NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at New England PatriotsThe New England Patriots’ issues might lie deeper than originally assumed.

Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t on the same page as head coach Bill Belichick, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on “Sunday NFL Countdown.”

“Several players, coaches and former players have rendered an unsettling picture that all does not look well with Tom Brady and the Patriots and there’s a reason for it,” Mortensen said, via “Even though Bill Belichick chuckled when asked Monday night about Brady’s status, others close to the team now believe that when the Patriots used that second-round pick (in 2014) on Jimmy Garropolo that they were, in fact, choosing Brady’s successor, perhaps sooner than later.

“Sources say Brady is uncomfortable with the personnel and coaching changes, the consequences have led to tensions between Brady and the coaching staff, with Brady’s input into gameplans, personnel packages, formations, pre-snap adjustments being significantly diminished.

“Has the staff lost faith in Brady? Or is it simply the residue of shaky personnel decisions, including the undeniable fact that since 2002, the Patriots have used 11 draft picks on wide receivers and only two — Deion Branch and Julian Edelman — have made any impact.”

The Patriots are 2-2 on the season and coming off one of the most embarrassing losses of the Brady-Belichick era — a 41-14 shellacking by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. Brady seemed unusually down even after the Patriots beat the Minnesota Vikings 30-7 on the road in Week 2.

It seems obvious that Brady would be perturbed with the direction the Patriots are headed after years of questionable decisions made by Belichick, his front office and coaching staff. This offseason alone, the Patriots traded Logan Mankins, spent a second-round pick on a backup quarterback and failed to develop second-year New England wideouts Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce.

Dobson has been a healthy scratch in three games this season (for “football” reasons), Thompkins was cut Saturday and Boyce is on the practice squad. The Patriots elected to sign free-agent wide receiver Brandon LaFell for $9 million over three years when Steve Smith, Emmanuel Sanders and Eric Decker were on the open market.

A win on Sunday night against the 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals could go a long way toward repairing the reportedly shaky relationship between Brady and Belichick. Another embarrassing loss, on the other hand, could have major repercussions on the Patriots’ near and distant future.

Photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images