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Patriots News 11-19, Bye Week Musings

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
2 weeks ago at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News 11-19, Bye Week MusingsRay Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, and Happy non-Gameday. Here are our Sunday 11-19 Patriots news and notes. And early Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all our readers and listeners out there. 

Thanks to Ian Logue for filling in for me last Sunday. I had to travel to Carolina for the memorial service for a close personal friend. He was not just a friend but a mentor and brother for life. An American war hero who was awarded the nation’s third highest award for valor (Silver Star), three bronze stars (with V device), Army Commendation Medal (with V device, and 4 Oak Leaf Clusters), and the Purple Heart (with two OLCs) among many other awards (Master Parachutist, Combat Diver, and Free Fall, or HALO wings) and decorations. 

He was also the American liaison to the German counter-terrorist group GSG-9 for several years. He was also one of the funniest and most generous guys you’d ever meet.  Rest easy, my brother SB; you’ll be missed. Until Valhalla… Back to football.

With the Patriots on their bye week this Sunday after traveling to Frankfurt, Germany, the 2023 season has been one of bitter disappointment. But now the team must decide where they go from here. In both the short term, finishing the 2023 season, and the years beyond. The team hasn’t navigated these waters in a long time. And many of the fans haven’t even been alive since that happened. 

And the long-term vision starts with the question that seemed so unfathomable not too long ago. Who will the head coach/GM be next season? 

Several different scenarios could play out. Will Belichick retire and ride off into the sunset, knowing that his teams had a two-decade run of greatness that is unheard of in today’s NFL and with six SB victories as a head coach, something no other HC has done in its history? 

Doubtful. Belichick wants the record for most wins by a head coach before he retires, a legacy that will put him at the pinnacle of head coaches. And he has a deep love and respect for the game’s history. And another part of that history concerns the coach above him, Don Shula. 

Shula made several disparaging remarks about Belichick, especially when it appeared that the Patriots might overtake the Dolphins 17-0 season. Belichick has never responded to any of that, always taking the high road, but make no mistake, he holds a grudge. Ask Tom Jackson.  

Will they bring in a GM with Belichick remaining as the HC? 

That seems like a non-starter, and I doubt Belichick would agree to that, being demoted after 24 years of running the football operations side of things. This scenario wouldn’t work, with Belichick wanting autonomy in making personnel decisions. 

Would he be fired or traded if they decide to move on from Belichick after 2023? 

This is interesting because it was leaked to the press (possibly by Belichick’s inner circle) that he signed an extension that will carry through at least through 2024 and possibly beyond. If he’s fired, it means the Krafts will be on the hook for at least $25 million, which I can’t see them paying. 

So, they may try to swing a trade. Several teams are rumored… Washington, Dallas, LA Chargers, and the Giants. Obviously, Belichick has a great love for his time with the Giants and the Mara family. 

So, who would be the next HC of the Patriots if they decide to move on from Belichick? 

Well, they made a deal with Jerod Mayo for him to remain and become the HC in waiting until a time that Belichick retires. But there continue to be rumors of the Patriots trading for former Patriot great Mike Vrable, who is the HC of the Titans. 

Could the Patriots pull the rug out from Mayo after convincing him to remain? You betcha. If they did it to Tom Brady, they can do it to Mayo. A few years ago, I reported here that the Patriots had a three-year deal to keep Brady in New England. And that it was the Krafts, NOT Belichick, who pulled the deal, opting to go year-to-year. 

I had spoken to a friend of the Bradys, who revealed this information. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston confirmed this and added that Robert Kraft made Belichick break the news to Brady. 

Another scenario to consider is this. Even IF Mayo is the next HC, how many of the current coaches would remain unless Belichick retires? He’d be sure to poach many of his own assistants to take with him. This offseason will be among the most intriguing in … the past 25 years.

Quick Hitters For the Patriots and NFL News: 

Joe Burrow Injury: The Bengals QB suffered a wrist injury in the loss to the Ravens that will require surgery, meaning he will be lost for the remainder of the season. Or did he?

There is videotape footage that shows Burrow wearing a wrap on his hand the day before the game. The Bengals then deleted the video after Burrow’s injury. And that is significant. 

The NFL instituted the injury reports many years ago. But now those are even more important since the NFL has gotten in bed with the gambling industry. By concealing Burrow’s pre-existing injury this could have (Would have for sure) influenced many of the bettors, who placed wagers on the Bengals in the game.

And it opens the NFL up to the possibility that they and the Bengals fraudulently kept this information from the gambling industry. Burrow claimed on Friday that the wrap the day prior was a completely different issue to the injury suffered against Baltimore. If so, then why did the Bengals delete the video? 

Park Avenue said they’ll investigate whether Cincinnati played fast and loose with the injury report. Don’t expect too much there. But this story has been strangely quiet. But if this had been the Patriots with Brady at QB, this would have been all over the network news. But again, going into business with a gambling business opens the league up for civil court trials for fraud.

