Usually, at this point in any season, there is a mixed reaction to how teams are doing and where they are likely headed as the season progresses. There are debates about how good a team really is or who appears to be the Super Bowl frontrunner, and the Patriots have been part of that conversation for many years.
That is, until now.
After their latest frankly embarrassing loss against the Colts in Week 10, New England now sits with a 2-8 record heading into their bye week. It's their worst record since before Tom Brady was drafted, a season that feels very unfamiliar to most Patriots fans.
Because of the team's struggles in the years since the legendary quarterback took his talents to Florida, there has been a consistent effort to try and decipher what exactly has made the Patriots fall from grace so quickly and harshly. That's become an even more discussed topic this season, with the apparent regression of Mac Jones and questionable decision-making by Bill Belichick.
Both men have found themselves at the center of most controversies this season, as they seem to be taking the brunt of all the blame for how the year has turned out thus far. It has all culminated into demands they are fired mid-season, or at the latest, right after Week 18, a move that didn't seem to be in the cards before the year began.
But with how the season has transpired and the uneasiness surrounding what the future may hold based on how the team has gotten here, most believe an immediate change needs to happen.
As the bye week continues, perhaps more clarity will be provided on what Robert Kraft's immediate intentions are. But before then, Tom Brady spoke about the current state of his former longtime team on a new episode of his "Let's Go!" podcast, offering advice and defending his ex-coach in the process.
"You’ve got to change your strategy, different weeks there’s different challenges, and I think the Patriots, they’re just having a tough stretch, just not playing with the kind of confidence that you’ve always seen. Obviously Coach Belichick, I don’t think he’s coaching any different now than the way he coached when we were undefeated. There’s a lot of things that need to go right in order to win and succeed."
His perspective as a retired player is fascinating, especially when he speaks about the Patriots. We know how connected he is to the team from top to bottom, and although he tends to shy away from really criticizing them despite it being warranted, his takes are generally spot on.
Brady is absolutely right about needing a change of strategy, but the problem is where the season is currently. It's heading into Week 11; the Patriots season is essentially over, so are changes to strategy even a consideration at this point?
Then there's his belief about Belichick, stating he doesn't think he's coaching any different than when they were an undefeated team in the 2007 season. He may be correct about that, but there seems to be a shift in Belichick's usual demeanor in recent weeks, which leads many to believe he may not be the coach he used to be.
Brady continued defending the Patriots, mentioning how people want to always point the finger when a team loses but celebrate everyone when they win, a possible defense of Belichick against recent accusations. He feels that's what is happening with the Patriots right now as they stare down their worst record in over twenty years.
"The more I sit back and watch — everyone wants to celebrate when you win as organization; everyone’s responsible. And the same’s true, everyone’s responsible when you lose, too. Everyone can’t be on the bus when you win and be off the bus when you lose and [say], ‘Let’s point the finger at one person.’ When you look at losing, the organization loses, the fan base loses; everyone’s in it together."
That's where the Patriots are right now, with fingers pointing in all directions and the demand from fans for someone to take responsibility for how the team got to this point. Since they are typically a tight-lipped team, that's unlikely to happen publicly, but actions by Kraft from now until the offseason may provide a deeper look into the happenings behind the scenes.
We'll just have to wait and see.
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