Bill Belichick gets what he deserves with Patriots misses in 2022 | Mark Daniels

TECHNOLOGY
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FOXBOROUGH – As the boos rained down, it was Bill Belichick caught cursing on the sideline this time. The Patriots coach can be seen muttering an expletive from the sideline in the first quarter on Sunday. In the second quarter, the official microphone heard him yelling a different curse word.

At halftime, that crowd booed the Patriots in the locker room. At the final whistle, the fans were heartbroken.

Merry Christmas, coach.

If we’re honest, Saturday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was fitting. This 2022 Patriots team does not deserve to make the playoffs. After losing 22-18 to the Bengals, their season will almost certainly be over in two weeks. That’s how it should be.

There’s only so much you can do in the NFL. In the end, you get what you deserve and this year’s failures fall on Belichick’s shoulders.

Saturday was just another example. As loyal fans packed the icy Gillette Stadium, the Patriots offense was lifeless for three-quarters. By the time they found life, the game ended up ending with an offensive upset face in the red zone.

After failing to cross midfield until the final play in the third quarter, the Patriots nearly came back on Christmas Eve. Instead, that offensive ineptitude reared its ugly head in the proper way – a Rhamondre Stevenson fumble five yards from a touchdown.

The boos were justified. Belichick’s decisions led to a team with a poor coaching setup, little depth in key positions, and a poorly managed boundary situation. Look no further than Mac Jones and the Patriots Offense.

Kendrick Bourne has proven himself

When you have a young quarterback, it’s important to create a level of safety around him. It’s not about holding his hand, it’s about making sure he’s surrounded by players he trusts. One of the biggest mistakes this season comes with the handling of receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Last year, Bourne finished with a career-high 800 receiving yards. On Saturday, Jones called Bourne one of his closest friends. When he plays, he looks like one of the Patriots’ most dynamic receivers.

“KB, he’s a great teammate and one of my closest friends,” said Jones. “Every time I saw him he had a smile on his face, even in a situation like the one at the end of the game where we’re trying to fight back and there’s a lot of pressure, he’s there smiling, like, ‘let’s do this. When you see that from a guy, and I say the same thing in the huddle, I want to look for a guy like that who wants to compete and play and play hard.”

That’s why it’s baffling that Bourne played fewer snaps than four receivers on the Patriots roster — Jakobi Meyers, Devante Parker, Nelson Agholor and Tyquan Thornton. On Saturday, Bourne showed his coaches why he should be on that playing field.

On the Patriots’ first scoring drive, Bourne caught passes for 19 and 32 yards before throwing a 32-yard touchdown. On his second scoring drive, the receiver caught a ridiculous 28-yard pass.

“I’m going to come in and take advantage of my opportunities. It’s just about making them when I get them,” said Bourne. “It’s not the easiest situation, but I make the most of it when I can.”

Bourne finished with a career-high 100 yards on Saturday. Considering Jones’ struggles last week in Las Vegas, it’s highly questionable why Bourne only played 11 snaps on offense. He looked like a player who should be playing more, not less.

When asked why Bourne hasn’t played as much this season, Belichick replied, “No specific reason.”

Mac Jones showed that he was capable of throwing an Ave Maria

On Saturday, Jones showed his arm strength.

Last week, when the Patriots’ game ended in embarrassing fashion, Belichick was asked why the team didn’t attempt a Hail Mary on that final drive in Las Vegas. The coach replied, “We couldn’t play that far.”

This felt like a poke at Jones and his arm strength. That pass in Las Vegas would have been a 55-yard attempt – on a dome. On Saturday, Jones threw a 48-yard pass – in the freezing cold – that bounced off Scotty Washington and into the hands of Jakobi Meyers for a touchdown.

Right there, Belichick was proven wrong. You never know what might happen at an Ave Maria.

Instead of praising the strength of his arm, Jones took the blame for what led to the 48-yard score. The Patriots were in a third-and-29 situation, in part due to their intentional grounding call.

“At that point, I did a lot of things to put us in this situation, which is not good,” Jones said. “…But at some point you just have to let it go.”

In Las Vegas, the Patriots avoided letting Jones rip. They focused on the running game against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Considering Belichick’s comments about Jones’ arm strength, the Vegas night seemed like a sign that the Patriots didn’t trust their quarterback.

For three quarters you could see that Saturday. After the first quarter, the offense had 10 total yards. Jones was 0 for 2 passing. The group never reached midfield in that time. The Patriots offense did not cross midfield until the final play of the third quarter.

Jones activated it in the fourth quarter. It didn’t hurt that he was playing for one of his best players on Bourne.

“Mac is very posed. He’s been like that his whole career,” said Bourne. “Very proud of this guy. He is a warrior. That’s what we need. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we love the fight we have in our guys.”

Belichick takes the blame

Belichick was caught without a plan when Josh McDaniels left for Las Vegas last offseason. Instead of building a young offensive coach behind his offensive coordinator, who did interviews for head coaching shows every offseason, Belichick put Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in charge of the operation.

This move has been criticized since the jump. It never worked. The offense looked ineffective in training camp and preseason. They never looked great in the regular season.

Last year, under McDaniels, the Patriots offense finished sixth in the NFL in points scored and 15th in yards. They entered this game ranked 17th in scoring and 25th in yards. The drop in offensive production is clearly due to Belichick’s failure to adequately replace McDaniels.

The change of coach is not the only problem for this group.

The Patriots also failed when it came to building adequate tackle depth. They entered this season with Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn. Neither player has been a model of durability in his career. The Patriots didn’t properly build depth behind them. They entered the regular season with Yodny Cajuste as their main backup. He was passed on the depth chart by Conor McDermott, who was signed by the New York Jets practice squad.

Then there are the issues with receivers and tight ends. The Patriots have the fourth most expensive in the NFL at $23.4 million with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. They have the second most expensive reception room at $34.3 million.

As we saw again on Saturday, the Patriots have issues with their receivers being wide open and players running routes too close together. For a team that spends so much money on these offensive weapons, the output is alarming.

When asked how much responsibility Belichick takes for offensive failures, he replied, “I’m the head coach.”

Yes, you are – and that’s why these defeats are you, coach.

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