Bill Belichick has a problem.
Actually, the 70-year-old future Hall of Fame Patriots coach has seemingly endless problems these days.
Following Thursday night’s 24-10 loss to the Bills in front of a buzzless-and-booing-until-it-went-home-early Gillette Stadium crowd, it’s quite clear that Belichick’s 6-6 New England team simply isn’t all that good.
Despite another early-season run of success -- mostly on defense and mostly against low-level opponents led by a litany of overmatched quarterback soon to lose their jobs -- the Patriots aren’t very good on either side of the ball. Their second-year franchise QB Mac Jones is frustrated with his offense, its play-calling and, without saying so, has to be most generally irate at the unsuccessful spot he’s been put in by Belichick, first-year offensive assistant and play-caller Matt Patricia and first-time QB coach Joe Judge.
Following up yet another loss where the offense could muster almost nothing outside of a Marcus Jones 48-yard touchdown on a screen play – yes, the same rookie defensive back Marcus Jones who saved the season last the Patriots played in front of Foxborough Faithful with a punt return TD in the waning seconds to beat the Jets – it’s clear the Patriots are not a good, efficient, playmaking team on either side of the ball.
They’re not good enough to stop Josh Allen’s Bills on defense – Buffalo had four scoring drives of more than nine plays, converted 60-percent of its third downs and was a perfect 3-for-3 in the Red Zone.
They also aren’t good enough to keep up with Allen’s Bills on offense, the new, streamlined New England “attack” nowhere near ready for December primetime or capable of even running basic situational plays at a high level. Remember the early-season talk that the new offense would allow the Patriots playmakers (whoever they are supposed to be) to make plays, theoretically to close the playmaking gap with offenses like the Bills and Chiefs? That’s a theory that becomes more laughable with each sad passing week.
But those are on-field problems that lie beneath Belichick in New England. As hopeless as it may seem, those are the types of problems Belichick has been solving for decades.
Belichick’s biggest problem resides well above the ongoing mishaps of the Gillette playing surface, in a luxury box at midfield. Sitting with none other than Mr. 99 Problems himself Jay-Z at his side, until the rapper-turned-mogul left to celebrate with the winning visiting team.
Without a doubt, Belichick has to have a Robert Kraft problem at this point because Kraft certainly has to have a problem with what he’s seeing.
We all have bosses and Belichick’s boss, a man who prides himself on being a Patriots fan first and an NFL businessman second, has to be like most New England fans waking up this morning feeling disgusted after yet another disgusting loss at the hands of the AFC East benchmark Bills.
Recall, that two offseasons ago, Belichick’s boss declared quite definitively that he expected his Patriots to be contenders every season, something that was essentially true for two decades of Tom Brady-led time in New England, back when the team set a franchise record with 15 straight wins over Buffalo.
Then, this past March, Kraft made his feelings even more clear coming off a season that ended with the Bills beating the bag out of the Patriots on Super Wild Card Weekend in 47-17 loss in Buffalo that wasn’t even that close.
“I’d expect it to happen as soon as this year,” Kraft said eight months ago at the NFL owners meetings of the Patriots returning to true contender status.
With all due respect Mr. Kraft, LOL. LOL. LOL.
With no more Lions and Browns and Jets oh my on the Patriots schedule, New England is being certified as a purebred NFL pretender for the second straight season.
And it’s the Allen-led Bills, the MVP candidate leading an actual Super Bowl-contending team, that continues to show Kraft and the once-mighty Patriots how they fail to measure up.
Kraft expects a contender.
Belichick continues to field a pretender.
When employees like Belichick don’t meet the expectations of bosses like Kraft, there are generally ramifications.
Tough questions have to be asked these days inside the offices of Gillette Stadium. And not just on the football level or in the offensive meeting rooms.
The Patriots are not meeting Belichick’s time-tested standards and expectations on the field on a weekly basis as a listless, impotent, at times sloppy football team that looks anything but prepared and capable of competing with playoff-caliber opponents.
Obviously the coach has to try to figure out what to do about that with six games left in the season.
But New England also certainly isn’t meeting Kraft’s clear and publicly-stated expectations, either.
That’s a much bigger problem than just a 14-point loss to the Bills on Thursday Night Football.
And that’s a much longer and more difficult conversation that has to be had.
Thanks to MacFarlane Energy where they offer the most dependable home heating oil delivery and HVAC service including Lennox heating and cooling systems. Visit MacFarlaneEnergy.com for more.