Bill Belichick offered some head-scratching quotes in the second half of the 2020 NFL season.
Normally quick to offer pointed, harsh criticism of his team, the Patriots head coach was alarmingly soft — and borderline optimistic — as New England struggled to a 7-9 record and an early offseason. Even more surprising was Belichick’s penchant for making excuses about his clearly below-average roster.
It was difficult to make sense of. Belichick wasn’t really encouraged by what the Patriots did this season, was he? The 68-year-old is under no illusion that his team, as currently constructed, is close to competing with the NFL’s top teams, right?
The answer to both questions is a resounding “no,” according to Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard. In fact, Belichick apparently is ready to do whatever it takes this offseason to turn around the Patriots.
Here’s how Bedard opened his appearance Tuesday afternoon on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz” program:
“We’ve heard what Bill has said … basically since the first loss, that’s when Bill’s been in excuse-making mode. After the finale, and on Monday, I was worried about some of the things that he said, which were half-truths or not close to the truth. And I worried that what Bill was saying publicly, maybe he’s carrying that forward privately in terms of how he views this team. Maybe he’s gotten to the age where he thinks he can do no wrong and that they’re just a couple of plays away from doing this or that, or that they just need good quarterback play and they’ll be OK.
“After talking to some people the last few days, it sounds like Bill knows exactly what’s going on. I think they’re going to set an aggressive path toward this offseason. And that means in a whole bunch of areas, from free agency to trades to the offense. I think he spent a good part of the second half of the season realizing where his team was and he’s ready to do something about it.”
Exactly what form Belichick’s “aggressive” offseason takes remains to be seen. Additionally, what the NFL elects to do with its salary cap either could hurt or help New England’s plans for retooling its roster.
In any event, Patriots fans should feel encouraged by Belichick’s reported commitment to ensuring New England returns to the NFL summit.