The 2023-24 New England Patriots season was a dumpster fire. The Patriots have not won less than five games in a season since 1992. The Patriots find themselves lost. And this might only be the beginning.
The Patriots have earned the third overall pick in the draft, so there is some hope that this team can get back to its winning ways. When looking back on the 2023 season, it's not hard to see what failed this team. Head-scratching coaching decisions, a poor roster, and lackadaisical effort top the lists. However, some of this seemed preventative.
Let's take a look back at the Patriots' 2023 NFL season and examine how things could have gone differently.
Bill Belichick is let go midseason
Imagine we are back in Week 6. The Patriots are coming off a 20-17 loss to the 2-3 Las Vegas Raiders. The Patriots fall to 1-5 on the season. The season is already lost.
Multiple reports are coming out that Belichick doesn't like Mac Jones. The coaches have lost the locker room. If this were any other coach, the decision would be easy.
At this point, the Patriots should have let Bill Belichick go. The exit would have been rather unceremonious, contentious at best, but necessary. Early signs indicated that it was time to let Belichick go, but it felt like Robert Kraft kept him to allow him to save face. That's all nice and well, but it was very apparent that Belichick was no longer getting the most out of his players, and the locker room stopped respecting him and his decisions.
Although the team's performance on the field was already declining, what made it even worse was the decision-making process of their de facto general manager, who also happened to be Bill Belichick. It seemed like Belichick didn't do enough to put his team in a good position to win, and it felt like he never supported Mac as a quarterback. At times, it even seemed like he was deliberately creating obstacles for him.
The Patriots missed an opportunity by not parting ways with Belichick earlier in the season. The rebuilding process could have started sooner if they had let him go earlier. The team would have had the chance to bring in another GM to handle the trade deadline better, and this could have put the team in a better position in retrospect.