New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick lost his own way in 2022
Was “The Patriot Way” about Bill Belichick or was it about the players who bought in? When Tom Brady was allowed to walk out the door and Julian Edelman retired, it is seeming like it was more about the players as the New England Patriots haven’t looked like themselves this past season.
It really goes beyond last season to be truthful. Often out-coached on the field, there has been this sort of laziness off the field which was highlighted in 2022 with all the dysfunction on the sidelines, mainly the disastrous decision to let Matt Patricia and Joe Judge run the offense.
Not only did that decision pretty much ruin the progression of Mac Jones, but it also had players and former players questioning what the heck is Belichick thinking. In a recent article by the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian, the dysfunction under Belichick in 2022 was really highlighted.
As Patriots fans, we may have thought it was bad with Mac Jones yelling at Patricia and players questioning the lack of preparation, but it was much worse. There was a fear Patricia and Joe Judge would bring a toxicity into the locker room given their failures as head coaches of the Detroit Lions and New York Giants and they lived up to that fear according to the article.
Bill Belichick failed the New England Patriots players with a curious decision
There was not only dismay between Jones and the offensive play calling of Patricia, but there was also a failed relationship between the second-year quarterback and Judge. With players like Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers speaking out, it appeared the entire offense never bought in from the start. There was never any chemistry, it was out of whack and broken.
In fact, if there was an image to describe the Patriots offense in 2022, it was a disinterested Trent Brown whiffing on a block. The players simply weren’t buying in which was very unlike a Belichick coached team.
"“It was disheveled,” a source said. “They were always scrambling to get things done.”"
Man, that’s all on Belichick for thinking or even believing just anyone can step in and coach the offense. But maybe he recognized his mistakes during the season. With players speaking out and Jones going on temper tantrums on the sideline, Belichick never really addressed those issues. Those players weren’t disciplined like players on past teams would have been.
There was a loss of belief in the value of Belichick’s vision and perhaps he lost some confidence in himself. Yes, I am saying that about the great Bill Belichick and that is backed up by this quote.
"“It’s always been about winning and going what’s best for the team. I really believe (Belichick) when he says that,” one source said. “I just think he really didn’t understand how hard it was going to be.”"
According to the Boston Herald article, another source summed it up by simply saying, “I love coach (Belichick), but he f—ed us.”
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With Patriots owner Robert Kraft stepping in and addressing the dysfunction, the hiring of Bill O’Brien and defensive coach Jerod Mayo sticking around seems to be more of a long-term solution which involves ultimately moving on from Belichick if he doesn’t get his act together.
Anyone but Patricia is already enough to get excited about the offense moving forward but bringing back O’Brien will put some order in the locker room and some trust back in the players when it comes to the direction of the team.
“The Patriot Way” was challenged like never before this past season. It won’t be completely broken as long as Bill Belichick is in charge, but he has played a role in killing it by not putting the team ahead of personal relationships and giving failed coaches opportunities they didn’t deserve.
The ball is in your court Belichick.