Bill Belichick Misses The Point After Patriots Miss The Playoffs And That Might Not Stop

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — All New England coach Bill Belichick was interested in talking about after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills was the game that just finished.

And, of course, that’s beside the point.

“I was proud of the way our team competed,” Belichick said. “I was proud of how all our guys competed. In the end, it wasn’t good enough. We didn’t make enough big plays.”

The Patriots are out of the playoffs now.

They had the easiest road to the No. 7 seed in the AFC tournament. All they had to do was beat the Buffalo Bills to get in. It was in their hands, which was not the case for either the Miami Dolphins or Pittsburgh Steelers.

But, nope.

Bills 35.

Patriots 23.

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots dives for a first down during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Patriots Have Fallen From Ranks Of Elite

And anyone thinking this loss is somehow the news doesn’t understand history. The Patriots, you see, once upon a time dominated the AFC East. The NFL, really.

But since Tom Brady departed after the 2019 season, the Patriots have sunk to mediocrity. Perhaps below that.

Belichick’s team has missed the postseason two of the last three years. They’ve been under .500 two of the last three years.

It’s almost as if they miss Brady.

It’s almost as if the quarterback made the coach and not nearly as much the other way around.

Brady isn’t returning to New England. Yes, he’s a free agent after this season but he’s over the Belichick experience at this point, according to some close to him.

So what is necessary for the Patriots to be kinda, sorta relevant again?

Assuming quarterback Mac Jones isn’t going anywhere, then a transformation into an elite quarterback would be good. That’s more hope than plan.

But assuming Belichick can overcome some ego that has him believing he can make chicken salad out of chicken bleep, the best answer if for him to add legitimate playmakers on offense.

He needs his tight ends to factor in the red zone.

He needs receivers who are consistent, show relatively dependable hands, move the chains and make big plays.

The Patriots have precious little of either.

The best receiver for the Patriots on Sunday? DeVante Parker. He caught six passes for 79 yards with 2 TDs.

Problem is Parker is mostly just a solid No. 2 receiver. He is a Dolphins castoff that team no longer wanted when it upgraded with Tyreek Hill.

The Dolphins, by the way, are in the playoffs.

Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills stiff arms Matthew Judon of the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Highmark Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Patriots Defense Good, Offense Not So Much

The Patriots are into their offseason and needing to make decisions on guys such as Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Parker, and others that form the worst set of pass-catchers in the AFC East.

The club — meaning Belichick — also has to figure out what to do with the offensive coaching staff.

Belichick would love to run the classic Shanahan offense that Mike Shanahan once ran in Denver and Washington and taught to his son Kyle and Sean McVay. But Belichick’s trying to do that with … Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

Patricia, a Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator during the New England heyday, is the club’s offensive play-caller. LOL.

Judge, a special teams coach by trade, is the quarterback coach. LOL.

Neither helped Jones improve in his second NFL season.

The New England offense was No. 17 in the NFL in scoring coming into Sunday’s game. They were averaging 21.4 points per game.

Maybe that ranking improves because the Patriots bust out a whole 23 points this game.

But here’s the point:

The Patriots are better than good on defense. Their offensive line is solid. And Jones still might be a solid-to-good quarterback if the club surrounds him with playmakers and puts him under the tutelage of experienced and accomplished offensive coaches.

The question is will Bill Belichick change his belief he can coach average players to great heights, thus not needing superstar wideouts? Will he drop the ego scales from his eyes to allow him to see that plain truth?

Or will he think that doing what he’s done the past three seasons since Tom Brady left will work?

Everyone in the AFC East is hoping for the latter.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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