Bill Belichick has every intention of returning for a 24th season as New England Patriots head coach.
One day after his team’s season-ending 35-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium, Belichick confirmed he plans to coach the Patriots in 2023.
Belichick, who turns 71 in April, is the NFL’s second-oldest head coach, trailing only Seattle’s Pete Carroll. In his end-of-season video conference, he stressed the need for accountability after the Patriots extended their streak of consecutive seasons without a playoff win to four.
“Our record is right around .500, which is kind of what it’s been all year,” Belichick said Monday morning. “With that, some good things and some not-so-good things. Nobody’s satisfied with that. That’s not our goal, and we need to try to improve on that. We need to improve on it.
“So, that’s on all of us. Accountability everywhere, starting with me, coaching staff, players, each unit. All things that we will address, and that process will start probably later today.”
Belichick sidestepped repeated questions about whether he plans to change the Patriots’ controversial offensive coaching setup this offseason. His decision to replace departed coordinator Josh McDaniels with a combination of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge backfired, with the Patriots fielding one of the NFL’s worst offenses and squandering a stellar season from their defense.
The Patriots’ postseason evaluation process, Belichick said, will include conversations with coaches, players and team owner Robert Kraft, who last spring expressed dismay with New England’s lack of recent postseason success. A report last week from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer also indicated Kraft was unhappy with the Patriots’ coaching on offense and could call for sweeping staff changes.
New England could see turnover on the defensive side, as well, with linebackers coach Jerod Mayo reportedly expected to explore opportunities elsewhere. Cam Achord’s job also is in jeopardy after the Patriots finished dead last in the NFL in special teams DVOA and allowed two kick-return touchdowns in their Week 18 loss in Buffalo.
“As we do every year, we’ll evaluate everything and try to make the best decisions that we can to move forward and be more competitive, to have a stronger team in the future,” Belichick said. “Robert and I will talk about that, we’ll talk about that as a staff, and certainly individual conversations with many of the players, as we always do. All the players.
“There are some that are obviously more urgent or will be more timely than others, but it will be a comprehensive course of action, as it always is. … The process will start today.”
The Patriots finished the season 8-9, losing three of their final four games for the second consecutive year. Since winning Super Bowl LIII to close out the 2018 season, they missed the playoffs twice and were bounced in the wild-card round twice following a string of eight straight appearances in the AFC Championship Game.
“I don’t see the process being any different (this year),” Belichick said. “But we need to have better results, and that’s really the bottom line. That’s really where we are for today.”