It feels like we’ve talked about this for multiple years now, but the 2023 season does feel like it could be the last year for Bill Belichick. I do appreciate the team making a noticeable effort to try to fix the issues that plagued them last year.
They went and replaced Matt Patricia with Bill O’Brien, which was a great move. They also improved the offensive skill players. Mike Gesicki, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Robinson are solid additions that should make life easier for Mac Jones.
The front office also added the needed pieces on defense that were lacking. Christian Gonzalez was a stellar pick and Keion White will be added to an EDGE room that could quietly turn thin next year. All in all, their offseason was one of improvement, but while the Patriots just upgraded to a brand new Honda Accord, the rest of the AFC upgraded to a Cadillac Escalade, and that’s the issue.
The Miami Dolphins added a future Hall of Fame cornerback in Jalen Ramsey and the best defensive mind in football in Vic Fangio. The New York Jets added the most talented QB to ever touch a football in Aaron Rodgers. The Denver Broncos added one of the best offensive coaches of this generation in Sean Payton.
The issue I see happening is the Patriots are going to field a competent team in 2023, but they’ll be drowned out by other AFC teams who are irrationally loaded with elite talent and excellent coaching. What I see happening in 2023 is the Patriots being competitive in most of their matchups, only to fall short because they lack that “oomph” that other teams in the AFC have.
This could create another disappointing season in which the Patriots win enough to remain in playoff contention but ultimately fall short of clinching a spot. If the Pats do miss the playoffs for a second straight season, the team couldn’t continue with Bill Belichick as the head coach. That simply couldn’t happen.
He is the greatest coach in NFL history, but it’s clear that these last few years have been quite average. Don’t be surprised if this end up being his last hear as head coach.