Rumors are out there that the Bill Belichick era as Head Coach and de facto general manager of the New England Patriots may be nearing its end. Whatever the current situation, it will on several levels be a sad day in New England for Patriot Nation. The coach is a legend.
Belichick has been an integral part of the unprecedented success of the franchise since he signed on in 2000. That year, he set about to try to rebuild a franchise that had diminished since a Super Bowl appearance in 1996. After a rocky beginning, a certain Tom Brady entered a game and the rest is NFL mega-history.
If Belichick does indeed leave, since Tom Brady isn't likely to walk through that door (is he???), there are three immediate steps that should be taken to help get this formerly superpower franchise back on its feet. And here they are.
The New England Patriots first need to hire a top NFL personnel person
First things first, major hires will have to take place should this groundbreaking change occur if Bill Belichick leaves the New England Patriots. One thing should be perfectly clear, and, hopefully, owner Robert Kraft has learned from the insular mistakes of the Belichick regime. The next top hires, the President of Football Operations and the Head Coach should indubitably come from outside the present and past organization.
The first hire has to be a new President of Football Operations who should be given the opportunity to hire any and all personnel working under him including the Head Coach. The insular nature of Belichick's modus operandi helped to send the post-Tom Brady Patriots to the bottom of the AFC East and the entire AFC as of this writing, as well.
The choice here would be an easy one. It would be Louis Riddick (if he is actually interested enough to leave a wonderful ESPN situation to get back into the NFL fray). The guess here is that he would be. This is a man with NFL experience as both a player and an executive and a history of being a global observer of trends and situations in the NFL for a number of years at ESPN.
Absent that, Mr. Kraft should look outside the organization, forget familiarity, and seek a person who has new ideas, a compelling, successful offensive background, and a thirst to bring the currently moribund New England Patriots franchise back to preeminence in the 2020's National Football League.
Next, the New England Patriots need an experienced offensive head coach and a certain type of quarterback
The New England Patriots offense is, to be courteous, a work-in-progress. Literally, that translates to a lot of work needs to be done to obtain progress. To engineer this change, you need an offensive coach who's spent time in the NFL as a successful offensive coordinator developing innovative offenses and who knows how to use a dual-threat quarterback.
The operative word in that last phrase is "innovative". The New England Patriots' current vanilla offense is an embarrassment to commonplace vanilla offenses. It's as predictable as if the offensive coaches asked the Patriots' excellent radio announcers, Bob Socci and Scott Zolak to call the plays from the press box before the ball is snapped. The Patriots need innovation, deception, and Read-Pass-Option razzle-dazzle (aka RPO) as a key component of the new Patriots' offense.
And, to assist in that approach, the team needs a dual-threat quarterback who will use his smarts, his arm, and his legs to gash opposing defenses and to confound and confuse them on every play. On that note, the team should see if Malik Cunningham is that player by giving him the rock for the rest of the season. The other backups aren't realistically worth that commitment.
So there are three suggested initial components of a New England Patriots blueprint for restructuring their last-place and falling franchise. It's all up to the owner, Mr. Robert Kraft. He's a fantastic businessman, but once again, it's time to see if he is still an uber-astute NFL owner. This offseason will tell.