Tedy Bruschi details Bill Belichick's 'biggest mistake' with 2022 Patriots
Tedy Bruschi details Belichick's 'biggest mistake' with 2022 Pats originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it. So, while the New England Patriots need to move on from a disappointing 2022 season, it's also worth identifying what went wrong so they can avoid making the same mistakes in 2023.
Tedy Bruschi has no problem pointing out where things went sideways for New England -- specifically where head coach Bill Belichick erred. The former Patriots linebacker cited Belichick's decision to install Matt Patricia as the team's de facto offensive coordinator and Joe Judge as its quarterbacks coach as a primary reason for New England's struggles, explaining that Belichick may have miscalculated how his players would adapt to those changes.
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"I think that the biggest mistake that Bill made was this: He overestimated his players' ability to handle that type of change. That’s what I think the problem was," Bruschi said Monday on ESPN's "Get Up!"
"Because when they’re looking around and they don’t know who the offensive coordinator is, they see Judge, they see Patricia, they see confusion. They didn’t have anybody in there to say, 'Hey, fellas, stop. This is the way it’s going to be. Let’s all get on the same page,' from a player perspective. That’s what they didn’t have and Bill overestimated his players to do that."
For the better part of 20 years, Belichick could count on Tom Brady to be the voice of reason in the locker room and hold players accountable amid changes on the coaching staff. When Brady left in March 2020, it created a massive leadership void that Mac Jones has yet to fill, as evidenced by Jones wearing his frustrations on his sleeve last season.
"I can understand the frustration by Mac Jones," Bruschi said. "We all got on them about his antics and the way -- his body language and the way that he was constantly complaining. But when you don’t know -- I can only imagine when I’m a linebacker and I’m looking for a call, and I’m not sure who to go to and there’s miscommunication and there’s confusion -- it’s going to happen.
"I don’t think they were strong enough from a leadership perspective on the offensive side of the ball to deal with this type of coaching change."
Belichick and the Patriots course-corrected quickly this offseason by installing an experienced offensive coordinator in Bill O'Brien, who has a history with Jones and at least should command the young quarterback's respect. Going from Patricia to O'Brien should help the Patriots be more organized and effective on offense after ranking 26th in total yards last season en route to an 8-9 record.
Still, it's eye-opening to see Belichick make such a miscalculation that essentially resulted in a lost 2022 campaign.