The New England Patriots suffered an embarrassing loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football. After years of leaning on his coaching, Bill Belichick’s roster moves are coming back to haunt him.
On Sunday night, Bill Belichick stared across the field as his former assistant’s team was running up and down on his defense. Matt Patricia never got a ton of credit, but he turned his time with the New England Patriots into a head coaching gig. He then dropped a 26-0 whooping of the team he used to call home.
Over the last two weeks, it’s clear the Patriots are lacking seriously in the talent department. They just lost back-to-back games by more than 10 points for the first time since 2002, or the only year the Patriots missed the playoffs with Tom Brady upright.
The Patriots literally had three wide receivers dress for their Week 3 game. It wasn’t like they had a Julio Jones or A.J. Green on the field. Their top receiver was Chris Hogan, followed by Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. Seriously, those were the top receiver targets for Brady in his age-41 season.
Belichick has been making shrewd, if not questionable moves for a long time, ones that worked years ago. Now, they just deplete the roster.
Let’s take a look at the Patriots draft picks. We’ll ignore this season’s picks, even though Belichick did trade Brandin Cooks for a first-round pick that ended up getting hurt. Cooks would be really nice to have on the Patriots right now. Derek Rivers was an exciting pick last season in the third round, but just played his first game in the Pats uniform after a knee injury before last season. Antonio Garcia was a third-round pick last season, and he’s not even in the NFL right now.
Since the 2011 Draft, the only top-end players the team drafted that they didn’t trade away were Dont’a Hightower, Malcom Brown, and Trey Flowers. Think about that. In seven drafts, the Patriots have three players to show for it.
That doesn’t mean Belichick is a bad drafter. Quite the opposite actually. He just gets really good players then trades them for draft picks and lesser players. Chandler Jones led the NFL in sacks last year. Only problem is it was for the Arizona Cardinals. Jamie Collins looked like one of the most versatile linebackers in the league. Now, he’s toiling on the Cleveland Browns. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett could have been the heir apparent for Brady, but now they’re both on different teams.
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The Patriots could not stop the Detroit Lions on either side of the ball. This isn’t a team that’s fighting for a Super Bowl this season, this is a team fighting for an identity.
This is not to overreact. We do this every single September. When the team was trounced by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in 2014, Trent Dilfer declared the dynasty dead. They won the Super Bowl that year.
Same thing happened after last year’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. They won another AFC Title. However, when looking at life after Brady, Belichick did not do any favors for this team.
There have been more mistakes off the field for Belichick than positives. However, having the best quarterback and coach together on the same field can make up for that. Belichick the GM is doing no favors for Belichick the coach. Maybe he is doing this to prove some kind of point, but we knew trading away the team’s best players was going to backfire eventually. Maybe we should wait until Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman are in the lineup before we really judge, but the talent level is not where it needs to be. That’s the fault of the Patriots GM.