This ain’t rocket science. Just do your job.
Sure, there are a lot of things a common fan (and many within the media) cannot recognize when it comes to the intricacies of professional football. But there is a flip side to this thought as well:
- Every game is televised.
- Every game is scrutinized and over-rationalized.
- Every game is picked apart by media, by scouts, even fans who have access to the all-mighty All 22 postgame video reels.
- Players and ex-players tell us what to look for. Some of us even played the sport.
- Interest in the NFL is at an all-time high, with the globalization of the sport becoming more apparent every season.
So, if you’re stuck in an old-school way of thinking…or coaching…you’re behind the 8-ball. We know more than you think we know, Coach.
Enter the sure-fire Hall of Famer, Bill Belichick. There’s no doubt his bust will be in Canton, OH someday. But how much tarnish might there eventually be, if he can’t solve what presently ails his football team?
Changes – major changes – are needed. Required, even. The Patriots’ struggles with play-calling set up for this season have led to a regression and reduced performance in several areas – notably at QB and on the offensive line.
What is even more alarming is what Coach Belichick himself, in a welcome moment of candidness, told WEEI Radio Monday morning:
“I think we need to do what we’re doing better. I don’t think at this point making a lot of dramatic changes…it’s too hard to do that. If we can just do consistently what we were doing, I think we’ll be alright.”
But that’s not good enough, Coach. Does that mean this team and this organization, this year, doesn’t deserve your best effort at making things better?
All that is being asked…is to just do your job. It’s the mantra you’ve preached for two-plus decades. It’s clear for nearly everyone to see. The offense struggles, mightily. Mac Jones, and his teammates, deserve better. Those teammates are also doing their own grumbling over the struggles. As the head coach, you are responsible for performance – and you even admitted as much for everyone to hear.
“I’m responsible for our team’s performance,” Belichick said Monday, “so I accept that.”
Jones even said after the Thursday night loss to Buffalo that he wanted to be “coached harder.” To that comment:
“We coach everybody the best we can every week. That’s not going to change.”
But what IS going to change, Bill? Or is it going to be more of the same over the final five weeks of this season? Like you, some do believe good coaches can coach anywhere. But it has become painfully obvious this is not one of those situations.
You’ve said you’re responsible for the team’s performance.
Do your job. If change is required (and it is), it’s time to make it.
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Get off the field
The Patriots, at least defensively, couldn’t get off the field in the last two games last season against Buffalo’s offense. It certainly didn’t look like much changed over the past calendar year Thursday night, did it?
The Bills held the ball for nearly 40 minutes. They converted 60% of their tries on 3rd down. It’s almost shocking to think that New England held the #2 ranked defense in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) before the game kicked off. That means they were pretty good, going in.
Didn’t much look like anything had changed since last January, except the final score. And a loss is a loss.
It was offensive?
Honestly, the game plan seemed to be okay going in Thursday night. Make the Bills work for everything they got. Make them grind it out, keep Josh Allen in the pocket, take away what they do best.
Only that didn’t happen, in large part because the offensive performance was, in a word, offensive. Oh-for-one in the only red zone try (the Bills were 3-for-3). 242 total net yards, and just 60 on the ground. Time of possession was barely over one quarter of the clock (21:52).
Buffalo’s pressure, even without an injured Von Miller, was relentless and caused the offensive line to look worse than a slice of spoiled swiss cheese. As a result, several of Jones’ passes were targeted too high…as he threw too quickly.
But no matter how bad you have it…
Yeah, someone (or some team) has it worse. Consider the plight of the Indianapolis Colts today.
They allowed the Dallas Cowboys to score 33 4th quarter points – the second-most ever – Sunday night in a 54-19 loss. And the final score qualifies as a “scorigami,” which means 54-to-19 has NEVER happened previously as a final score in the history of the NFL.
It was the second scorigami this season, following Seattle’s 48-45 win over Detroit in Week 4. Did you know there were SIX scorigami’s last season, too?
The Colts and Cowboys were involved in three of those last year. But they each won their respective games with the weird scores a year ago.