FOXBORO — With the start of the 2022 NFL season just over two months away, all 32 teams are looking to make their mark across the league’s landscape. Having already assembled the majority of their respective 90-man rosters, the process for teams’ determining which players will be chosen to represent each franchise for the upcoming season is about to begin; as training camps are set to open in late July.
Though the players on the field ultimately make or break the plays, they are most often put in the position to either succeed or fail by their head coach. Strategies, schemes and decisions can sometimes be the difference between victory and defeat. Unsurprisingly, teams with the right coach for the job are almost always the most successful.
In an effort to evaluate which of the NFL’s 32 teams are best positioned for coaching success, CBS Sports submitted their pre-season rankings for each of the league’s head coaches. Their assessment was divided into four tiers and each coach was ranked from worst to first based on how they would "draft" them for this season. CBS based their evaluation on the criteria of both trust, and positioning for success.
For the New England Patriots, it should come as no surprise that coach Bill Belichick continues to rank among the elite coaches in the league, ranking third on their list.
CBS Sports’ Assessment on Belichick:
3. Bill Belichick (Patriots)
Season: 23rd with Patriots, 28th as HC
Career record: 290-143 (.670) | Playoffs: 31-13 (6-3 in Super Bowls) Blasphemy, right?
Look, BB is a clear-cut No. 1 if we're ranking based on all-time achievements. Six rings and 20 winning seasons in 22 years with the Patriots is absolutely nuts. But we'd be lying if we said we didn't prefer the offensive upside of a few counterparts in today's NFL. Belichick at least had New England back in the playoff conversation in 2021, proving Tom Brady wasn't the only reason for his dynasty. As long as he's on the sidelines, the Pats will be stingy and disciplined. He's now gone three years without a playoff win, however, and is seemingly banking on young QB Mac Jones working through his running backs and tight ends to take a leap forward. You can't replicate Belichick's aura, preparation and career resume, but it's not outlandish to suggest his formula isn't ideal for this moment, when speed, star QBs and big plays run the show.
For much of the season, Belichick earned a great deal of praise for helping to resurrect a rebuilt Patriots team in the AFC standings. With a reimagined roster, New England went 10-7 and returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence. After starting the season at 3-5, New England won seven straight, temporarily securing the top spots in both the Conference and the AFC East Division.
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Belichick and the Patriots embraced an ‘uncharacteristic aggression’ in their attempt to improve their club. New England’s notable free agent signings included linebacker Matthew Judon (who set a career high in sacks with 12.5), wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith,nose tackle Davon Godchaux and cornerback Jalen Mills. The Patriots head coach/general manager also helped to engineer what might be one of the most impressive and productive draft classes in team history. Quarterback Mac Jones, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins have the chance to become franchise cornerstones for many years to come. Both Jones and Barmore were selected to PFWA All-Rookie selections.
2021 marked the 19th time under Belichick in which the Patriots made the playoffs. Though he turned 70 in April, the Pats ‘man-in-charge’ does not appear to be slowing down. With the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as well as a host of key offensive assistants, Belichick will be presiding over a staff of familiar faces with new roles. Ultimately, however, staff duties and responsibilities will stop at his desk. While the performance of his players on the field will decide the team’s success, Belichick’s experience and prowess may be the reason why New England might surprise many in 2022.