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Listen, you can’t screw up a season as bad as the Patriots have screwed this one up so far and we are in week 2 and they haven’t lost. Before the dust settles, this may be on par with the Red Sox decision to hire Bobby Valentine after their infamous collapse in 2011. This was a George Constanza year, where every decision has been the wrong one.
What is happening with Belichick really shouldn’t surprise anyone. What surprises me is how few are willing to admit it. Listen, we have been talking about Belichick as a Hall of Fame Coach alongside Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells for years. Now we can begin talking about his relationship to this group for a different reason.
Belichick is now 61 years old, pretty much at the age or above the age when it begins to go south for all great coaches. It’s a young man’s game and for the most part a younger coach’s game. The older you get, the more set in your ways you become, the more resistant to change and the more arrogant. It’s just common sense. The same goes for some of the greatest minds and field generals we have known, whether it be Belchick, Landry, General MacArthur, Howard Hughes , Emperor Palpatine or the Mad King Aerys from Game of Thrones.
Chuck Noll was just 2 games over .500 as a coach his last 11 years in the league. He retired at the age of 59, never able to re-create the magic of his four Super Bowl run in the 1970’s. He also famously passed on Dan Marino, a local Pittsburgh Panther and Pennsylvania legend, for one more year with a broken down Terry Bradshaw.
Tom Landry was fired at the age of 64, after going 54-50 in his last 7 seasons with no Super Bowls. Landry was a brilliant but stubborn man, who refused to adapt to a changing National Football League. Jerry Jones has been wrong about many things but showing Landry the door was not one of them.
Don Shula was 89-70 from age 56 to 65. Unfortunately, he was never able to surround Dan Marino with enough talent on offense or defense and the Dolphins never made a Super Bowl appearance during that time.
Bill Parcells coached two teams with a break in between from age 58 to 65. He still had an eye for talent but he never had the elite Quarterback to take him the distance and never knocked on the door of another Super Bowl.
Joe Gibbs, well we saw what Bill Belichick did to Joe Gibbs in 2007.
Bill Belichick is 62-20 since the Patriots famously choked away an undefeated season in Super Bowl 42. They are beginning their sixth season since that epic loss and still have failed to replace the DEFENSIVE talent on that team. This offseason they took it a step farther by downgrading their OFFENSIVE talent. The moniker Bill Belichick: defensive genius has almost become a party joke the last five years. Whether it was the rule changes of the new NFL or a scheme that hasn’t translated to a passing league, this defense has not been among the league’s elite since Richard Seymour was jettisoned from the ship. For all the blind Patriot fans who like to point out points against stats, I just say, go watch the second half of the AFC Championship game last year.
Then we come to the utterly laughable Wes Welker decision, which by week two has already become one of the stupidest personnel moves in franchise history since letting Michael Haynes walk. Let’s take away Tom Brady’s favorite target and one of the most durable, dependable and productive wide receivers in the league and replace him a guy who has missed 20 of his last 32 games. Oh, and to add insult to injury, let’s allow Welker to sign with your chief competition for the AFC Championship.
Talk about the ultimate I told you so. The Patriots go on the cheap for one of their best receivers ever and the heir apparent, oft-injured Danny Amendola tears his hip or groin in Week One. Tom Curran needs to write another column condemning Patriot fans for daring to condemn that swap. Hey Curran, time for you to wear the Patriot golf shirt — you’re about as objective as Rachel Maddow discussing President Obama. You came off looking like a complete dope on this comparison. I also loved when Curran tried to spin the Patriot lie that Welker wouldn’t come here for anything less than $8 million a year. Well guess what, even for $8 million, he’s a bargain compared to what they have now.
