In Bill Belichick the Patriots must trust, now more than ever


Bill Belichick has been in full control of the football operation in New England for 22-plus years.

Through thick and thin, Belichick has been the final decision-maker on just about anything to do with the Patriots.

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And as he himself declared a couple years ago following the playoff loss to the Titans in what was Tom Brady’s last game in New England, “I wouldn’t say it’s been all that thin around here, personally.”

Belichick’s right. The best of times – six Super Bowl wins – have been as good as it gets in NFL history. And the worst of times – a 7-9 post-Brady season led by Cam Newton – weren’t really all that bad and obviously didn’t last too long.

This is to say that Belichick has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt in his decision-making. The overall results, philosophies and actions speak for themselves. The pudding Belichick has served up to Patriot Nation has been oh so sweet.

In Bill We Trust!


Right now the answer has to be a very strong … kinda?

Soon to be 70 years old and in the midst of a supposed rebuild alongside newly-minted franchise QB Mac Jones that saw a playoff trip in the No. 15 overall pick’s rookie season, Belichick is certainly testing the limits of the cache he’s built up two decades of success.

Doubted many times before, more often than not Belichick’s come out on the right side of the ledger. But the devilish doubt is creeping…maybe stomping…into the Belichick conversation once again this offseason and it’s all about his coaching staff.

Coming off a year in which it wasn’t hard to argue that New England was as poorly coached as any time in the Belichick era – slow starts to games/halves, limited adjustments at times, costly penalties in all three phases, three blocked punts, failure to field the proper number of players on defense, etc. – the Patriots have seen a Mass. exodus of assistant coaches.

Offensive coordinator and top Belichick assistant Josh McDaniels is now the head coach in Las Vegas. He took wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi, offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo and assistant QBs coach Bo Hardegree with him, as well as director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, who helped tremendously in the “collaborative effort” last spring that was a smashing success in both free agency and the draft.

Longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears is expected to retire.

That means the only returning position coach on the New England offensive staff as the team looks to make strides in Jones’ Year 2 development is tight ends coach Nick Caley. If you just wondered silently “Who?” it’s more than understandable.

This all comes after the offseason analysis of the Patriots – fresh off the Super Wild Card beatdown by Josh Allen’s Bills in which New England failed to force Buffalo to punt for a second-consecutive meeting – began with concern about a defense that had no coordinator and too many coaching voices to concoct competency.

Now, the concerns about the defense led by Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo seem to be the least of the Patriots coaching staff problems.

Now, it’s the offense that has nobody in a position of leadership and few if any reliable or confident coaching options to turn to.
Sure, Belichick brought back former Patriots special teams coach and failed Giants boss Joe Judge. But as an offensive assistant? Not to take the “offensive” part of his title literally, but WTF?

As much as Belichick has proven his worth, his current plan for his coaching staff appears from the outside to be rather putrid. Sure, he’s promoted from within successfully before. Sure, he’s gone without coordinators in a titular sense and seen Super results before. Sure, his fixation on developing young coaches, especially those who are FOBBs (Friends of Bill Belichick) or friends of FOBBs, has worked over the years.

But is a 70-year-old man capable of overseeing his offense, defense, special teams and personnel department at as high and competent a level as necessary to compete and win?

Even for a tried-and-true Belichick bobo, an In Bill We Trust acolyte, it’s a more than fair question to ask.

After all, Belichick’s favorite phrase in Foxborough is Do Your Job. It’s not Do Everyone’s Job.

Maybe Belichick is thinking of reprinting all those hats and t-shirts. Because right now, whether out of necessity, stubbornness or poor planning, Belichick does appear to be trying to do everyone’s job for them.

The Patriot Way is all Belichick, all the time these days.

And if we’re being honest, it feels far less than ideal.

With a nod to former president Ronald Reagan, maybe there should be a new spin on the quote of faith Patriots fans have in Belichick.

In Bill We Trust, but verify.

Unfortunately that verification process for Belichick and his new-look, dubious coaching staff won’t come until this fall.

So, for now, guess all there is left to do is trust.

Of course we’ve all seen viral videos of what happens when trust falls go bad. They result in painful collapses. Let’s hope a failed trust fall is not what the Belichick-led Patriots and their fans have coming.

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