With the New England Patriots in tough shape these days, the whispers about Bill Belichick’s future continue to be discussed and Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer made some interesting revelations this week.
Breer was on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Thursday, talking about various topics including the future of the Patriots as things continue to be turbulent sitting at 1-5.
Breer told Cowherd that the discussions about Belichick’s future have taken place with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has heard the anger and frustration from the fan base.
According to Breer, Kraft is obviously upset with the current state of the football team, and it sounds like the club actually started working toward some significant changes as it was under Belichick going back to early this offseason.
“These discussions have taken place, and I can tell you for sure, I mean, Robert hears the criticism,” said Breer. “He hears the anger locally, and people in the building know for a fact that he’s hearing the anger from the fan base, and he’s very cognisant of where his team is in the pecking order of NFL teams as well.”
“They’re not a marquee team anymore, and he took a lot of pride in them being a marquee team for two decades, right up there with teams like the Cowboys, like the Eagles, like the Giants had been traditionally. So I think there’s all of that that sort of plays into this.”
Changes Were Apparently Coming
Breer explained that Kraft already sat down earlier this offseason and started working on plans for the future, which started with the club retaining Jerod Mayo. But one interesting note is that there was clearly some frustration from a personnel standpoint because the talk of removing some of those decisions when it comes to Belichick was also potentially part of those discussions.
“The discussions about the future of the franchise actually do go back to January and February when they were sitting down with Jerod Mayo, their defacto defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, and they got him to turn down an interview with the Panthers,” said Breer. “The best thing for his career probably was to take that interview.”
“So the discussions of where this goes post-Belichick have been underway for a while, and I think regardless of how this year went, I think there was going to be a discussion about the structure of the franchise and potentially changing the personnel department. ‘Do we bring in a general manager or promote someone to general manager and see if Bill wants to work with him?'”
“I think now we’re at the point where, is this just going to be a flat-out firing, and do they want to go forward with the current program, and what does that mean for Jerod Mayo?”
“I think those bigger-picture discussions are now part of it. But the discussions of where they are post-Belichick have been going on for a while. And again, back in January and February, it included Jerod Mayo.”
Discussions likely “Intesify” if Patriots Continue Losing
Breer also appeared on The Rich Eisen Show later on Thursday, following his appearance on Cowherd’s show, elaborating even further on the situation.
Breer pointed out that the approach isn’t far off from Kraft’s change in philosophy going back to when Bill Parcells was head coach, with the owner shifting his focus toward always planning ahead, which he explained played a role in the eventual break up with Parcells.
“Robert Kraft has, for a long time, been very forward-thinking with his franchise,” said Breer. “In fact, if you want to go all the way back to the start, the reason he got rid of Bill Parcells is because he didn’t think Bill Parcells was forward-thinking enough when it came to, ‘O.K., where is this going to put us in five years? Where is this going to put us in 10 years?’ So he’s always thinking that way.”
As Breer said during the appearance on Cowherd, one of those decisions by Kraft clearly happened earlier this offseason with Mayo. Breer reiterated that and also pointed out that clearly Mayo is part of their future.
“They more or less have positioned Jerod Mayo to be the successor to Bill Belichick in certain ways,” said Breer. “Now, I’m not saying there’s anything in the contract or anything like that, but they did get him to turn down a head coach interview in Carolina last year, and that was an interview that would have put Jerod Mayo in front of an owner who’s got growing influence around the NFL. So why would you do that? Well, you would do that because you’ve had some discussions about your own future in New England if you’re Jerod Mayo.”
“The point I was trying to make is, and I was asked, ‘Have they had discussions about the future and the post-Belichick future? The answer is yes. Robert Kraft has had those discussions. It’s something that involved Jerod Mayo last year and do I think those discussions intensify as you start losing? Yes, I do. Do I think Robert Kraft is cognisant of the way that his organization is perceived both nationally and locally? I do. I do think he is very cognisant of all of that.”
“So the discussions on the future of the franchise are always ongoing. I think they were in January and February with Jerod Mayo being involved in that and knowing that this guy could be the next guy here.”
Adding a GM a Possibility?
Breer also went on to add that adding a GM after this season appears likely, although, that obviously comes down to whether or not the two could potentially go forward working under those circumstances.
“I think maybe a month ago I would have told you, and I think I said it on your show, I think the likelihood is maybe he hires a GM and maybe says, ‘O.K. Bill, you’re not going to report to the GM but he’s not going to report to you either,” said Breer. “We’re going to have both of you guys report to me and we’re going to change the structure here. Now it’s almost like, can you go forward with Bill at all based on where the roster is, based on what we’re seeing on the field on a week-to-week basis?”
“I think Robert Kraft, and obviously, you and I both know Jonathan is positioned to be the successor when it comes to the primary owner of the team. Those guys have had those conversations, certainly, and I think the Jerod Mayo situation in January and February made those conversations a little bit more serious and I would think they only intensified over the last few weeks as they’ve suffered some embarrassing losses and now they’re sitting there at 1-5.”
“Now, I don’t know one way or another whether or not he and Bill have sat down face-to-face and said, ‘What are we going to do in 2 1/2 months?’ But there’s no question that people in that organization beneath Bill are aware that the future is unstable there right now.”
However, the most interesting part of the interview was the fact that Breer has apparently spoken to people in the building, and there’s a significant amount of doubt even from people below Belichick, that he may be there beyond this season. That’s obviously a dramatic change, which as Breer mentioned, is certainly crazy to think about.
“Look, I said to somebody there over the last couple of weeks, ‘I don’t think he outright fires Bill,’ and the response I got was like, ‘Who knows?’ And you never would have thought that,” said Breer. “Even a year ago, right? Like, that they would outright fire Bill.? That somebody wouldn’t be sure that isn’t going to happen who works there? It’s as unstable as they’ve been in a while.”
Breer went on to add that the biggest issue Kraft has isn’t the losing, it’s the direction they’re ultimately heading in and that will likely factor into whatever decision he ultimately makes.
“The biggest problem for Robert isn’t so much where they are right now from a record standpoint,” said Breer. “It’s the trajectory of the franchise. I don’t think they have a position on offense that’s not going to be a need for them in the offseason.”
“That’s wild. And I don’t think you can look at that roster and find more than a player or two that you can say definitively, ‘Yeah, like that guy’s going to be there two or three years from now. Christian Gonzalez, and that’s probably it. So it’s about as unstable a place as they’ve been in a long time.”
Posted Under: Patriots News