Some news and notes for this morning.
Cowherd Hops on the ‘Belichick’s Nothing Without Brady’ Train
Colin Cowherd apparently already missed this discussion, and he spent his episode thumping the “What is Belichick without Brady?” topic Thursday like it hasn’t already been rehashed hundreds of times here locally.
Cowherd saw NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran’s story from two days ago regarding the club’s cap space, along with the fact Curran believes this is pivotal year for the club, and that seemingly sparked Cowherd to jump on board the ‘Bill hasn’t accomplished anything without Brady’ train.
“There’s a lot of worship for Bill Belichick,” said Cowherd. “But then we got new information. Brady left, and they’re not very good. I mean, do people realize … I saw a story this morning from Tom Curran saying, ‘this is a really pivotal year for Bill Belichick.’ And maybe we should all just take a step back and go, ‘What really is he without Tom Brady?’ He doesn’t get along with his quarterback. He just made a defensive coordinator an offensive coordinator, a silly move that’s tone-deaf to offense, what is he without Tom Brady? And it’s really funny, I don’t think most people really talk about it.”
Cowherd clearly hasn’t paid attention to the media discussion locally, or for much of that offseason after Brady won his title in Tampa Bay at the end of the 2020 season. That topic has obviously been discussed so much on talk radio (98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI) that it’s absolutely exhausting.
It’s a horse that’s been beaten to death, and Cowherd is acting like he just unearthed new information.
“So in Cleveland, he was 36-44. Ran through quarterbacks as a head coach, 36-44,” said Cowherd. “Before Brady in New England, they were in big in trouble. He and Eric Mangini, before the kickoff were talking to Herm Edwards, they were talking about in New England about putting their homes up for sale if they didn’t win that year. He was 5-11.”
“Since Brady left, he’s a .500 coach. Now he went 11-5 [in 2007], Brady got hurt, Matt Cassel stepped in, but it should be dually noted they were undefeated the year before with Brady and a stacked roster. Cassel went 11-5. They still couldn’t make the playoffs. With arguably the best roster and best team, unquestionably in the sport, couldn’t make the playoffs.”
“Belichick has one career playoff win without Brady. Ten total seasons. Seven of them losing seasons. That’s it, right? He’s not a successful NFL head coach without Brady. Ten seasons, seven losing seasons.”
Cowherd Puts Reid Ahead of Belichick
From there, Cowherd went ahead and started talking about Andy Reid and Pete Carroll, both of whom he said have been more successful with multiple quarterbacks, including Reid, who has obviously won two Super Bowls with Mahomes.
“By the way, last year’s draft where they needed speed, he drafted two kickers and three guards, first three picks defensive players,” said Cowherd. “Totally tone-deaf to offense. ”
“This is not the case with all coaches. Andy Reid, without [Patrick] Mahomes, 19 seasons, 14 winning seasons, and 13 playoffs. Andy Reid has won with multiple quarterbacks in multiple cities, multiple teams, multiple cultures, multiple assistants. Belichick’s career is absolutely and inarguably tied to one player, Brady. Otherwise, ten years, one playoff win, seven losing seasons.”
“I mean, you have to give Pete Carroll credit last year. Got to the playoffs with Geno Smith. Got to a couple of Super Bowls with Russell Wilson. Dominant college coach with multiple quarterbacks. Belichick’s career is tied to one player. Brady’s career isn’t tied to Belichick anymore. He left to a wobbly, wanky franchise, and won a championship first year. In a COVID year where they could have no preseason.”
“Mahomes has been great for Andy Reid. Nobody would dispute that. But 14 of 19 years, Andy Reid made the conference championship four straight years in the NFC, there was no Mahomes.”
PHOTO: David Butler II – USA TODAY Sports
Reid’s QB List as Head Coach Is Short
There’s no arguing that Reid, is a great coach. He had arguably been one of the more underrated head coaches, even before Mahomes.
That being said, it’s interesting to look at his list of quarterbacks. It’s a list that isn’t extensive, and it’s not like he’s been lacking a talented signal-caller during his tenure.
Reid was hired as the Eagles head coach in 1999, which saw his first coaching decision see him select Donovan McNabb with the second-overall pick in 1999.
They went 5-11 that first season before McNabb started them on a run where they reached the NFC Championship for four straight times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) before finally getting to a Super Bowl against Belichick and New England and losing that one in 2004.
They went 6-10 the following season, with Reid finishing his final years in Philadelphia with two .500 seasons and a 4-12 year before he was fired.
The Eagles traded McNabb in 2010, with Michael Vick taking over and helping Reid get to 10-6 that year before losing in the Wild Card round against the Packers.
He went 8-8 the next year with Vick, and his 4-12 record the next year saw him get fired before he took over in Kansas City in 2013.
From there, he’s had Alex Smith in 2013 (11-5), 2014 (9-7), 2015 (11-5), 2016 (12-4), 2017 (10-6), with that final offseason ahead of the 2017 being the one where the club had drafted Patrick Mahomes.
