Tuesday was an important day for the Patriots, and Bill Belichick royally screwed it up.
With New England needing to trim its roster down to 53 players, Belichick made a slew of head-scratching decisions, putting his team in poor position ahead of Week 1 and potentially dooming the season.
Seriously, what is this roster?
Patriots Roster Cuts
I honestly don’t even know where to begin here, but I guess I’ll start at the most important position: quarterback. Belichick cut every QB not named Mac Jones, waiving Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham and Trace McSorley.
The Patriots literally don’t have a backup QB right now, and while that will obviously change, it’s putting a lot of faith in Jones to bounce back after a disappointing, injury-plagued 2022. Cutting Zappe was particularly shocking given how well he played last year in place of Jones (2-0 as a starter), especially since it means New England no longer controls him via a rookie contract.
Quarterback isn’t the only key position where the Pats are dangerously thin, either. Belichick only kept two running backs — Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is 28 and has a ton of miles on his body, so banking on him to stay healthy is incredibly risky. The team still needs an RB3 behind them, but Pierre Strong (traded), Kevin Harris and J.J. Taylor are all gone despite contributing to the running back room last year.
But perhaps Belichick’s most perplexing move is keeping a whopping 11 offensive linemen on the roster, which is several too many. Only five O-linemen can play at a time, after all, so there’s no need to have six on the bench. Granted, the team added several linemen at the last minute in recent days, so Belichick is still evaluating them. Still, this is further proof that the offensive line is a mess and lacks talent.
And while it wasn’t a cut, Belichick also moved on from Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk, trading him to the Tennessee Titans. The team will open the year with rookie Chad Ryland at kicker instead, who will try to replace one of the league’s better kickers.
Overall, this is not a good roster and it’s easy to see why New England is pegged to finish last in the AFC East. The lack of depth at key positions is glaring, and Belichick has a lot of work to do over the next week and a half before the Pats host the Eagles.
This bizarre roster construction is just the latest sign that Belichick’s losing his mojo. Ever since letting Tom Brady leave in early 2020, it’s been one thing after another. His bad drafts, poor signings, questionable coaching hires and flawed roster-building have turned New England from a perennial Super Bowl contender into an also-ran.
Many of Belichick’s recent moves just haven’t made much sense, suggesting a lack of direction or cohesive plan. The poor results on the field reflect that, and if Belichick doesn’t get it together soon, he may end up being cut as well.
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