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Don’t expect wholesale changes to the offense at this point, Patriots fans.
That was Bill Belichick’s message on Tuesday morning when asked by reporters about whether he’d consider making big-picture scheme adjustments or replacing Matt Patricia as a play-caller.
As he likes to do, Belichick stated the Patriots weren’t going to dramatically switch to the “wishbone” or “veer” offensive systems this late in the season – that’s totally something an NFL team would do in the year 2022: “Major changes…we wouldn’t be able to practice it,” he said.
That probably puts more of an official stake in the cries to go to more RPOs or popular concepts other, more successful offenses run, though the Patriots have started to attempt a couple more (albeit simple) RPOs in recent weeks.
But in particular, Belichick seemed to firmly dismiss any notion of removing Matt Patricia as the team’s offensive play-caller despite the obvious problems Patricia has visited upon the offense.
“The system that we have in place I feel good about, which includes the offensive staff, includes me, includes whatever the whole process is,” the coach said.
None of this is surprising, of course.
With five games left in the season, switching up the offensive scheme or play-caller would indeed notably alter the chemistry of the entire operation.
But it’s not as if it’s never been done before. In fact, Belichick was reminded of how the Patriots’ offense dialed down its passing game late in 2018 and rode old-school smash-mouth football to their most recent Super Bowl title, though he described that more as “shifting emphasis” rather than changing their plan.
Whatever emphasis the Patriots have been relying on of late hasn’t gone over well with their offensive players, who have begun to openly question the schemes or overall philosophy.
Belichick, however, remains unmoved: “Whatever plays we call this week are to try to win. Whatever plays we called last week were to try to win. … You can like them or not like them. I get that. But whatever we’ve done, it was to try to be as productive as we can and to beat whichever team we were playing.”
Hopefully, whatever they cook up this week works better than what they did against the Bills. If not, their season is probably over.