Each of the quarterbacks he’s had were good players, so he didn’t have to sift through many sub-par guys over his career.
Still, it doesn’t take away from his success. At the same time, he’s been blessed with the same thing Belichick has experienced in that one of the quarterbacks he was most successful with record-wise (McNabb), played for nearly a decade.
Brady played for 20-years, so aside from the Matt Cassel year in 2008 (which was a bizarre season where despite its 11-5 record, New England lost the tie-breaker within the Division and missed the postseason), Belichick never really had to deal with that. And he went 3-1 with both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jakobi Brisset when Brady was suspended in 2016.
Cleveland Argument is Frustrating
The Cleveland Browns argument is irritating. Belichick went 36-44 with the Browns, but people who didn’t follow that one closely clearly missed the big picture.
Belichick turned that team around from a laughing stock to a playoff contender, reaching the postseason after a solid 1994 season where they went 11-5 and beat New England, who was coached at the time by Belichick’s mentor, Bill Parcells, in the Wild Card round of that postseason.
After starting out 3-1 the next year, Belichick and his football team had the rug pulled out from underneath them when the news came out that the Browns were being moved to Baltimore, which sent everything into a downward spiral.
That announcement saw the team go 2-10 the rest of the way as Belichick’s club finished 5-11 and saw him get fired.
However, anyone who has seen the documentary of that 1995 Browns season knows just how difficult it was on both the players and coaching staff internally, and that everyone in that building that year was placed in a no-win situation.
Instead, people focus on the final numbers without the context, which is unfortunate.
Belichick ‘Surpressing’ Mac Jones
One relatively interesting point Cowherd made was the fact that given what’s at stake, that Belichick obviously pulled back from where things were a year ago prior to this spring when it came to Mac Jones.
Jones obviously led the club to a 10-7 record during his rookie year and got the team to the playoffs, only to get blown out against the Bills in the Wild Card round.
That was one year removed from Brady’s departure, with Jones and Belichick’s club even taking things down to the wire against the Buccaneers during that regular season before coming up short.
So Jones was clearly headed in a good direction prior to last year’s fiasco. While Jones was out with an injury after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 3, Bailey Zappe stepped in following a concussion sustained in Green Bay against the Packers and played fairly well, including winning his next two starts.
Zappe’s performance saw Belichick leave Jones hanging in the wind a bit when it came to his status with reporters in the weeks while he was sidelined.
That likely didn’t help the situation. The frustration Jones clearly felt as he sustained the brunt of the criticism under Matt Patricia last year boiled over publicly, which reportedly didn’t sit well with Belichick. With things being exacerbated even further after Jones apparently looked for guidance from his alma mater on the offense.
As a result, Cowherd is baffled by how things have gone, and doesn’t understand why Belichick isn’t more in Jones’ corner.
“So this idea of worship, we have new information, Bill’s never really won without Tom Brady,” said Cowherd on his big discovery [insert sarcasm here]. “Didn’t win in Cleveland with all the quarterbacks, didn’t win pre-Brady, didn’t win post-Brady and that’s why it’s so bizarre to me that instead of empowering the quarterback, Mac Jones, it’s almost like he’s suppressing him.”
Not Impressed By Parker’s Signing
Cowherd also criticized the re-signing of Parker after the club gave him a 3-year deal this week.
He went on to say that while he doesn’t challenge Belichick’s understanding of football, Cowherd just doesn’t understand why Jones isn’t getting more support from his coach.
“Yesterday, they re-signed DeVante Parker,” said Cowherd. “One good year in the league. Last in the league in separating. Is it an ego thing? I don’t know, I’m not doubting Belichick’s brilliance on special teams and defense. I’m not doubting his understanding of football. But you can’t deny what I’m saying.”
“It’s not an opinion. It’s just numbers. He’s never won without Brady. And I’m not talking winning big. I’m just talking winning. Ten years, seven losing seasons. So why is he suppressing Mac Jones?
Regardless of the opinion, it’s a pivotal year for both Belichick and Jones, who both need to have a better performance to try and get things moving in the right direction.
However, the Belichick vs Brady thing has already played out and this ‘chicken or the egg’ discussion has been beaten to death.
How the next chapter plays out will hopefully improve things when it comes to Belichick’s legacy and quiet some of this chatter. Either way, 2023 should be an interesting year and we’re now less than a month away before it finally gets started.
Patriots LB Bentley Extended
The Patriots made another move on Thursday night, with reports that New England extended linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley for two more seasons.
According to Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth up to $18.75 million.
The move also creates additional salary cap space, which gives the team a little more wiggle room as DeAndre Hopkins continues weighing his options.
Bentley has been a solid player in New England’s defense, with the veteran linebacker’s speed and versatility having been two big assets for the club the last few seasons.
The veteran amassed three sacks last season while also leading the Patriots in tackles in 2022.
Posted Under: Patriots News