FOXBORO, MA — When the Coach of the Year award is announced, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s name had better be attached to it.
Why? Because what he has done has simply been amazing.
He has taken a team who was in disarray and on the decline and turned them around, completely overhauling the roster and bringing in a lot of what he considers football players. Guys who aren’t big names but work hard and have the type of work ethic that many of the young guys coming into the league seem to know nothing about. He was one of the most active coaches in free agency during the offseason, and it appears to be working out. His team is now one win away from an AFC East title.
In a year marked with tragedy both nationally and within his own club, along with other problems that could have caused his team to lose their focus, Belichick has kept his team together.
He dealt with the death of quarterback Coach Dick Rehbein who died suddenly during training camp of heart disease. Rehbein’s death left him without a quarterback coach, and it’s safe to say that Charlie Weis has done an adequate job trying to fill that role as well.
He dealt with wide receiver Terry Glenn’s repeated antics both with his off-field legal issues and his on-field suspension that kept him out of the first four games of the season. He dealt with Glenn’s one game return against San Diego, and then another hamstring injury that he later revealed may or may not have existed which caused him to miss a few more.
He dealt with linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer’s neck problems that left the young player AWOL after he left camp and ended up later having season-ending neck surgery.
He dealt with a devastating injury to starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe who suffered internal injuries in a violent collision with Jets linebacker Mo Lewis that hospitalized him for several days, which later lead to quarterback Tom Brady filling in as the starter. Brady, who was a sixth round pick in ’99 for Belichick, has had a Pro Bowl caliber season in Bledsoe’s absence and has lead to a quarterback controversy everywhere in New England except for the Patriots locker room.
He’s dealt with many problems that could have caused any other team to falter, and he’s now in position for his team to win an AFC East title in just his second season as Patriots head coach.
He’s done it with a second-year quarterback, without wide receiver Terry Glenn who many feel is still arguably one of the best receivers in football, and with a bunch of guys that nationally most wouldn’t even know their names. His personnel moves during the offseason have been brilliant, and he’s reaping the benefits of a job well done with victories on the field.
Now he deserves one off the field, and hopefully the league rewards him accordingly.