EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Bill Belichick was done. He had been asked 22 questions over four minutes and muttered his way through them with brief answers about how everyone on his struggling team had been told to be ready to play. He softly put his right hand down like a gavel, abruptly ending his postgame news conference. Watch the Postgame Press Conference here
The 71-year-old coach exited down a tunnel and took a right turn past the football field at MetLife Stadium, where his New England Patriots had just lost 10-7 to a backup, undrafted rookie quarterback and a New York Giants team that had been among the NFL’s worst.
Three months into a dysfunctional season, there’s no sense in ignoring the obvious. After nine losses in 11 games and with a quarterback situation that is turning this once-proud franchise into a laughingstock, Belichick is out of answers. The tricks and stunts he has pulled haven’t worked. His team hasn’t responded. His roster stinks. And his explanations for how it got this bad are even worse
“I told everybody to be ready to go,” Belichick said four different times.
All of this, of course, leads to the uncomfortable question that’s going to hover over the final six games this season. Is Belichick going to be back? Are these the final games of a brilliant career, one that’s ending with an implosion that once seemed unfathomable?
What question could be more important than that after watching the product put forth by Belichick’s team Sunday? He tried something different this week, an attempt to jump-start a feeble offense that’s dragging this team down. Belichick decided not to name a starting quarterback. He let Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe get practice reps with the starting offense, hoping one of them would be so good that a decision would be made for him.
Instead, it was yet another Belichick decision (or indecision?) that backfired for this team.
The move probably did irreversible damage to Jones, who was benched for the fourth time in 11 games this season. He seems completely broken and in need of a fresh start somewhere else. So the Patriots probably have to turn to Zappe, even though his summer was so bad that the Patriots cut him before Week 1. The second-year man has performed so poorly this season that he couldn’t even beat out Jones for the starting job Sunday.
Now, after a loss to the pitiful Giants that drops them to 2-9, the Patriots are in a place they haven’t been in decades. They might be the worst team in the NFL. And the evidence is piling up that Belichick no longer has the answers to fix it.
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