It seems that Bill Belichick has lost confidence among some New England Patriots players after a horrible approach to replacing long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and his highly successful schemes.
There is no denying Belichick is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, head coaches in NFL history. His resume with the New England Patriots speaks for itself. He has had 19 double-digit win seasons in 22 years, nine Super Bowl appearances, and six victories in those NFL championship games.
That is why there was little concern about how he would go about filling the offensive coordinator opening left by McDaniels after he moved on to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Belichick had been in this position before and had always been able to find the right person for the role. That is until this season.
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Instead of seeking out a veteran coordinator or a highly respected offensive mind on the rise, the 70-year-old legend went with a coordinator-by-committee approach led by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. Two men with limited offensive play-calling and scheming experience.
Unsurprisingly, the results were disastrous for that side of the ball in 2022-2023, and a new expose this week from the Boston Herald reveals things were far worse than New England Patriots fans even realized.
New England Patriots concern about new offense began in the spring
On Thursday, the Boston Herald published a report that offered up some shocking details about the dysfunction on offense, which started in the spring and continued through the summer and well into the season.
Patricia and Judge decided to overhaul the previous offense this season with a far simpler scheme modeled after the one used by Los Angeles Rams and Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean McVay. The new system called for heavy use of play-action passes and had far fewer plays. However, the play action was eventually scrapped early on but not filled with a different set of plays and attacks in camp.
“One source described a typical training camp practice under McDaniels involving the installation of 25 pages worth of fresh run plays, another 25 of passing plays, and upwards of 40 pages for the offensive line learning protection schemes. Under Patricia and Judge? Those numbers were cut by roughly half.”– Report on Patriots offensive dysfunction
Rumors throughout the summer hinted at consistent problems for the offense and QB Mac Jones in learning the new system.
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One New England Patriots player on Bill Belichick: ‘I love coach but he (expletive) us’
Making matters worse, the offense that was first used successfully by legendary coach Mike Shanahan was that many of the staff had a poor understanding of it.
It was so bad, that New England Patriots talent that had previously played in the scheme would ask questions about how to respond to certain defensive looks. The coaches rarely had answers and often replied with, “We’ll get to that when we get to that.’ That type of attitude got us in trouble. By the end, they were just making 1,000 adjustments instead of building them in at the beginning,” an anonymous player revealed.
With the playbook cut in half, blocking schemes a mess, and few good answers from coaches, players reportedly started to have doubt about if Bill Belichick was still the elite coach he had been for the past two decades. “I just think he really didn’t understand how hard [replacing McDaniels] was going to be,” a player told the Boston Herald.
Earlier this week, the Patriots rehired one-time offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in a widely celebrated move. However, it will likely take some time for current players to once again believe in Bill Belichick and his staff because as another anonymous player put it, “I love coach [Belichick], but he f***ed us” last season.