Does Bill Belichick wish he still had Tom Brady at quarterback?
At his price, absolutely.
But, that doesn’t mean he likely cannot wait to get the 2020 season started as this group is his kind of team for a few different reasons.
With Brady now in Tampa Bay, it’s Jarrett Stidham’s job to lose at quarterback and the team will be led by its defense. Due to some key departures this offseason, it likely won’t be the No. 1 ranked unit it was a year ago, but it certainly will be the side of the ball the Patriots count on in 2020.
Winning is Belichick’s No. 1 priority so it doesn’t matter how it gets done, but he seemed pretty giddy much of last season when the team was winning games 16-10, 17-10, 13-9, 24-17, etc. He probably prefers those games compared to some in past years where the offense needed to score 30-plus points to win.
In order for the Patriots to win this coming season, they will need more of the same.
Being a defensive-minded team isn’t the only thing that will appeal to Belichick.
Take a look at the roster, particularly the players the team added this offseason — no big stars, but a collection of solid football players with versatility being a theme.
The draft was a prime example.
Kyle Dugger, the Patriots’ first selection, is listed as a safety, but given his speed and athleticism he can line up really anywhere on the field. Then edge rushers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings are known for lining up all over the front-seven. And last, but not least, Dalton Keene is a tight end, but he’s anything but a typical Patriots tight end. Keene can line up anywhere, even in the backfield.
Free agent signings also fit this category as well.
Adrian Phillips is a Pro Bowl special teamer, but on defense he does whatever the team needs on a given week. In the past he’s played the typical safety spot one week, hybrid linebacker the next and then also across Tyreek Hill 1-on-1 because of his speed another. Cody Davis and Brandon Copeland also have some versatility in their games, as well.
Finally, a lot of people are already doubting the Patriots and that’s exactly what Belichick wants.
For the first time in 20 years Brady won’t be under center and many experts already saying the Patriots won’t win the AFC East for the first time since 2008. And it goes even further than that. Some even believe the Patriots won’t finish above .500 given the loss of Brady along with several key contributors on the defensive side of the ball.
This is the first time in many, many years where the Patriots are not the overwhelming favorites, but that is what Belichick prefers.
It will be easy to motivate the team on a weekly basis and even for himself, he’s going to do everything in his power to prove he can win without Brady as his quarterback.
While this may be one of Belichick’s most challenging years as a coach, that too is how he likes it.
We’ll see how it goes.