Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel discuss the GOAT of the NFL sidelines. After receiving a wide-range of criticism from those inside and outside the Patriots organization this offseason, should Bill Belichick continue to make all the football decisions in New England? Or should he just focus on the on-field strategies? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: As you wrote with Belichick, he did some Belichick things this year. We talked about it in earlier shows, that this draft he definitely went his own way this year. This is, in some ways, I’m like, man, given what Robert Kraft said, given the fact that there feels like there’s a little bit of pressure now in New England, like there’s definitely sort of like I think if there’s a repeat next year of what happened this year, which is, hey, some success, but you get throttled in the postseason, there’s going to be a little bit of grumbling.
I’m curious how this offseason ultimately factors going forward if we look back and go, hey, you know what, that offseason after 2021, we didn’t know it, but that ended up being a little bit of a turning point for Bill either positively or negatively.
DAN WETZEL: Well, it’s a huge offseason. I mean, a couple things, as you mentioned. You have three straight years without a playoff victory, and you have Robert Kraft bringing it up. Nobody says anything about Belichick. He will snap back at you. Kraft is pretty much the only person he’d be like, I don’t like losing three straight times. And they were non-competitive against Buffalo really.
They are clearly chasing Buffalo amongst other teams. And the whole AFC seems to be getting stronger and stronger and stronger, and people are making very bold moves to get stronger. So you sit there with New England and you say, OK, why is New England going to be better this year than last. And you kind of have Matt Jones’s development.
But there was a lot of personnel. I mean, I don’t know. Like, what do you hold your hat on and go, oh, this is going to be great? So they did not, they were not very active in the free agent market. Now maybe some of these guys pan out. We’ll see. But they weren’t making huge bold moves. And then this draft is a little strange. We’ll see. But there’s definitely pressure to win. New England fans expect to win. Treading water, just making the playoffs, this isn’t Detroit, this isn’t Cleveland. You got to do better than that to get people happy or get your owner happy. And then B, Belichick turned 70 in April.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: And so as I wrote, I don’t know, I would not be surprised if he’s 75 and coaching at all. But this is the core of those teams. Like, this is the, you’re building right now the core of your last run, whenever that is, unless he goes 10 years. OK? Unless he’s coaching 80, which would be fine with me and I’m sure fine with everybody else. It’d be great, because he’d still be successful, and he’s certainly one of the great characters and great obviously greatest coach in the history of the league.
But at 73, 74, 75, if this draft’s a bust and he’s not putting people together, it may not end in the way you’d expect for Belichick. And he is a prisoner of his past success. Like, you know, it’s a problem with New England. They won 17, 17 division titles. The season didn’t start till the AFC Championship game for a long time. And so to try to get back to that is extremely difficult.
And so, what do you do this offseason? I will say this. He sure as hell didn’t panic. Didn’t look like a guy who thinks time’s running out, or I to make these super, super–
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: –Things now. Maybe he did and made very bold picks by picking guys ahead of where they were on the consensus draft board. But maybe he’s right. Maybe everyone else is wrong. And as you look at that Dallas draft board, there is a lot of wiggle, particularly even at the top part of the draft team to team. So should be, I thought it was a very Belichickian draft where he’s kind of going counter to conventional wisdom and just not giving a crap about it. And so that’s what works for him. He will be proven again as a genius. If conventional wisdom is right on some of these guys, you know, it’s back to the drawing board.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s, I kind of made the point earlier with Eric Edholm that if this flops, like at some point, if you’re Robert Kraft, it’s definitely not something that I feel that can be broached, but you can only have so many draft failures before you’re like, hey, maybe you just need to coach, man. Like maybe we need to adjust this.
I know it’s worked one way for you for a long time, but maybe we need to strengthen up the personnel side and make it more like, I don’t want to say the Scott Pioli years, but I mean, that was probably, Pioli was probably the one guy who was definitely more present in the franchise. He was more available. And I think a lot of that had to do with Scott too, you know.
Scott wanted to be someone who was available. Scott wanted to be someone who was given credit for some of the draft wins and the classes. But since Scott has exited, there really has not been a huge personality in personnel who you were like, OK, there is an element of real shared power there. It’s been Bill since then. He’s worked with his personnel people, but everybody knows it’s Bill who’s running everything.
I don’t know, man. It’s just a weird off, it’s not something I expected, and it started with Kraft kind of saying what he said. I’m just like, wow, like I never would have thought that we’re already here a couple of years removed from Brady and the owner sitting here basically saying, look, I’m not happy with how seasons are ending. It bothers me we’re not having postseason success.
And that focuses more in on their drafts. Now they have, I’m not going to kill them here, because they have had some, it’s not like they haven’t had some decent picks. And the Mac Jones picked to me really trumps everything else. We can sit here and be like, this draft sucked, that draft sucked, but if you get your quarterback and he takes a big step forward, I still think that outshines maybe some of the other failures.