There have been plenty of people questioning whether or not Bill Belichick still has “it”. With the Patriots sitting at 2-8, it’s very likely that this year’s New England team finishes with the worst record in the Belichick era, and it’s led to questions surrounding his future with the club.
Despite the lousy season in Foxborough, Belichick still has his defenders. And No. 1 on that list is the greatest Patriot of all time.
Tom Brady was on The Stephen A. Smith Show on Monday, and the ESPN personality asked the seven-time Super Bowl champion about his thoughts on Belichick and the Patriots’ 2023 campaign. The future Hall of Famer did not hold back his praise of his former coach, and admitted that it would be “hard” to think about Belichick not with the Patriots organization.
“I think he’s an incredible coach,” Brady said. “He’s the best coach, in my belief, in the history of the game.
“The thought of him not being in New England is hard for me to think about.”
The Belichick-Patriots potential break-up has been a hot topic all year. There were questions heading into the season given the head coach’s contract status with the team, but those rumors got wiped away when it was reported in October that he and the club had come to a “long-term, lucrative” extension. At the time, the Pats were 1-5, coming off blowout losses to the Cowboys and Saints.
Things have only gotten worse since then. Despite beating the Bills the week after the extension was reported, the Patriots have proceeded to drop three games in a row, falling to 2-8.
While the results on the field have been vastly different than the dominance football fans saw for two decades with Brady, the future Hall of Famer does not believe that Belichick is coaching any differently now than he did back then.
“I don’t think he’s probably coaching much different now than when we were undefeated in 2007,” Brady said. “I’m sure he’s preparing the team the same way. The results are different, but again, that’s why the sport is so challenging. There’s a lot of reasons why teams win or lose.
“I think he’s prepared the team really well. Ultimately, you got to have a lot of people around you to succeed. You got to have a lot of things in place for the organization to be successful.”
While the Belichick discourse has been noisy, the quarterback conversation has been even louder. Mac Jones had not improved as expected, despite a new offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien this season. The third-year signal caller out of Alabama has continued his struggles with turnovers, and was benched for the third time this season in the Week 10 loss to the Colts.
POWER RANKINGS: Where Patriots stand entering Week 12
As the Pats get set for a Week 12 game against the Giants, Jones’ job is certainly at risk. Belichick has remained non-committal on naming a starter for Sunday, with Jones, Bailey Zappe and Will Grier all available as options.
“The head coach is a very small part on game day,” Brady said. “The quarterback plays a really big part on game day. Not the entire thing, but because you touch the ball, you have a big opportunity to impact the game.”
The Patriots find themselves in a position that they never were in with Brady — looking at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Only the Cardinals (2-9) and Panthers (1-9) hold worse records than Belichick’s crew entering Week 12.
Will Belichick still be with the team when the time comes to make a selection? If Brady had a say in the matter, there would be no changing of the guard just yet in New England.