I have no idea where Bill Belichick is going to be during the Super Bowl on Sunday. He may or may not watch the game, but I bet he’s already focused on the 2014 New England Patriots.
Lots of time has been spent since the AFC Championship Game congratulating BB for his coaching performance with his 13-5 club. I’m not terribly focused on where to rank this season in terms of his coaching resume except to say if it was a great coaching job then it means he created a flawed team as a GM that he had to coach up.
BB has a busy winter and spring ahead of him. Some ideas:
Changes are already under way within Bill’s coaching staff. Dante Scarnecchia and Pepper Johnson, two positional staffers who toiled under Belichick seemingly forever, or, since he became the coach of the NEP, are gone. Were they problems with the team? That answer could depend on how their replacements do in 2014.
Bill might need to coach up the coaches who stayed, honestly. I’m not the only person who was puzzled by some coaching decisions during the season. The Patriots didn’t react too well to the loss of Aqib Talib in Denver two weeks ago in the 26-16 conference title game loss and in-game adjustments have always been part of the Belichick aura.
Coaches, of course, need players to coach. This team faced a consistent challenge of keeping players on the field because of injury after injury. Yes, they reached the AFC Championship game despite injuries, but would a healthier team be in New York now prepping for the Super Bowl in place of Denver. Talib is just one of several names like Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola that failed to reach the end of the season intact. Long term, do the Pats need to be wary of players who can’t stay on the field? For example, does Talib deserve a big payday if he can’t finish the AFC title game every year?
Aside from injuries, the biggest issue all season was who could Brady throw to. Not signing Wes Welker and signing Amendola instead was not a success. Julian Edelman proved himself and is now on the open market. Rookies like Aaron Dobson were either unavailable or dropping passes for most of the year. Could BB be forced to choose between Edelman and Amendola?
This rumor/gossip about Larry Fitzgerald coming here seems unlikely to happen. Will the draft bring more young receivers for Tom Brady? Again, unlikely. But, draft experts expect the same. With a very young club, I’m expecting more veteran value roster moves we’ve come to expect from the Pats.