It’s become fashionable but truthful to criticize Belichick as a General Manager/Personnel Man. Bill Belchick has become a horrible GM. Most Patriot fans have blind loyalty to the man for past success refusing to acknowledge that the Patriots have one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history. The criticism of Belichick as a GM is not just because he misses on players in the draft, everyone team does miss on players. He misses on players in the same round at the same position. He misses on free agents; he missed on the Aaron Hernandez contract. It’s almost like he morphed into a 1990’s version of Harry Sinden. Since when does Bill Belichick care how much the Patriots make? Is that part of his contract? He cut Zoltan Mesko, a damn Punter, to save a million dollars. Do the Kraft’s have him on a budget? I can’t believe Bill is now trying to make the Kraft’s more money versus trying to win a fourth Super Bowl. If he is, shame on him. These are some of my favorite recent drafting duds.
In 2009, he drafted S Patrick Chung 8 picks in front of Jarius Byrd. Byrd has been a Pro Bowler, Chung a journeyman.
He chose WR Brandon Tate coming off ACL surgery one pick in front of Mike Wallace. Hey Bruce Allen, how did Mike Wallace play this week? Guess what, he had more than ONE catch.
Despite intimate knowledge of the Florida Gators team, he chose Defensive End Jermaine Cunningham in front of TEAMMATE and Defensive End Carlos Dunlap.
He selected Shane Vereen over Demarco Murray. Vereen can’t stay on the field. DeMarco is top running back who doesn’t fumble every game.
And then there was Ras-I Dowling, who was taken with the 1st pick of 2nd round; injured throughout High School and College. Cut this season after three more years of injuries.
Tavon Wilson was drafted 3 rounds ahead of where he should have been selected. He’s a backup.
This year, was trading BACK and drafting Jamie Collins more important than trading up and drafting a Wide Receiver for your Hall of Fame Quarterback? They could have gone up a couple of picks and drafted DeAndre Hopkins. Go check out Hopkins, drafted #27 overall, on this year’s statistics, he’s been amazing. Hopkins did this week what Aaron Dobson couldn’t do, catch the ball, and won the game for the Texans this week.
Clearly, Belichick can’t decipher between two players at the same position.
Belichick once told Atlanta GM Tom Dimitroff, and this story was out WAY before Tony Mazz discussed it on the air, not to trade up for Wide Receiver Julio Jones and instead draft WR Jonathan Baldwin late in the first round. Dimitroff, a former Patriot scout and Belchick disciple, ignored that advice because he gets it. When you have a talented QB, you constantly surround him with talent. It would be fun to see Brady play with Ryan’s weapons. I don’t consider Ryan elite and he still was almost in the Super Bowl last year.
Clearly Belichick just cannot shop for groceries anymore. He did get two things right with both Tight Ends. Whoops. One has returned to his injury form and the other is going to be busy for about 20 years.
Tom Brady is throwing to Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson. I know that wasn’t the plan, but given Gronk’s and Amendola injury history it was also wishful thinking to think they would both be there on a week to week basis. I don’t know what happened with Hernandez, he’s not here and depending on someone like him is the Patriot’s gaffe in the end. It’s not the Patriots fault he killed two people or more, but they did give a guy with a checkered past a big contract extension. This team could have worked a receiver into the mix every year instead of drafting or signing 3 in one year.
I thought the Patriots always think about the whole 53-man roster? Danny Woodhead wasn’t going to break the bank and would have made a lot of sense given Vereen’s injury history and Stephan Ridley’s unreliability because of fumbling and limited pass catching ability.
That brings me to Tommy Terrific. Larry Bird and Tom Brady are the two best Boston athletes I have ever seen and probably will ever see in my lifetime. Bird like Brady won three Championships and played in five. Bird like Brady was done disservices by his front office. Ask Larry sometime about how he had to beg the Gaston’s to shell out a little more to bring in Bill Walton to Boston in 1986. Now, Tom Brady doesn’t call the shots, but I wonder if cares more about loyalty or legacy. If he’s truly loyal, then he should be sitting quietly on the bench patting those awful receivers on their backs. The tantrums seem to tell a different story. If he cares about legacy he should never have let the Patriots manipulate him and his contract.
