A bombshell report published by the Boston Herald early Thursday morning was a complete rundown of the inner workings of the Patriots, beginning from early in the 2023 season to now. It painted a chaotic picture of what has historically been a well-oiled machine led by Bill Belichick, demonstrating just how far the accomplished franchise has fallen in recent years.
Although it could be argued most of the dysfunction began as soon as Tom Brady announced he was leaving the team, the 2022 season seemed to be the ultimate display of a shift in dynamic.
The team needed a makeover from top to bottom, from the roster to the coaching staff, not just because they needed to be a successful team again but also because Josh McDaniels poached nearly half the personnel to join him on the Raiders. It felt like an opportune time to bring in some fresh, talented coaching minds to help the team get up to speed with the current NFL.
But Belichick's decision to re-hire Joe Judge and Matt Patricia immediately felt like taking two steps back, even more so when the former defensive coordinator was given McDaniels' clipboard to oversee the offense.
Much to the surprise of no one, Patricia's time as the offensive playcaller did not go well. Mac Jones regressed, which could be partially blamed on Patricia's inexperience in coaching an offense and Judge, who was made the quarterback's coach. The offense as a whole took a giant step backward, with Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry being the most noticeable and detrimental to the team.
So when it was clear Patricia would not be returning to the Patriots for the 2023 season, there was a sigh of relief around New England. But apparently, that wasn't the initial plan.
In the Herald's report by Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed, they revealed Belichick wanted to keep Patricia as the offensive coordinator for this season, but Robert Kraft shut it down quickly, forcing the head coach to look elsewhere.
Perhaps that means he was never interested in bringing back Bill O'Brien, but given how last season went, it's shocking to hear that Belichick wanted to keep Patricia in the position he publicly failed at doing and seemed to bring more harm than good to the offense. For a coach as well respected and knowledgeable as he is, it's a questionable choice, to put it kindly.
Hopefully, Kraft will keep this attitude heading into this upcoming offseason, which needs to be treated as critically as possible because it is. More decisions like this must be made to push the team forward. They can't afford to take any more steps back.
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