The highly awaited expose that unravels the disorder that plagued the Patriots this season is here. The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian co-wrote a piece that went online Thursday titled, “Inside the most dysfunctional Patriots season under Bill Belichick.” The two respected reporters say they interviewed “several sources inside and around the organization” about the litany of issues the Patriots faced on the offensive side of the ball, from Matt Patricia’s failures as play caller to Joe Judge’s toxic relationship with Mac Jones.
But some of the piece’s most damning quotes are directed towards Bill Belichick, who put Patricia and Judge in charge of the Patriots’ offense, despite their glaring lack of experience on that side of the ball.
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“I love coach [Belichick], but he f— us,” said a source.
Another source added he’s “never seen anything like” the Patriots’ mess this season.
Last spring and summer, the Patriots reduced their playbook, blending together some concepts from Josh McDaniels’ system with aspects of Sean McVay’s Rams scheme. But that vision never came to fruition. Since none of the assistants had coached a Shanahan-type system before — the most popular offense in today’s NFL — they failed to address questions and concerns from players. Callahan and Guregian write the staff’s “lack of understanding became a frequent source of frustration in meetings.”
At least six players had experience in Shanahan systems, including Kendrick Bourne, who played under Kyle Shanahan with the 49ers. Bourne spent the bulk of the season in Patricia’s doghouse.
“A lot of guys would ask, ‘Well, what’s going to happen if [the defense] does this?’ And you would see they hadn’t really accounted for that yet,” said one source. “And they’d say, ‘We’ll get to that when we get to that.’ That type of attitude got us in trouble.”
Those comments reflect criticism that Bourne voiced publicly about how the Patriots needed to “scheme up better.” Bourne made those remarks following New England’s lifeless 24-10 loss to the Bills on “Thursday Night Football,” in which players believe Patricia called the game to avoid getting blown out — not to win.
One source described that game as “bull—.”
With Bill O’Brien back in the fold, Callahan and Guregian say there’s “hope” he’ll be able to turn around the offense. Last year, Belichick simply made the wrong call.
“It’s always been about winning and doing what’s best for the team. I really believe (Belichick) when he says that,” said one source. “I just think he really didn’t understand how hard it was going to be.”
It was really hard indeed.