Bill Belichick, or whatever is left of him, has had a nominal interest in opening up the New England offense for years now. His interest in the offensive side is merely a cursory obligation. The rules require Belichick to field a quarterback under center but since the day Tom Brady cut ties with him, The Hoodie pushed the passing attack into a corner and went all in on manufacturing the dullest offense possible. Every offseason, he picks up a burly, fringe Pro Bowl tight end and then chases linemen and cornerbacks.
When was the last time you watched a Patriots offensive series and felt your adrenaline rushing? I’ve seen high school offenses that are more high-octane. It looks like Belichick hasn’t given his offense anything more than a cursory glance in years. In his quest to prove he can win with one hand tied behind his back, Belichick has demoralized his signature unit. Last year, he appointed his former defensive coordinator to serve as chief executive of his offense. That went as well as Elon Musk running Twitter.
Bill O’Brien’s returned to animate Mac Jones, but he’s working with insufficient tools. Jones is throwing to the league’s least intimidating, most mediocre receiving corps and the offensive line is beneath Belichick’s standards. As a result, for the second consecutive week, the Patriots offense played possum against a suboptimal opponent. After getting pantsed 38-3 by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, New England was fileted 34-0 by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Both losses were the worst of Belichick’s career.
The Saints loss hurt more. Not only did it come on the heels of a humiliating defeat to the Cowboys, but the Saints are a .500 team. Belichick’s defenses don’t deserve the blame, though. When Jones is scoring more points for the opposing defense than for his own offense and repeatedly burns out after three downs, what is the defense supposed to do? The 1-3 Jets, 1-4 Giants and the 2-2 Browns defenses are emblematic of how even the most well-coached defenses can get beaten into submission.
In the past two games, Jones has thrown for 260 yards, donated four interceptions to needy defenses, including a pair of pick-sixes, as well as a fumble returned for six, and engineered only one scoring drive. New England’s quagmire raises a possibility that was previously unthinkable. How much longer can the Patriots live with a stubborn Belichick eschewing explosive skill position players or a franchise quarterback?
Rigor mortis hasn’t set in yet, because the offense is DOA. Jones has been awful since his rookie season. But it’s impossible to discern whether his regression is a chicken or an egg situation. Is Jones holding back an offense suffering from a skill deficit or his water pistol arm is suppressing an offense that has slimmer room for error than almost any other unit in the NFL? Whatever the reason is, the Patriots should have seen enough to know that he’s not the elixir for New England’s anemic offense.
Tom Brady’s peerless efficiency allowed the Pats to get away with a lack of imagination. However, he was also throwing to Rob Gronkowski and an assortment of slot receivers like Julius Edelmen or Wes Welker for a majority of his career. Belichick has always tried to cut corners on offense. Whether it was operating four tight end sets or having a corps of targets composed of receivers who measured in below six-feet tall.
The only organization more stable than New England’s for the past two decades have been the San Antonio Spurs. Like Belichick, Gregg Popovich lost more games than every coach except for Dwane Casey. However, San Antonio’s faith in Popovich has been renewed in the months since the Spurs drafted Victor Wembanyama.
Theoretically, Belichick can still mold talent, but he needs to at least be willing to upgrade his roster, especially at quarterback, and find his own Wembanyama. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a generational talent like Caleb Williams, but a quarterback who can actually stretch the field would be a start.
The whispers about Belichick’s job security are morphing into murmurs. But Jones should hit the road before an eight-time Super Bowl champion who’s won six as a head coach. The 2024 Draft is projected to be rich with signal callers and the Patriots should be in the mix if Belichick follows through on his promise to stick with Jones as his starter moving forward.
Belichick has earned the benefit of the doubt. He’s the most accomplished coach in league history and a few seasons away from eclipsing Don Shula in career wins. He’s also a prideful guy who’s ashamed to admit failure. However, he also needs to be humbled. Belichick probably believes he can perform some DIY fixes on Jones, but don’t let him overthink it. Belichick can’t Geppetto this offense to life.
This is one of the worst offensive units in the AFC because of that same mindset and they lack a robust nucleus to build around. The best thing that could happen to Belichick’s legacy is for this season to snowball so that this team can move on from Jones in the offseason, construct a functional offense and gauge whether Belichick still has what it takes to cook up another contender.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex
Original source here
#Bill #Belichick #Geppetto #Englands #wooden #offense #life