In 2006, Brady restructured his contract only to have the Patriots not re-sign his two best receivers, costing him a potential fourth Super Bowl. Why then, in 2012, did he restructure his contract again without getting assurances by the team? They let his best receiver go, brought in a capable but always injured replacement (injured as we speak) and three rookies for his trouble. No effort at all to add a Free Agent receiver and the Patriots also cut Brandon Lloyd, who had 74 catches last year.
Brady had two years left on his contract. He could have used his leverage by making the Patriots upgrade the wide receiver position. He chose not to pursue that and instead took the money. Then take it Tom, but don’t complain.
We constantly hear that the Patriots are thrifty, they assign value to a player, well it seems like they have become cheap. I understand Bob is still sad because Aaron Hernandez duped him. But why is this team $10 million under the cap? And please, none of that media propaganda about the Patriots being among the league leaders in cash paid out every season. According to FORBES MAGAZINE, the New England Patriots are one of the most valuable FRANCHISES IN THE WORLD. They have one of the greatest players in NFL history and they are worried about budgets? Shame on the Kraft’s if they are giving Belichick a hard line on the budget.
Bob Kraft doesn’t “..answer to Tom Brady,” but he should because without him you would be just another fairly successful owner in this league. Tom Brady is why this franchise is a contender for the 13th straight year, not Bob Kraft. Kraft plays a role, but not the starring one. The worst thing that ever happened to this franchise was Brady’s injury in 2008. It cost them a shot at another Super Bowl and gave everyone delusions of grandeur about Brady’s importance. By the way, they missed the playoffs that year.
Finally, there is the State Run Patriot Propaganda media. Let’s face it, the Kraft’s rival the Obama Administration when it comes to media manipulation. If you don’t shine their shoes, you don’t become an “Insider.” Whether it is Tom Curran, Mike Reiss, Mike Girardi, Gresh and Zo or the fools that run Patsfans.com, it’s the same old crap. Bruce Allen, a supposed media watchdog, does a great job of playing to the egos of people like Curran by linking their stories and drawing traffic to their shows and columns. Allen, who besides his website writes for Patriots Pro Football Weekly, is the ultimate hypocrite. He’s one of the all-time biggest Patriot homers and condemns anyone who disagrees with him claiming that they have a bias or an angle. In fact Allen is more biased than anyone and runs a forum of media haters that constantly attack everyone in the media who have the temerity to be objective on any team in the New England area. Bruce earlier this week chastised Gerry Callahan for criticizing the Patriots for not signing Mike Wallace. Allen cited Wallace’s ONE catch last week. This week Wallace has 9 catches 115 yards, a touchdown and was the primary reason that the Dolphins beat a good Colts game on the road. I guess the Patriots couldn’t use a guy like Wallace.
You add this all up and what you get is a very unfortunate season. The Patriots are 2-0, but so are the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, I know, Patriot nation thinks we should root, root, root for the home team. They like to calls dissenter “trolls” or throw out jibes like “try living in Cleveland!!” Well screw that, the Patriots have Tom Brady, they have endless money, and if people put their time in effort into following and supporting they should expect them to go for it every year. Can we not pretend that the Patriots are not going to have a huge drop off when Brady is retired? So they rewarded their loyal fans by tanking a season just because they don’t want to lose a negotiation to Wes Welker’s agents. Fans should expect the best and Tom Brady should be doing everything he can to win those championships.
Ask Bird if he thinks he left some titles on the table. The same goes for Magic Johnson and even Michael Jordan. The same people who were overflowing with glee when the Patriots were running it up on teams in 2007 now are content with mediocrity? Tom Brady is 36 years old. He’s not what he was three years ago and he will be a little worse next year. I guess Belichick thinks in an offensive league giving Brady LESS is the right move. Well, for a man so influenced by NFL history, he seems doomed to repeat it like some of his Hall of Fame coaching brethren.
By the way, the Broncos scored 38 points this week against the New York Giants. Wes Welker scored his third touchdown of the season, while Danny Amendola is seeing specialists.