Sunday 7: Patriots' offseason is all about 'In Bill we trust'

Ryan Hannable
January 12, 2020 - 6:00 am
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1. For years the saying in New England has been, “In Bill we trust.” Well, this offseason it holds true perhaps more than any other time in the Bill Belichick era. This is a huge offseason for the Patriots, and obviously it starts with Tom Brady. Belichick will of course be heavily involved in the discussion as to what the Patriots do with him and no matter what happens, he will be forced to deal with the ramifications -- whether that is making the decision to ultimately move on and finding his replacement, or if he returns, how the deal is structured as well as managing the salary cap implications. After all, the team has plenty of areas that need to be addressed beyond quarterback. It also is not just Brady when it comes to big decisions. There’s a chance it is another offseason of a few coaches leaving the organization (it’s already started with Joe Judge) and Belichick will need to be trusted to hire the right people to fill the void(s). Where the trust comes in is there aren’t any internal options to be promoted, so Belichick will likely need to bring in brand new people to the staff. Besides Judge, there’s the potential for Josh McDaniels (Browns), Dante Scarnecchia (retire) and Ivan Fears (retire) to no longer be on the staff in 2020. And then there’s always roster decisions and which free agents to keep and then with the ones that are not retained, how are those replaced? This is a huge offseason for Belichick.

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2. Speaking of Brady, the quarterback confirmed to Jim Gray on Westwood One Radio Saturday his desire to play in 2020. “Yeah, absolutely. That is my plan,” he said. “Every year that goes by I just feel grateful to still be doing what I really love to do. I have been so blessed to find a career I love with the best teammates of go to battle with me, an incredible organization that I said believes in me and the best fans in the country who have always been behind us. I really love football and hopefully I can continue to do what I really love to do.” There isn’t really anything different there from what he said after the game at his press conference and then with Peter King, but given the nature of his situation, it’s likely these words will be dissected this week. 

3. Looking back at the Patriots’ season, it really ended with the Week 17 loss to the Dolphins. The game was treated like a playoff game inside the building, but yet the team suffered arguably its worst regular-season loss in the Belichick era. It was almost like at that point the team realized it was not good enough to advance far in the postseason, heck even win a game. There was an odd vibe in the locker room the week leading up to the Titans game and it of course ended with the season coming to an end.

4. Now that the Patriots’ season is in the books, part of the offseason is the draft and when starting to look at how things look for New England one thing that stands out is the lack of a second-round pick. This of course went to Atlanta in exchange for Mohamed Sanu, which did not go according to plan. The Patriots will select No. 23 overall and then not have another selection until Round 3, where they likely will have three in total with compensatory picks.

5. When it comes to the next Patriots’ wide receivers coach, keep an eye on former Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who was fired this week. He’s the son of Al Groh, who coached with Belichick in Cleveland. In addition, Matt Groh, who is also Al’s son, is one of the top scouts within the Patriots’ organization. While Mike was the Eagles’ OC the last few years, he’s had plenty of experience as a wide receivers coach with Bears, Rams and Eagles during his career.

6. While the Titans are a cool story advancing to the AFC title game, they are likely the last team the NFL and the networks want to advance to the Super Bowl. They do not have the star players that can be discussed for two weeks leading up to the game. Lamar Jackson obviously would have been the favorite for the networks, but Patrick Mahomes is a close second. The league and the networks will be Chiefs fans the next two weeks.

7. There really isn’t much on the football calendar involving the Patriots for quite some time. The next big thing is the NFL combine, and that isn’t until the last week of February. This is unchartered territory for New England, as it isn’t used to having this much time off in January. The next order of business for the team is likely to figure out its coaching staff in terms of who is coming back and then figuring out replacements for those are are not.

Related: Tom Brady explains why he's not rushing towards making decision on future