From the time Bill Belichick arrived in Foxborough, Massachusetts as the New England Patriots head coach, the Pats went from sleeper to a perennial problem with great help from some backup QB from the University of Michigan and “the tuck rule.” The first half of the 2000’s were owned by the Pats, and Belichick was lauded as a genius. However, since the 2008 season, and the SpyGate scandal, things haven’t been quite so easy. Bill Belichick has made several costly coaching decisions since 2008, and lost two Super Bowls in which NE was highly favored. This has left some fans confused, and critics questioning whether his genius status should be revoked. One way to cement his legacy once and for all, would be to turn the 2013-14 New England Patriots back into champions. What better opportunity to prove haters wrong?
When you replace talented offensive players like Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Rob Gronkowski (likely to begin season on PUP list) with guys like Danny Amendola (can he stay healthy?) and rookie Aaron Dobson, there’s bound to be a talent drain. However, scoring isn’t even the biggest problem. Last year they had the fourth worst passing defense in the NFL. With most defensive players from last year returning, Belichick can only hope that his young players make the first to second year leap and the entire unit grows collectively.
It’s foolish to question Belichicks’s credentials and wonder about his relative lack of success post-SpyGate. NE makes the playoffs every season (60-20 since ’08) and there are many teams who would be happy to lose two Super Bowls. Belichick’s coaching acumen is the stuff of legend, and he’ll likely have this team competitive in a watered down AFC. It won’t be easy though.
This season presents a particular challenge due to their lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Usually a team is top heavy in one area, but there are questions all across this roster. This will be his biggest head coaching challenge since taking over in 2000. For most teams and coaching staffs, expectations would be trending down by now. You just can’t trot out Brady, regardless of his greatness, and expect to go 13-3 with the people they have this season. However, here in NE, that’s pretty much what people envision. Belichick’s coaching mind is so revered that the assumption is that he’ll be able to figure it out. No other coach would have those expectations, but this is why he’s the best in the business. Talented roster or not, he’s going to get it done.