Among the conversations surrounding what the future holds for the Patriots has been what Patriots owner Robert Kraft will do regarding Bill Belichick's position once the season is over. Most have already concluded that the legendary head coach has lost his way, explaining why this season has transpired the way it has, and feel it would be best for Belichick to retire after the final game.
A handful of former New England players have expressed their opinions about the situation in recent weeks, with Tedy Bruschi leading the way with multiple discussions on the topic.
He was asked about Belichick's situation before the Week 6 matchup with the Raiders last Sunday, where he suggested that his ex-coach appears to be more focused on passing Don Shula for the most wins by a head coach in NFL history as opposed to trying to get the current team right enough to play "respectable football" by the end of the year.
"The wins now — I have always known Bill to only coach for meaningful wins. Meaningful in terms of division championships, playoff wins, Super Bowls. It’s shifted now. The meaningful wins are now all for him. It’s for the Shula mark. Isn’t that over all of him right now, all of the organization — the 18 he needs to get Shula? I think it’s eight more until the all-time loss record, also.
That’s what it’s all about, though. That’s never what I knew Bill to coach for. So, is it all about Shula? Because if it is, we’ve really got to look in the mirror and say, ‘Where are we going in the future?’ And that’s a tough decision for Mr. Kraft."
He doubled down on that assessment after the Patriots suffered another loss in Las Vegas, adding that Mr. Kraft may have to make the decision to move on without the accomplished coach before the 2024 season begins.
"I think Bill Belichick is considering it, and I also think Robert Kraft is the one that has to start to consider, is it time to move on? Because right now, if they get a top-five pick, Mr. Kraft (would) have to decide if Bill is the right one to take one of those three, four quarterbacks, whatever it may be, that you could possibly get, and if he wants to start over with Bill.
That’s Mr. Kraft’s decision. That’s an owner’s responsibility. Bill always talks about doing your job, and that is Mr. Kraft’s job to consider."
This continues to be a popular topic in New England, with most of the fans and even those in the media split on the best course of action.
Because Belichick is so accomplished and put the Patriots on the map for two decades, it's hard to believe that Kraft would just outright fire him for any reason, especially since he's not just the head coach but also the general manager. Some have speculated that Kraft's best decision would be to give the GM title to someone else and maybe go ahead for at least one more season with Belichick as the coach.
But, as Bruschi pointed out, it will be a big decision, with the team likely headed for a complete overhaul next offseason that may include a new quarterback. Since they were fortunate to have Tom Brady for so many years, Belichick never had to deal with a team in this situation, making it an even trickier choice for Kraft.
As for the immediate future, stacking some wins and getting the team back to being a competitive team would be best for all involved. That path will not be easy with the Bills and Dolphins on the docket for the next two weeks. But (hopefully) they won't get completely demolished and repeat their outings against the Saints and Cowboys from a few weeks ago.