Bill Belichick made his bed, and he seems ready to lie in it for the rest of the 2022 season.
In his latest visit with WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday after the Patriots’ disappointing offensive performance against the Buffalo Bills last week, Belichick reiterated what he said before the season: any backfiring of the offense due to his appointing Matt Patricia as the primary play-caller would be on him.
“I’m responsible. I’m responsible for our team’s performance, so I accept that,” Belichick said.
But it’s one thing to say that and another to do something about it.
Last Thursday’s loss saw some turmoil start to bubble to the surface with Kendrick Bourne calling out the Patriots’ poor third-down schemes on offense – New England was 3-of-12 on third downs -- and Mac Jones visibly showing his frustrations in an expletive-laden outburst late in the game.
Still, Belichick suggested Monday that any changes to his offensive coaching structure – namely, replacing Patricia with another play-caller – was probably out of the question.
“I think we need to do what we’re doing better,” he said. “I don’t think at this point making a lot of dramatic changes is – it’s too hard to do that. If we can just do consistently what we were doing, we’ll be alright. We just haven’t been able to have enough consistency. It’s not one thing. One time, it’s one thing. Next time, it’s something else. We just have to play and coach more consistently.”
Unfortunately, Belichick’s probably right. Moving away from whatever this routine is with five games left in the season stands a strong probability of making the offense look even more dysfunctional than it already does. For better or worse – almost certainly worse – the Patriots are stuck with Patricia and Co. designing and calling plays for an offense that can’t function against halfway-decent defenses. Executing better might be their only chance to look competent from here on out, and that’s not an encouraging thought.
Perhaps more unfortunate, though, is the fact that Belichick’s promotion of Patricia put them in this position in the first place. Belichick is indeed responsible for the regression that has transpired with Mac Jones and the offense as a whole, and how he repairs that problem will be a matter of exceptional scrutiny this off-season.