For years, possibly decades, the Bill Belichick ethos guiding the New England Patriots has been impenetrable: We do the best for the team.
With do your work, has adopted this principle in almost every decision that has come to define the franchise. He defends him at coaching staff meetings. He reiterates it in corporate talks. He repeats it so often in press conferences that clips of him saying some version of the ideology can be found in almost every year of his Patriots reign can be found.
If anyone were to question his dedication, they need only look inside Belichick’s list of lists throughout history: a march of attrition that shows his priority of cold calculation over sentimentality or blind loyalty.
Release Pro Bowl safety attorney Milloy just days before the start of the 2003 season? Do what is best for the team.
Spend decades trading, cutting or walking away from core players who were aging or threatening a salary cap reduction? Do what is best for the team.
The future of the team mattered. When it came to a tough business decision, many names that built dynasties didn’t: Milloy, Ty Law, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel, Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, Logan Mankins, Jamie Collins, stephon gilmore … and many many more. In the end, long-term success or failure would never be bet on one man. And for decades, Belichick was right.
then came matt patricia and the 2022 season. The moment when Belichick’s incorruptible doctrine of “what’s best for the team” was blindsided by his own arrogance.
Somewhere at the intersection of not having a plan for the departure of Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator and overestimating his own ability to continually drive a square peg into a round hole, Belichick violated his creed. He failed to do what was best for the team, choosing boldness over logic and a coaching friend over a much-needed young quarterback. Prioritize trust and familiarity over the need to build a list.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft should be taking note. His team is heading into an offseason where it’s time for him to start treating Belichick the way Belichick has treated his players for decades. This is where the trainer’s playbook should be on the owner’s lips.
Do your work. Do what is best for the team.
Right now, Kraft must be Belichick. not sentimental Calculator. driven. No lines of credit for what was accomplished in the past. Rather than reapply grace to Belichick’s mistake, he chooses force. Seek an inexorable mandate instead of some form of diplomacy.
Bottom line: tell Belichick Patricia needs to be stripped of offensive play-calling duties and the head coach needs to find a proven offensive coordinator to take control of the scheme and guide mac jones. Because what’s happening this season goes from unacceptable to malpractice.
New England’s offensive trajectory looks similar to the one New York Giants did to daniel jones — getting off to a promising start and systematically destroying his ability to develop properly as a quarterback. It’s a mistake that irreparably damaged Daniel Jones’ chance to be the team’s answer at quarterback and helped send the franchise into a multiyear spiral that is only now slowing under head coach brian daboll. Now Patriots fans are watching mac jones the same way Giants fans did with Daniel Jones in his second and third seasons, wondering if the early success was just a mirage.
They may not be alone either. Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown made headlines this week when his Instagram account “liked” a post suggesting the franchise should pursue Brady’s return or Jimmy Garoppolo. While there’s no way to tell if it was Brown or someone who runs his account who clicked that button, the fact remains that this is a very unpatriotic bit of drama that erupts between an offensive tackle and the quarterback he’s been playing for. they pay you to protect. . That’s not cool no matter how you process it.
That’s the kind of drama that this experiment of Patricia’s invites, from flirting with bailey zape to the disjointed play by Jones who has emotional outbursts over a game plan that shows minimal trust in him. None of which was a problem in 2021, when McDaniels ran the offense. The the same McDaniels who walked off the field in Las Vegas on Sunday with a wildly unlikely win that would have gone to overtime if Patricia had simply taken a knee at the end of regulation. Instead, Patricia called a running play that opened up the possibility of a wild set of decisions by two players who never should have been in that position in the first place.
No, that’s not entirely blaming Patricia for the Raiders’ loss. But when you review the game, she certainly made a lot of questionable decisions that were ultimately forgotten in the end. And the fact remains: if she didn’t have the confidence for Jones to throw a hail mary to end regulation and assumed a running play would end in a simple tackle, why not just drop to her knees and eliminate any chance of some mental error? ? ? That’s the job of an experienced play caller, to improve the probability of success while eliminating as many opportunities for errors as possible.
Patricia didn’t do that. And in the aftermath, the Patriots lost a game that threatens to knock them out of the postseason for the second time in three years.
That kind of end result, where the Patriots are sitting at home again during the postseason, has to be on Kraft’s mind. No one should forget that last March at the NFL’s biggest annual owners meetings, Kraft made an unexpected comment to pressure Belichick to move on. He was upset that New England had fallen off the league map as a contender so quickly after Brady’s departure. And he was angry that the Patriots hadn’t won a playoff game since Super Bowl LIII, following the 2018 season.
“I think about it a lot,” Kraft said.
And that’s why he has to do something he’s resisted doing for decades: get into Belichick’s kitchen when it comes to coaching decisions and make it clear that Patricia has no future on the team as playmaker. That may sound like the owner crossed the line, but the fact is it happens all the time in the NFL on other franchises. Most especially when the head coach is making ego driven decisions that are hurting the team.
In this case with Patricia, that clearly has happened. Now Kraft has to take it upon himself to take a page from Belichick and put the team first. There’s no room for nostalgia for past glory or what was going on when Tom Brady was still in the fold. For this franchise to move forward, it has to move on.
Treating Belichick the way he’s always treated his players would be a good start for the property.