NFL reporter Albert Breer has expressed his dissapointment with how the New England Patriots have handles their offseason.
The New England Patriots are getting ready for their 3rd season without the incredible duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium, with the past two years havign seen Cam Newton and Mac Jones take on the mantle of QB1 and try to get the Patriots back to the dynasty levels that they were at following the turn of the century.
Things did not go so well for them when Newton was under centre, as they finished with their first losing season since the year 2000 as they went 7-9 through what was a fairly chaotic year across the league in general as a result of various restrictions. 2021 saw a marked improvement though with Jones as he took them to 10-7 and back in the playoffs before they were knocked out by their AFC East rivals in the Buffalo Bills.
If they carry on that trajectory, then it does seem like this could be the first ‘true’ year of the Patriots getting back to the way they were over the past 20 years, this offseason though has seen them go through some big changes.
What’s been going on?
First off we need to look at who they have let go as they have lost a number of big-name players, especially on the defensive side of the ball such as Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower whilst also letting go of Shaq Mason go from the offensive line.
That’s just the players, as there has also been a coaching change with the loss of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to take charge of the Las Vegas Raiders.
They have made some additions in the form of Ty Montgomery, Jabril Peppers anf the return of Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler, but the strangest addition for them came in the form of the draft where they used their 1st round pick on a guard, Cole Strange out of the University of Tennessee-Chatanooga, a decision which led to some rather bemused reactions around the league:
Everyone saw Sean McVay’s reaction to the #Patriots selecting Cole Strange in the first round.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) May 1, 2022
What people missed is Les Snead talking about what makes Cole Strange great and why they liked him so much. pic.twitter.com/tYLh1BlJro
And all that business has left Breer rather bemused by what he’s seen and has given them a damning assessment ahead of the season.
What’s the verdict?
Writing in a column for SI.com, Breer nominated the Patriots for a subject titled “Which team didn’t do enough this offseason and could struggle this season?” and gave his reasoning thusly:
“The Patriots. You might be surprised to hear that—but I look at the attrition in the coaching staff (especially losing OC Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas to coach the Raiders), and an offensive group around Mac Jones that still seems to need a quarterback to elevate it (like Tom Brady could), rather than manage it (like Mac Jones can), and I feel like I’m waiting for Bill Belichick to pull another rabbit out of his hat. Toss in a completely remade linebacker group, and an issue at corner, and I have a lot of questions.”
Now when you have 8 Super Bowl rings to your name, 6 of which as a head coach like Belichick has, you are afforded some benefit of the doubt when it comes to how you handle your business. But at the same time, there is only so much that your history and legacy can help you, results need to follow as well.
And if they don’t this season, then you do have to start wondering how long Belichick has left when it comes to ruling over his kingdom in New England.