Given the current state of the Patriots, adding another loss on their season courtesy of the Washington Commanders on Sunday, talks regarding Bill Belichick's job security have heightened as they near the bye week.
Speculation has suggested that team owner Robert Kraft has considered firing the legendary head coach mid-season, sending a message to the team that he is serious about making the necessary changes to get back to being a winning team. Other rumors have claimed that's inaccurate, claiming a trade has been mentioned to send Belichick to the Commanders at the end of the 2023 season.
It's a lot of talk, and that's just it: talk. It's a fairly common occurrence when a team is performing poorly, and the head coach has been the subject of scrutiny in recent years. So it's unsurprising that rumors continue to fly, even when it's about someone as accomplished as Belichick.
Since New England's latest loss felt like the nail in the coffin, ESPN's Mike Reiss was asked for his insight about a possible mid-season firing during an appearance on 98.5's "Toucher and Rich" on Monday.
"I don’t think so and I think that would be very much inconsistent with Bill Belichick. If Kraft insisted Bill did that, then I think I could see Bill being like I will not sell one of my coaches down the river. we’re in this. We’re going to try to get out of it together like. I think that in 24 years there might be maybe one coach, maybe two. That Bill has moved on from during the season. And it’s been like. for stuff that we wouldn’t detect, you know what I mean? Like on the surface. So that would surprise me."
Although he spoke from his own opinion and not from actual knowledge of the situation, Reiss is well respected in NFL circles, particularly in New England, for his 25+ year team coverage. His takes are taken more seriously than most reporters, making his insight likely more accurate, especially since he has no agenda to push like most analysts.
It's not far-fetched to believe Kraft does maintain some loyalty to Belichick after all that he has helped accomplish over the years, and respecting him enough not to fire him mid-season would make sense.
Things can obviously change, though, and if the Patriots continue down the path they're on, Kraft may have to reconsider his stance. But because Reiss has been more right than wrong over the years, he's probably more knowledgeable on what will or will not happen.