From 2001 to 2019, the New England Patriots had arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Led by QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, they won six Super Bowls and were consistently one of the best teams in the league. However, the franchise experienced a big shock on March 17, 2020 when it was announced that Brady would be leaving the team to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the team has not been able to recapture the magic that allowed them to have so much success earlier in the 21st century.
Brady’s departure led to an interesting narrative surrounding the Patriots. This was Belichick’s chance to prove himself as an elite coach, and not simply the beneficiary of a great quarterback. In the three years since, he has not been able to do that. Rather, the team has undergone large amounts of turmoil, inconsistency and frustration. This started during the 2020 offseason, when former MVP quarterback Cam Newton signed with New England. Despite high expectations, the team finished with a measly 7-9, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Newton was underwhelming. Yet, during the offseason, hope grew as the team picked Alabama QB Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The future was once again bright in New England.
Jones’s rookie year went surprisingly well. He led the Pats to a 10-7 record and a playoff appearance. The team had a tough postseason exit, losing to the Buffalo Bills by a score of 47-17. Despite this loss, the year was still a success, and hopes were high for the 2022 season.
The past two seasons have trended in the opposite direction. New England failed to make the playoffs last season and Jones regressed. He only threw 3,000 yards, and had a shockingly low quarterback rating (QBR) of 38.4. So far this season, it has been more of the same. The Patriots currently sit at 2-6, with no real hope of making the playoffs. The team appears to be falling apart. All signs are pointing towards the fact that the Patriots need a complete rebuild.
It is time for Jones to go. He has simply not been good enough the past two seasons. At his best, during his rookie year, he was a competent game manager. He didn’t make many mistakes, but he also didn’t make many highlight plays either. Ever since then, he has regressed to the point where he is losing games for the team. He threw 11 interceptions last year and has already thrown eight this season. It is clear that the Patriots will not get close to a Super Bowl while Jones is under center.
Belichick’s time may be up as well. He is now 71 years old, and his coaching performance the past two seasons has been uninspiring. On top of this, the Patriots offense has been abysmal. They currently rank 31st in points per game, at just under 15. It seems as though Belichick’s old-school, serious style of coaching has become ineffective. It is a sharp contrast to the coaching styles of many of the top teams in the league, such as the Dolphins, Eagles, Chiefs and others whose coaches allow their players to celebrate, have fun and express themselves.
There has also been a recent trend of former Patriots players calling out Belichick. As recently as two weeks ago, former Patriot and current Raider, Adam Butler became frustrated with his former coach.
On a similar note, during this past offseason, former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel wrote an insisting tweet to Lamar Jackson: “my brother trust me you don’t want to play for Belichick.” Player respect is huge in football and this only amplifies the fact that the Patriots need a new coach soon.
The other major issue with this Patriots team is that they just do not have enough talent on the roster, particularly on offense. There are zero young, up-and-coming stars on this offense and the future is not looking bright. The best thing that the Patriots can do is focus on rebuilding. This means finding a new coaching staff, drafting a new quarterback and attempting to acquire as much young talent as possible, whether it be from the draft, free agency or the trade market. If they play their cards right, they should become Super Bowl contenders in around three to four years, but the first step is admitting that they need a big change.