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'Bill Belichick F***** Us!' Patriots Dysfunction Between Coaches & Players Revealed in Expose

A detailed report from the Boston Herald chronicles both tension and confusion in one of the Patriots most dismal offensive seasons in recent memory.

FOXBORO - “I love coach (Bill Belichick), but he f—ed us.”

"Dysfunction.'' "Icy relationships.'' "Profanity-laced outbursts.''

New England Patriots boss Belichick and his new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and a first order of business may be to rebuild the X's-and-O's of an offense which lay in ruins after a dismal showing in 2022.  However, there is seemingly a just-as-intense duty to repair what was apparently a fractured locker room — especially when it came to the players on offense. 

According to a Thursday morning report from the Boston Herald, the relationship between offensive coaches may have been even more dysfunctional than conjectured throughout the 2022 NFL season. 

While there is an extensive list of reasons for the observable disconnect, the report identified the culprit as Belichick’s decision to install both Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as the stewards if New England’s offense in 2022.  

The results were substandard, to say the least.

The Pats ended the regular season 7th-worst in total yards (5,348), while being ranked 22nd in points per game (18.1), and 26th in yards (314.6).  

Though individual player regression was a factor for the decline, the Herald’s sources made it clear that the Patriots problems stemmed from an insufficiently-planned migration away from the offensive style of Josh McDaniels, which had been marginally successful for New England in 2021. 

The base offense the Patriots drilled last spring and summer barely resembled the system Belichick had overseen for 23 years. Under Patricia and Judge, the Pats began to meld a reduced version of the playbook former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left behind with parts of Sean McVay’s Rams scheme. The Patriots intended to emphasize the outside zone runs already present in their playbook and install play-action passes from McVay’s offense, among other motions and formations.”

Whereas the McVay scheme (which is an offshoot of the run-based system deployed by San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan) has become quite popular throughout the league, the concept families in New England — largely in part due to poor implementation during training camp. 

“One source described a typical training camp practice under [Josh] McDaniels involving the installation of 25 pages worth of fresh run plays, another 25 of passing plays and upwards of 40 pages for the offensive line learning protection schemes.”

Under Patricia and Judge? Those numbers were cut by roughly half.”

As the difficulties became more evident during the preseason, the Patriots eventually decided to turn their attention away from their original intentions, in hopes of streamlining the learning process. 

Without a proper contingency plan in place, the attempted simplification only led to more questions. Much to the surprise of those within the organization, the lack of answers from Patricia, Judge and even Belichick was a bit unsettling. 

“A lot of guys would ask, ‘Well, what’s going to happen if (the defense) does this?’ And you would see they hadn’t really accounted for that yet,” one source said (as transcribed by the Herald). “And they’d say, ‘We’ll get to that when we get to that.’ 

“That type of attitude got us in trouble,” the source concluded. 

Notwithstanding the effect the friction had on all Patriots personnel, none apparently bore the brunt of it more than quarterback Mac Jones. 

Despite entering the season on the heels of an impressive rookie campaign, quarterback Mac Jones struggled to rekindle his previous success in 2022. The 24-year-old displayed notable discomfort in New England's new offensive system throughout the season. At times, the disconnect between the players and the coaching staff was so overt that Jones was observed hurling expletive-laden frustrations, believed to be in the direction of his coaches.

With inadequate protection from the team’s offensive line, Jones has had insufficient time to operate. As a result, he has had little-to-no choice but to take short-yardage check downs, especially with the Pats opponents’ perimeter corners taking away his preferred routes and targets.

Unsurprisingly, Jones ranked in the bottom 10 of NFL quarterbacks in terms of completion percentage and positive plays when pressured. 

Ultimately, he finished the season with 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions — numbers which may believe should have been higher, had there been an established line of clear communication between coaches and quarterback. 

Per the Herald, this was especially true of the icy relationship of Jones and Judge: 

As Patricia came under outside fire as the face of the offense, Judge drew increasing criticism from within. Belichick would blast him in practice, and it wasn’t uncommon for Judge and Jones to trade profanity-laced outbursts. Jones’ trust in his position coach was effectively non-existent.

“Mac didn’t like him,” one source said. “At all.”

“He (Judge) would speak extra loudly in meetings, trying to project like he was the guy,” another source said. “And I think that kind of rubbed people the wrong way.”“A lot of people were frustrated with (Judge),” a third added.”

Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of the Herald’s report points is that the accusatory finger is pointed at Belichick a bit more than most have seen in the past. 

For a coach who is revered for paying the closest attention to detail to the most intricate of levels, the lack of foresight exhibited in his installation of Patricia and Judge into roles for which they were ultimately unfit was … in a manner of speaking — un-Belichickian. Additionally, the coach came under fire for inadequately regulating a Patricia-crafted game plan, which overworked wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and running back Rhamondre Stevenson through the end of the season. 

As such Belichick has to bear some responsibility for the failure. 

“It’s always been about winning and doing what’s best for the team. I really believe (Belichick) when he says that,” one Herald source said. “I just think he really didn’t understand how hard it was going to be.”

Or, in the words of that aforementioned Herald source: “I love coach (Belichick), but he f—ed us.”

As such, the reconstruction process begins with the hiring of O’Brien. Having served under coach Bill Belichick from 2007-11, O’Brien helped navigate a Patriots offense, which featured ball protection, efficient running and spreading the ball to multiple pass catchers.

Most importantly, O’Brien will provide Jones with two things for which he futilely clamored in 2022 — tough coaching and familiarity. With the pair having briefly worked together at the beginning (O’Brien) and ending (Jones) of their tenures at Alabama, the pair should — at the very least — have a more facilitated line of communication.  

In the aftermath of O’Brien’s hiring, Jones expressed that he “is looking forward to working with coach O’Brien,” and that it will be “nice to start a new working relationship with someone that you already have had the opportunity to work with.”

The time has come to fix the Patriots offense. 

In the process, they may help to heal the now ailing ‘Patriot Way.’

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL and Listen/Subscribe to his daily podcast: Locked On Patriots

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