It’s time for Patriots owner Robert Kraft to treat Bill Belichick the way Belichick treats his players

For years, arguably decades, Bill Belichick’s guiding New England Patriots spirit has been impenetrable: We do the best for the team.

With Do your jobThis principle has been espoused by nearly every decision that has come into defining the franchise. He embraces it at employee training meetings. He repeats it in corporate speaking engagements. He repeats it so often in press conferences that clips of him saying some version of the ideology can be found in nearly every year of the Patriot era.

If anyone doubts his devotion to it, they need only look inside the roll call of Belichick’s lists throughout history—a draining march that shows his priority of cold calculus over sentimentality or blind loyalty.

Start Tom Brady with Drew Bledsoe? Do what’s best for the team.

Pro Bowl Safety Lawyer Milloy was released just days before the start of the 2003 season? Do what’s best for the team.

Spent decades trading, laying off or moving away from key players who were aging or threatening salary cap pressures? Do what’s best for the team.

The future of the team is important. When it came to a tough business decision, there weren’t many dynasty-building names: Milloy, Ty Law, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel, Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, Logan Mankins, Jamie Collins, Stephon Gilmore. ..and many more. In the end, long-term success or failure will not be bet on one man. And for decades, Belichick has been right.

Then came Matt Patricia and the 2022 season. The moment when Belichick’s incorruptible credo of “what’s best for the team” strikes with its own arrogance.

Somewhere at the intersection of failing to devise a plan for Josh McDaniels’ departure as offensive coordinator and overestimating his ability to consistently nail a square peg in the round hole, Belichick violated his credo. He failed to do better for the team, choosing daring over logic and a coach friend over a much-needed young quarterback. Prioritize trust and familiarity with the necessity of building the list.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft should take note. His team is approaching the offseason so it’s time to start treating Belichick the way Belichick has treated his players for decades. This is where the trainer’s manual should be on the owner’s lips.

Do your job. Do what’s best for the team.

At this moment, Kraft should be Belichick. Unemotional. account. move it. With no lines of credit for what has been done in the past. Instead of reapplying grace in the face of a Belichick who makes a mistake, choose strength instead. He came up with a ruthless mandate rather than a form of diplomacy.

It’s time for Patriots owner Robert Kraft to post Bill Belichick’s own logo in favor of the franchise. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

In short: He told Belichick that Patricia should be stripped of her offensive playing duties and the head coach should find a tested offensive coordinator to take over the scheme and mentor Mac Jones. Because what’s happening this season goes from unacceptable to misbehaving.

New England’s offensive trajectory looks similar to what the New York Giants did to Daniel Jones – taking a promising start and systematically destroying his ability to properly develop as a quarterback. It’s a huge mistake that irreparably damaged Daniel Jones’ chance to be the team’s answer at quarterback and helped put the franchise on a multi-year downward spiral that is only now slowing under head coach Brian Dabol. Now Patriots fans stare at Mack Jones the same way Giants fans did at Daniel Jones in seasons two and three, wondering if the early success is nothing more than a mirage.

They may not be alone either. Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown made headlines this week when his Instagram account “liked” a post suggesting the franchise should seek a Brady return or Jimmy Garoppolo. While there’s no way to tell if it was the Browns or someone managing his account who clicked that button, the fact remains that this is a non-Patriot-like drama that unfolds between an offensive tackle and the quarterback who pays him to protect him. . It’s not cool, no matter how you handle it.

That’s the kind of drama this Patricia experience invites, from dalliance with Billy Zabby to disjointed play, to Jones having emotional outbursts over a game plan that shows minimal confidence in him. None of that will be an issue in 2021, when McDaniels has run the offense. The same McDaniels who walked off the court in Las Vegas on Sunday with an improbable win would have gone into overtime if Patricia had taken a knee at the end of regulation. Instead, Patricia ordered a running play that made it possible for an imperceptible set of decisions to be made by two players who shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.

No, that doesn’t entirely blame Patricia for the Raiders’ loss. But when reviewing the game, he definitely made a lot of questionable decisions that were eventually forgotten. And the fact remains: If you don’t have the confidence to have Jones cast a Hail Mary to finish regulation and assume the running play will end with a simple tackle, why not just take a knee and eliminate any possibility of some mental error? This is the job of the veteran play caller, to enhance the probability of success while simultaneously eliminating as many errors as possible.

Patricia did not. And in the aftermath, the Patriots lost a game threatening to bounce back from the postseason for the second time in three years.

That kind of bottom line, with the Patriots sitting at home again during the postseason, should be on Kraft’s mind. Nobody should forget that this past March at the NFL’s largest annual owners’ meeting, Kraft made an unprecedented point to put pressure on Belichick moving forward. He was upset that New England quickly fell off the league map as a competitor after Brady’s departure. And he was angry that the Patriots hadn’t won a playoff game since Super Bowl LIII, after the 2018 season.

“I think about it a lot,” Kraft said.

And that’s why he has to do something he’s resisted for decades: get into Belichick’s kitchen when it comes to coaching staff decisions and make it clear that Patricia has no future on the team as a play-caller. This may sound like the owner is crossing the line, but the fact remains that it happens all the time in the NFL at other franchises. Especially when the coach makes ego-driven decisions that hurt the team.

In this case with Patricia, it clearly happened. Now Kraft has to take it upon himself to take a page from Belichick and think team first. There is no room for nostalgia for past glory or what was going on when Tom Brady was still in the barn. For this franchise to move forward, it must move forward.

Treating Belichick the way he has always treated his players would be a good start for the ownership.

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