Tom Brady is formally a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and as unusual as that’s, it’s equally jarring to think about Invoice Belichick entrusting management of the Patriots’ offense to somebody aside from the six-time Tremendous Bowl champion. The final time New England headed to coaching camp with somebody aside from Brady because the entrenched starter was 2000, when the job belonged to Drew Bledsoe.
New England is being written off as a severe 2020 contender not solely as a result of Brady is gone, however due to an exodus of expertise in free company. (New England has cap points, with simply $4.9 million out there, the third-lowest complete within the league.) Belichick should work some magic if the Pats are to increase their title streak within the bettering AFC East to 12. Extra realistically, New England may undergo a delicate rebuild. Right here is a few recommendation for Belichick on the way to deal with what comes subsequent:
Attempt to make it ugly
After a quick begin in 2019, New England’s offense hit the skids within the second half of the season. Beginning with their first loss, towards Baltimore, the Patriots topped 24 factors in a sport simply as soon as the remainder of the way in which, and have been held within the teenagers 4 instances, together with their season-ending loss to Tennessee. If that’s how issues devolved with Brady beneath heart, it’s solely going to worsen this season. New England’s greatest probability to win and keep aggressive within the division is to return to Belichick’s roots: enjoying stingy protection and profitable shut video games late.
See what you could have in Stidham …
Brian Hoyer’s return to Foxborough instantly set off hypothesis that he would have an opportunity to compete for the beginning quarterback job. However Belichick ought to give second-year QB Jarrett Stidham each alternative to point out what he can do. There’s all the time the possibility that the Pats will one way or the other luck into yet one more franchise quarterback, even when the draw back consists of some ugly losses within the course of. Beginning Hoyer (59.1 % profession completion share) could be an arrogance transfer that probably would hold the Pats round 8-Eight or possibly 9-7, however not make them any form of risk within the playoffs. The long run should be now in Foxborough. That mentioned …
… kick the tires on Cam
Cam Newton, launched by the Panthers, is a free agent. The questions on his well being (shoulder, foot surgical procedures) are legitimate, however Belichick could be loopy to not at the least do his diligence on the previous MVP. Rumors have swirled that Belichick wishes a dual-threat quarterback, and whereas Newton’s propensity for working and taking contact have probably shortened his profession, he’s nonetheless one of the cellular quarterbacks within the league. If he’s wholesome, the Patriots ought to take into account signing him. Newton-led New England would probably be one of many greater threats within the AFC.
If the Pats steer clear of Newton, or Jameis Winston, or some other out there veteran quarterback, Belichick should pay shut consideration to the little issues much more than he often does. One purpose he has had a lot success over time is his capability to search out gamers prepared to observe the Pats’ easy, devastating mantra: Do your job. Laying the groundwork for the subsequent nice run of Patriots soccer is as a lot about discovering gamers that mesh philosophically with the franchise as it’s about discovering guys with nice expertise.
Seem such as you’re truly having fun with your self
Go have a look at some early movies from the Brady-Belichick run of dominance, and also you see a head coach who’s each considerably youthful and considerably much less miserable-looking. Someplace alongside the road, Belichick grew to become tight-lipped to the purpose of absurdity, and actually began to lean into the “Darth Vader” function with the media. Many have mentioned that he’s very totally different behind closed doorways, and rather more affable towards his gamers. Nevertheless it wouldn’t damage if he sometimes addressed the media in a tone aside from, “I want I used to be getting a root canal.”
Protection, protection, protection
Belichick has by no means received a Tremendous Bowl with a scoring protection ranked worse than eighth within the league. Brady’s greatness bailed the Patriots out again and again, however their defensive excellence was additionally a foundational pillar of their success. Belichick ought to use the vast majority of his 12 draft picks on protection, and attempt to rebuild a unit that misplaced Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Danny Shelton in free company, amongst others. Along with a first-round picks, New England has three third-rounders. It additionally was awarded three compensatory picks (a third-rounder and two sixth-rounders), so it has loads of draft fodder.
Reinvent the wheel – once more
In 2002, the Pats shocked the Steelers of their opener by throwing the ball 25 straight instances towards a shell-shocked protection. Such an aerial show was principally exceptional within the league at the moment, however it was a harbinger. Alternately, the Patriots have zigged when different groups have zagged lately, recommitting to the working sport and making an attempt to hammer groups into submission. Belichick may cement his genius even additional by taking a threat and trotting out a totally new offense with an unproven quarterback.
Don’t depend on turnovers
In 2019, the Pats compelled two or extra turnovers in six of their first eight video games, going undefeated within the course of. They compelled two or extra simply 3 times over the ultimate half of the season, and failed to supply a turnover in three video games, going 1-2 in these contests. A lot of what New England did to start out the season was unsustainable, and will have created a false sense of defensive confidence. Belichick must get his group again to fundamentals and extra of a bend-don’t-break philosophy.
Put together for ache
Opposing followers have been ready for this. Some within the media have been ready for this. Opposing groups have been ready for this. Everybody smells blood within the water across the Patriots, and except Stidham or Hoyer work miracles, New England may wrestle in 2020. There’s probability Belichick posts his worst document since a 5-11 document in 2000. The franchise that outlined each success and vanity within the 21st century is probably going going to take its lumps. If groups have an opportunity to blow out the Pats, they’re going to take it to the acute.
Tank for Trevor?
With 273 wins, Belichick is inside shouting distance of Don Shula’s all-time wins document of 328. Would he be prepared to tarnish his document for one season with a view to get the primary decide within the 2021 draft, and choose Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence? It might be short-term ache for long-term achieve, and could be yet one more case of Belichick enjoying chess whereas everybody else performs checkers. The query is: Can his ego deal with it?