PatsFans.com Menu
PatsFans.com - The Hub For New England Patriots Fans

What did the Patriots just lose? How Belichick got here.


Come on, that’s a little disingenuous. A lot of those guys were not at pro bowl level in 2020. AB and Gronk were past their prime. Marpet, Vea, White, Winfield, Jensen didn’t make a pro bowl until seasons after the SB year.
I'm talking about the talent. As good as Evans was, AB and Gronk got a ton of balls. They were still producing at a very high rate. I was only referring to the talent anyway. It was there. Vea, Jensen, Winfield played great that year. They were NOT appreciably better players the next year. The Pro Bowl obviously rewards winning teams. No matter how well Barmore plays, he's not going to make a Pro Bowl unless the Patriots start winning
 
Breakup with Linda and got lazy in the scouting area in recent years.
Trusted college coaches too much ... but ... gave him extra time to chase tail.
 
Breakup with Linda and got lazy in the scouting area in recent years.
Trusted college coaches too much ... but ... gave him extra time to chase tail.
Nice theory. The last several drafts have yielded Gonzalez, Douglas, White, Sow, Barmore, Dugger, Rham, Marcus Jones, Anfernee, Onwenu. Maybe he should have dumped her long ago?
 
Nice theory. The last several drafts have yielded Gonzalez, Douglas, White, Sow, Barmore, Dugger, Rham, Marcus Jones, Anfernee, Onwenu. Maybe he should have dumped her long ago?
Matt Groh ... 2 years.
 
Matt Groh ... 2 years.
OK, so about your theory that since dumping Linda he can't draft... ? If Matt Groh is in charge of all the good ones (apparently it wasn't because Belichick talked to Saban on Barmore) and Belichick is responsible for all the bad ones, you can rest on your laurels--you have definitively proved your point.
 
OK, so about your theory that since dumping Linda he can't draft... ? If Matt Groh is in charge of all the good ones (apparently it wasn't because Belichick talked to Saban on Barmore) and Belichick is responsible for all the bad ones, you can rest on your laurels--you have definitively proved your point.
I like Matt Groh ... not sure why he is not given more credit IMO ... media all about experience ... but the game has changed.
 
I like Matt Groh ... not sure why he is not given more credit IMO ... media all about experience ... but the game has changed.
Agreed. It's now a softer game primarily because coaches can't coach.
 
Don't read if you hate long stuff, but this is why Belichick is different for me, and why we lost something that I can only hope is retained if Mayo or Vrabel can mine it.

What Belichick brought and what may be lost:

1. Roster construction emphasized depth over star power. I'm not a football genius, I never coached it even if I did play it. I am however the type of person who annoys people at football games by yelling "penalty illegal formation" before the refs throw the flag. People next to me have commented that I pay too much attention to the LOS. I do. I have coached soccer, and the one thing we always talk about is this: find the weak link, or links. Let's keep play in their area. Likewise, in football, there are 22 players on the field. When there are injuries or bottom of the roster players making league minimum and they are your starters because you're top heavy on salary, you're showing your weakness week after week. For instance, LT on this year's Patriots team. QB is the most important position in all of sports, but there are still 10 other guys out there. Belichick was ruthless in his exploitation of weak links. No mercy. You may say every coach does that, but they don't. Coaches believe in their "systems." I don't think Belichick is that kind of coach. He was super flexible. He wasn't running the same stuff out there like a Tomlin. Once he figured out how to beat you, and where to exploit you, he changed the strategy to do exactly that. But this was only possible if he had a competent roster 1-53. How else was he supposed to make the adjustments? Think of it this way: if Belichick has to rely on Vederian Lowe, he loses. But if he has to rely on Myles Bryant, he wins. Bryant will end up making a lot more money in New England than he will anywhere else. And what happen when players like, for instance, Tedy Bruschi know they have a chance to develop here beyond being a situational pass rusher (in the Carroll era)? They make a career, they work harder, that becomes infectious. Elsewhere Bruschi would've spent his entire career as drinking game fodder. It's not just Bruschi that benefited from a chance to develop and earn here (I'm talking about guys who aren't star players, guys who are backups). For instance, Vrabel, Ninkovich, Van Noy, Stephen Neal, heck even a WR like Hogan. Middle class players become the heart of the team. Elsewhere they are afterthoughts making the league minimum because all the money is sopped up by "stars." 22 starters for each team, but only a few dip into the money pot.

2. Limiting player responsibilities. I'm going back to my soccer analogy again. In soccer, we preach that the most important thing is covering space. It's a field. Make sure you are absolutely responsible in your area. Do not freelance unless you see opportunity, and you better come through if you see it. When we recognize that our opposition is freelancing and leaving gaps in their coverage, we tilt the field. We flood the space being vacated. We create a diagonal line that keeps play in the weakest part of the opponent's field. And we hit it over and over and over. This is purely a coaching emphasis. Players will not see it. Players are geared to be aggressive. And they need to be told when and how to slow things down. Belichick's mantra "Do your job" was fundamentally about taking space and being responsible for that space. No weak links. So many NFL coaches want stud players who operate differently. The Bears' LB T. Edmunds could never operate in a Belichick team.

