Like it or not, in Bill Belichick the Patriots still must trust

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In Bill We Trust.

For nearly two full decades it was the mantra of many a Patriots fan.

It predated more commercialized phrases like Do Your Job or No Days Off.

Let legendary dynasty-foundation kicker Adam Vinatieri leave via free agency, joining the Colts no less?

In Bill We Trust.

Trade Richard Seymour or Logan Mankins or just about any other proven contributor?

In Bill We Trust.

Even New England season ticket holder-turned-owner Robert Kraft would invoke an In Bill We Trust message at times while explaining Patriots offseason moves made by his top underling, Bill Belichick, whose winning ways had by that point apparently elevated him above such explanations to the lowly media and masses. Transactions made in March, April and May could be hard to swallow Kraft often acknowledged via his inner fan built upon those infamous metal bench seats of Foxboro Stadium, but things generally worked out come December, January and February.

This was the way.

But we are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the In Bill We Trust philosophy losing some of its hold on Patriot Nation, of some faithful followers indeed struggling to keep the faith.

When Tom Brady left New England to join the Bucs, subsequently taking a title to Tampa Bay with him, everything changed for a portion of people in terms of the way Belichick is viewed as a team-builder, boss and even winner.

The once all-powerful In Bill We Trust met its match in Tom Brady’s departure.

We all know intimately well how the last year turned out.
While Brady was riding high for the most part and collecting another Super Bowl ring, Belichick’s Patriots stumbled, fumbled and spun their collective wheels.

Winning streaks were replaced by projected salary cap space. Playoffs by high draft picks.

Whether he ran Brady out of town, allowed him to leave or simply didn’t do enough to retain the GOAT, faith in Belichick has been tested by the sports divorce. Lines were drawn and sides chosen.

Lately that’s even led some to espouse the idea that Belichick should no longer be the man in charge of offseason transactions and the critically important rebuild that’s about to get underway at Gillette Stadium.

Just look at his recent record of first-round picks!

Is Belichick really the guy capable of aggressively targeting and procuring talent, including the ever important need for a franchise quarterback, after years of value-based team-building with Brady to fall back on?

He doesn’t value the quarterback position as he should in the modern NFL!

Look at his resume drafting offensive skill position players, he just can’t be trusted to go down that N’Keal Harry road again with the future of the franchise on the line!

Argh!!!!!!!!

And it’s not just hot-take media members making these aggressive statements that are indeed founded in fact.

It’s not even just a vocal minority of the Patriots fan base.

Nope. The reality for the future Hall of Fame coach and team builder Belichick is that he’s very much being doubted these days by a somewhat sizable portion of his formerly loyal, subservient followers.

With NFL free agency less than a week away, Belichick has $60-plus million to work with to rebuild his team and faith in his ability to do so.

After that will come the 2021 NFL Draft, Belichick holding the No. 15 overall selection that should give him the opportunity to pick an impact player to add youthful potential to a roster filled with far more holes than impressive young athletes.

Should Belichick really be the guy making the big-money decisions and potentially franchise-altering draft picks?

Yes, yes he should.

He earned that right at the age of 68 with two decades of dynasty building and rebuilding. Yes, with Brady by his side.

But just because Brady is gone doesn’t completely wipe away what Belichick accomplished as a coach and the guy making every important football decision in New England.

Even if the trust in Belichick is wavering these days, even if hindsight says he may have bungled what he himself once called the best quarterback situation in the NFL, it doesn’t mean the man with four-plus decades of experience is suddenly unfit to do his job.

Plus, if not Belichick then who? Who would you rather hand out the free agent contracts? Are you really ready to ask recently-promoted personnel executive Dave Ziegler to handle the draft just a couple months after taking over for Nick Caserio? Josh McDaniels? Matt Patricia? Brian Smith? Any of those names get your juices going?

Sorry, ain’t happening. Nor should it.

Before we categorize Belichick as a post-Brady personnel failure we have to let him prove it. He’s earned that much.

In Bill We Trust.

For years it was the simple, faithful mantra chosen by Patriots fans to defend Belichick.

In Bill We Trust.

Challenged more often of late, it must remain the rallying cry in New England as the team embarks on one of the most important offseasons in franchise history.

Does Belichick indeed have what it takes to rebuild the Patriots and return gridiron glory to Gillette Stadium?

We are about to find out.

In Bill We (still must) Trust.

Whether you like it or not.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images