’s most photogenic Band-Aid.

Especially on offense, the performance was terrible. Ridiculously, the Patriots can barely draft a wide receiver in the higher rounds. They ended up using a first-round pick on N’Keal Harry in 2019, who had just 57 catches in 33 games over three seasons before being traded to Chicago for a seventh-round pick. Of the seven other receivers drafted in the first three rounds during Belichick’s tenure, only one went on to have a memorable career with the team: Dion Branch, a 2002 second-round pick who later Became the MVP of Super Bowl 39.

The offensive line, which until recently was considered one of the best in the NFL under the tutelage of Dante Scarnecchia, is an ever-changing group of players due to injuries, But its problems mean Patriots can’t protect Mac Jones and Can’t run the ball. Jones may not be a future All-Pro player, but at this point, the incredible decision to appoint Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as offensive coordinators last season, the lack of top skill players and Between the leaky routes, do we have an option that feels like he can play quarterback well?

With young offensive minds like the Rams’ Sean McVay, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Miami’s Mike McDaniel changing the game, Bill O’Brien’s role as offensive coordinator this season The return was touted as a potential miracle save, but he looked to have been outclassed. . New England is 72-3 over the past two games, averaging just 11 points per game.

In much of the analysis from local and national pundits, there’s often a caveat that gives Belichick the benefit of the doubt: He’s turned things around before, so maybe this year he can.

Maybe you’ve never felt so empty. Now, the Patriots’ notoriously stinky meals have only one chef to blame.

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