3. Discipline. People keep saying the old coaches and the old ways don't mesh with the new era player. That's probably true. But they do mesh with players of a different mentality. Somehow Belichick has cobbled together a lot of those players on his team. Even this year you saw the buy in from many of the Patriots. This started from the beginning, from the Patriots coming into the Super Bowl as a "team" rather than as individuals, to the kangaroo courts in the locker room and the very strict discipline. He ruled with an iron fist. It backfired a few times. Butler in the 2017 Super Bowl. Welker in the 2010 playoffs. But you can't possibly account for all the times his level of discipline lead to great outcomes. That stuff isn't measurable.

4. His personality. Love him, loved the way he talked to the media. He doesn't care what they think. Unlike Kraft who cares way too much what they think and wants to be liked.

All these things will be lost.

--------------------------------

I'm just going to give a revisionist rendition below of Belichick's record, one that isn't in line with the "Belichick is no one without Brady" people.

Coming off 2 Super Bowl victories as a DC (both of them defensive masterpieces against top offenses), Belichick went to Cleveland. He tore it down and rebuilt it. It took 3 years but he was held back by playing Cleveland's favorite son Bernie Kosar. As soon as he switched from Kosar, the team flew. They went 9-4 under Testaverde, after 3 years of losing with Kosar. They got to the playoffs and beat Parcells' Patriots. The next year Modell pulled the rug out from under the team to start the season by announcing the move to Baltimore, and the team disintegrated.

He came to New England. Parcells had such a bad previous year at 6-10, that he went to Kraft and asked that his contract be redone with no buyout, and for only 1 year (Kraft agreed presumably not knowing Parcells was already talking to the Jets). That 6-10 team had their defense improve 100% under Belichick. The team made the Super Bowl.

As Parcells and crew were moving out of Foxboro, Kraft hosted Belichick in his car for a 4 hour conversation. No one knows what was said. Im purely speculating when I say that Belichick was offered the position but turned it down out of loyalty to Parcells. Here's a icture of that night:


So Belichick went to the Jets as DC. The team improved overnight. They went to the AFC Championship. Vinny Testaverde went 12-1!! Once again reaffirming Belichick's switch from Kosar to Testaverde. It's amazing what can happen to a team's record when they have the right QB playing in the right system and executing it.

So we move onto the Patriots and another rebuild. 5-11. The next year, the team turns things around, throttles the opposition with mostly defensive efforts. Brady is not yet Brady. Remember, the 2001 AFC CG was won with Drew Bledsoe at the helm. He was the beneficiary of some defensive plays and also some great special teams. They go to the Super Bowl where the offense musters up one touchdown. The defense shuts down the Greatest Show on Turf and scores a pick 6. But the next year they go 9-7 because the team is still rebuilding, and Brady is not yet Brady.

In 2003, the defense is still top notch, but now we're seeing Brady's greatness.

One of the things that is mildly annoying about all this is the people saying he would have been fired in the early years or many years ago if not for Brady. But what is missed is the quality of the QBs when the teams are bad or when they're rebuilding. You look at his record in the Kosar / Cam Newton / Mac Jones years and it is terrible. But you make the switch from Kosar to Testaverde and instantly you're good? Is that because Testaverde is such a great QB? Or is there another reason for the dramatic shift? After all, when the team has been constructed as Belichick intended, he has had success with regular QBs who stayed within the system. Cassel, Brissett and Garoppolo went 14-6. The 2 teams these 3 QBs lead were strong and full of talent.

My conclusion: when the team has a full roster with no holes, then ordinary QBs like Testaverde and Cassel can lead it (though not to Super Bowls like Brady). When the team has a full roster and a good to great QB, then it can win Super Bowls. When the team is rebuilding and has a great QB, the results are good but not great (like Brady's 10-6 in 2010). When the team is rebuilding and has a bad QB, the results are bad (2020-2023) and that goes for 2021 which was only a mirage. 2021 actually showed Belichick that the defense needed a total overhaul. No punts for the Bills in the playoffs. Hightower, Van Noy, McCourty, Bentley, Chung, and more, slower than molasses, not to mention JC Jackson getting toasted. The people Belichick brought in were smaller, lighter, speedier, and he could use LB/S hybrids. The emphasis was obvious: Peppers, Mapu, Dugger, Judon, Anfernee, even Keion is very fast. This is why I say the team is in the middle of a rebuild.

Final piece: When Brady left, he went to a team with 12 Pro Bowlers on it. I don't think comparing a QB to a coach is ever a logical or rational comparison, but if you're going to do it, do it this way: what would Brady's record have been with the 2020-2022 Patriots with Arians/Bowles coaching and the Tampa GM making all the decisions? What would Belichick's record have been if he left for Tampa with all that talent?

spiderman-crying.gif
 


Wednesday Patriots Notebook 4/17: News and Notes
Tuesday Patriots Notebook 4/16: News and Notes
Monday Patriots Notebook 4/15: News and Notes
Patriots News 4-14, Mock Draft 3.0, Gilmore, Law Rally For Bill 
Potential Patriot: Boston Globe’s Price Talks to Georgia WR McConkey
Friday Patriots Notebook 4/12: News and Notes
Not a First Round Pick? Hoge Doubles Down on Maye
Thursday Patriots Notebook 4/11: News and Notes
MORSE: Patriots Mock Draft #5 and Thoughts About Dugger Signing
Matthew Slater Set For New Role With Patriots
Back
Top