Here we are again, a familiar position to anybody in Patriot nation over the last two decades. Free agents leaving, questions being asked like "how could they let that guy go"? We have all been here before multiple times.
For some reason, this year feels different. This year the faith that "The Hoodie" knows exactly what he is doing seems a little less unconditional.
It is certainly fair and understandable why coach Belichick is being questioned this off-season. The multiple reports of at least some form of discourse between ownership, the coach, and star quarterback lends itself to that.
Throw in the fact that the team was outcoached in the Super Bowl (we won’t even get into the decision of why Malcolm butler didn’t play.) There just does not seem to be as much blind faith as there has been in the past.
I for one, am of the opinion, that next year will be the first year we start to see the regression of this franchise. Now that statement alone has to be kept in perspective. Regression for the greatest franchise the last two decades isn't like they’re going to win only five games. It’s just definitely has a feel like the players are starting to lose interest in the Belichick way.
Losing Danny Amendola hurts. This is one of Tom Brady‘s closest friends in real life as we have come to understand. He’s clearly one of the most clutch playoff receivers this franchise has seen.. But the argument of “take less money so you can have a chance to win" didn’t work on him anymore. Nor should it have.
He’s on his last extended contract and deserves to get paid. I thank him for everything, wish him the best, and know for a fact not only will he be missed on the field, but in that locker room. It also now opens up questions at wide receiver. Julian Edelman is coming off of major knee surgery and is a year older, Gronk is obviously injured every other day, and now our soon to be 41-year-old quarterback is losing security blankets by the minute.
Speaking of that, say goodbye to Nate Solder. Another head scratcher. Here’s a guy who is up as the team representative for Man of the Year, extremely popular in the locker room, and responsible for protecting the blind side of Tom Brady. Also, nobody of note behind him in the rotation, and yet he’s allowed to walk.
I can’t pretend that I know the intimate details of any contract negotiations. Were the Patriots even close? I have no idea. Where they going to pay as much is the Giants? Absolutely not, but you have to think if they were at least in the neighborhood, he would’ve considered staying in his comfort zone with the team that is not rebuilding.
So now, while Brady is trying to get used to different options on offense and how to distribute the ball, he will also have the back of his head that he might be getting killed from behind him because the left tackle doesn’t know what he’s doing as well as the one before.
Then there is Dion Lewis. Proven winner, ridiculously clutch, picked up the slack when everyone else failed multiple times. Out of all of the running backs in the group, was he really the one that was the most expendable? Yet another comfortable safety valve that Tom Brady has no longer.
As for Butler, it actually doesn’t bother me very much. I was down on him after the Super Bowl against Atlanta. Thought he digressed that season. Didn’t want to pay have a ton of money. And obviously the way things went in this year‘s Super Bowl he wasn’t in their future. Don’t know why, don’t need to know why, thanks for the win against Seattle, good luck in your career.
So this year as I mentioned, it’s not so much about who’s coming and who’s going, it’s about what seems to be a definite shift in attitude. There is definitely an aroma of getting tired of coach Belichick in the air. Throw in the wrinkle of his successor sitting and waiting over his shoulder and It is not make believe.
There is definitely a disconnect, and it’s between the head coach and the quarterback which means it will trickle into the locker room- in fact it seems it already has. I would love nothing more than to be wrong, but I but I feel like this upcoming season is when things will really unravel.
Patriot Nation has been getting away with it so good for so long, I feel like this might be beginning of the end of at least the total dominance.