Analyzing Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have a history of overachieving in the National Football League. For decades, the Patriots were the go-to team in the AFC to reach the finals and Super Bowl. However, the loss of star quarterback Tom Brady changed the equation for the team and coach Bill Belichick.
After a brutal 2020-2021 campaign, below is an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the New England Patriots this season.
Strength: Coach Belichick
Even though there is a lot of talk at present about the relationship between ex-Patriots QB Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the latter is still one of the best coaches in the NFL. Belichick has a habit of perfecting a system that gets the most from the talent at his disposal.
The present Patriots team may not have the same talent as previous rosters, with no huge superstars like Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, or Julian Edelman, but they do have some excellent players.
If any coach can take a team that went 7-9 last season and turn them into playoff contenders, Belichick has the knowledge and skill to get it done. Pats fans will be hoping they can see the team turn into a vintage Belichick side as the season enters its business end in October, November, and December.
One reason to trust Belichick is that he always finds a way. There were seasons when the Patriots lost key players to season-ending injuries, but they still put in an outstanding show and got themselves into the playoffs.
Strength: Josh McDaniels
Many NFL followers may wonder how the Patriots can continue to lose offensive talent and still put up impressive numbers. There is one answer that all pundits can agree on – Josh McDaniels.
The team’s offensive coordinator is one of the very best in his position. McDaniels may not have achieved his dream of becoming a first-class NFL head coach, but he is a superb manager of the team’s offense.
Many believed the Patriots had the worst roster on offense last season. According to fans, pundits, and statistics, the Patriots had a 27th ranked offense in terms of production. They may not be among the very top teams in the league, but they still put on a great show considering the weapons at their disposal.
Supporters of the Patriots know that McDaniels and the other coaches will have to be at their very best if they are to get anything from this season. A losing record is not beyond the realm of possibility, which is why everyone on offense will have to play out of their skin.
Weakness: QB Cam Newton
When fans hear the name Cam Newton, they still think of the outstanding runner and passer who took the league by storm with the Carolina Panthers. Newton may still have a lot of talent and is capable of stellar performances, but he is not the same quarterback he was in the past.
Newton put up his worst statistical season in 2020, which is very worrying for Patriots supporters. Not only did he rack up a measly eight touchdowns, but he gave up ten interceptions and only threw 2657 yards in total.
There is a suggestion that if Newton cannot find his best form early in the 2021-2022 season, he is in danger of losing his spot to Mac Jones. That does mean that fans can hope for some changes to the offense, but Jones is very raw and will need time to adjust to the way the Patriots play in the NFL.
Having a poor QB is often a death sentence in the NFL, as so much of what the team attempts to do on offense depends on their hands and legs.
Weakness: Too Many Free Agents
Bill Belichick put on his general manager hat in the off-season and signed a roster full of free agents. Fans were happy to see a lot of those moves, as they knew the team had holes in its roster in nearly every position.
The problem with shopping in the free-agent market is that you can never be sure what you will get. Players who showed promise in the past may not have the same skill in the present, which could hamper the Patriots if they are to maintain a winning record this season.
Another issue with signing so many free agents is that team chemistry can suffer. The Pats are known for being a tight-knit group, where everyone fights for each other. Adding many new players into the mix may upset that balance, which could pose an issue for coach Belichick and the rest of his staff.
The only way to know if the Pats’ off-season moves were correct is by assessing their record in the NFL after the first few match days. The Pats are currently 1-3 after four matches, losing to the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Can the Pats Win It All?
A betting man would not put money on the New England Patriots to claim glory in the AFC Championship or the Super Bowl. Even though coach Belichick is one of the best in the business, he does not have elite talent throughout his roster. Without a superstar QB in the form of Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots are susceptible to tough losses in critical moments.
While they can push for a winning record and a playoff berth, going all the way to the Super Bowl is an improbable event.