“The Dynasty”: The Patriots are mired in a disappointing, forgettable season, but there are some glad tidings to report. A ten-part docuseries on the Patriots dynastic run from 2001-2019 is being released on February 16. 

“The Dynasty” features appearances by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick, among others. It claims that there are “thousands of hours of never-before-seen video footage and audio files from the Patriots organization’s archive.” 

A trailer has been released and can be seen here

Charissa Thompson: The Fox Sports sideline reporter outed herself in an appearance on the “Pardon My Take” show. Thompson admitted fabricating reports from the sidelines when she didn’t have reports to speak about. 

“I’ve said this before, so I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes because the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime, or it was too late, and I didn’t want to screw up the report,” Thompson said.“I was like, ‘I’m just gonna make this up.”’

Thompson was met with some excoriating responses from fellow female sideline correspondents. And one from Boston tried to openly politic for Thompson’s job. 

Tamara Brown, who works for the Patriots and the Bruins, called out Thompson and lamented that she hadn’t had the opportunity that Thompson had. 

“As a black woman who’s been GRINDING to get a network job as a sideline reporter, this is infuriating,” Brown tweeted on Thursday. 

“I’ve been told I wasn’t ready, nothing was open, left on read… you name it. Yet there are people like (Thompson) in these roles not taking it seriously.”

Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t listened to our podcast, Patriots 4th & 2”, in a bit, please check it out. Patriots 4th & 2 has expanded. 

Derek Havens and I spoke about the loss to the Colts and where the team goes from here in 2023 and beyond. 

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame, and the fact that Francis isn’t in is an absolute travesty. Francis and the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens. Casper is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Francis’ numbers stand up well against Casper’s, yet he isn’t in the team’s. 

Will Mac Jones Start Next Week? Other Questions Loom —

The Patriots have the week off. Well, perhaps the players do, but the coaching staff has probably been burning the midnight oil trying to figure out a way to stop the listing of a ship that has been steadily taking on water.    

I think Jones’ era of starting for the Patriots is over. However, I do think they could ride out the season with him since neither Bailey Zappe nor Will Grier are upgrades. In the team’s final practice before getting some time off, Jones took the #1 share of the snaps, so there’s that. But could they change their mind about the starting QB this week? Absolutely.

And depending on what draft position the Patriots find themselves, it could influence their draft decision on what position to go to. The first two QBs drafted will probably be Drake May and Caleb Williams… at least for now. If they go 1-2, then if the Patriots are at #3, they probably go to a different position. Marvin Harrison at #3 seems like a sure-fire #1 WR ready for the taking. 

But for the remainder of this season, I see Jones, Demario Douglas, and Hunter Henry as the team’s best three options in the passing game. However, I totally agree with Ezekiel Elliott in that the Patriots need to pound the football in the running game more. Those guys are making some plays and can go deep into games down the stretch. 

On the offensive line, hopefully, Trent Brown can return soon. In that order, I’d move to resign Michael Onwenu at RT and Brown and try to find a young stud at LT. I’m curious if JaMycal Hasty gets any play as a change-of-pace back and third-down receiver out of the backfield. He’s quicker than fast but has value as a receiver as well as on STs.

Week 11 Predictions

Thursday Night Football: 

Baltimore over Cincinnati 1-0

Sunday Day Games:

Cleveland over Pittsburgh
Detroit over Chicago
LA Chargers over Green Bay
Miami over Las Vegas
Washington over NYG
Dallas over Carolina
Jacksonville over Tennessee
Houston over Arizona
San Francisco over Tampa Bay
Buffalo over NYJ
Seattle over LAR

Sunday Night Football:

Denver over Minnesota

Monday Night Football: 

Philadelphia over Kansas City
(Bye week, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts,  New England, New Orleans)

Last Week            9—5

2023 Season      94—56

2022 Season:   178—92—2

2021 Season:   183—88—1

2020 Season:   169—86—1 

2019 Season:   162—93—1


“I play players that deserve to play, let’s put it that way. If they deserve to play, then I’ll play them. I’m not going to play somebody that I don’t think deserves to play or will hurt the team, or isn’t ready to play. That’s up to them. 

“If they show that they’re ready and deserve to play, then we’ll play all the active players, which we do most every week. We play just about everybody who’s active. They have a role in the game, with an exception here and there. But, for the most part, if they’re active, then we play them. 

“It’s up to them to earn that, and if they do, then that’s what they can look forward to. If they don’t, then somebody else will have earned it instead of them, and they’ll be out there.”

On being asked with the playoffs now out of the question, Bill Belichick would try to develop younger players and allow them to play more. 


“Talent sets the floor; Character sets the ceiling.” Bill Belichick

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.


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Posted Under: Patriots 2023 regular season
Tags: 2023 Bye week 2023 Patriots Season Bailey Zappe Demario Douglas Ezekiel Elliott JaMycal Hasty Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Matthew Judon New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots offensive line Rhamondre Stevenson Trent Brown

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