A day after the Patriots dropped to 1-5 with a 21-17 defeat to the Raiders, Bill Belichick paraphrased his old boss when asked to describe the team’s talent level in relation to its place in the standings.
“The record is what it is,” said Belichick. “Use the Bill Parcells quote on that one.”
The crux of New England’s current issues revolve around the offense, specifically the play of quarterback Mac Jones. Speaking during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” Belichick disagreed with a question about if Jones is trying to do too much.
“I don’t think it’s too much, I think it’s just on that play, it wasn’t a good throw,” Belichick noted of Jones’s second quarter interception. Rolling to his right, the 25-year-old tried to find tight end Hunter Henry, but missed, resulting in a turnover.
“He ran out of the pocket, Hunter was open, he just didn’t make a good throw,” said the Patriots’ coach. “I think he’s more than capable of making that.”
As for how New England can turn things around, Belichick reiterated a familiar message.
“There’s no shortcut,” he said. “Just have to keep working at it.”
Generating points has become a consistent problem for the Patriots in recent years. Following Tom Brady’s departure, Belichick’s vision of how to construct a successful offense has come under increasing scrutiny.
Given the context, Belichick was asked a pointed question during the WEEI interview: “Is it time to reevaluate your offensive roster building approach in the absence of a historically great quarterback?”
“It all starts with the quarterback on offense and building around him, whoever that is,” Belichick explained. “We always have to try to put the best team together that you can, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. Obviously the results aren’t what we want, but we’re going to keep looking at it.”
Following the radio interview, Belichick spoke to reporters in a virtual press conference. The theme of high-level questions continued. NBC Sports Boston reporter Tom E. Curran asked why the Patriots have — with the exception of games against the Jets — consistently fallen behind early since a Week 12 loss to the Vikings in 2022.
“Tom, if I had the answer to that question, maybe it wouldn’t be that way,” Belichick admitted. “We’ve tried a number of different things things. We’ll keep working on it.
“But you’re right,” he added, “it’s been hard to play from behind. That’s not the way you want to play in this league or really in any competitive sport that I can think of. We have to do a better job, there’s not doubt about that.”
After the defeat against the Saints, Belichick stated that New England would be “starting over.” A week later, he was asked how he felt it’s going.
“I think we definitely did some things better than we did the last week or the week before that, but in the end still not enough,” he said.
The debut of versatile undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham — who featured on only a few snaps — drew praise from Belichick.
“Malik’s improved a lot in the course of the year both at receiver and in the kicking game, and then some of the snaps he’s played at quarterback. Didn’t really get too much of a chance to see him yesterday,” he acknowledged.
“He’s been good to work with, he’s made a lot of improvement, and we’ll see where it goes.”
One of the takeaways from the defeat in Las Vegas were the numerous penalties that the Patriots incurred (totaling 10 for 79 yards).
Belichick summed up his thoughts on the officiating.
“The calls are the calls. This crew calls a lot of penalties,” he said. “They called a lot of penalties yesterday, but that’s out of our control other than trying to do things as fundamentally as we can. Some of the penalties obviously were all our fault. False starts, things like that. Some of the other ones, we have to play good fundamental football and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Asked specifically about how he might coach players like cornerback J.C. Jackson differently on some of the controversial calls, Belichick seemed to signal his opinion of the official’s decision.
“Probably not too much,” he said
A lone humorous moment arrived when Curran concluded his questions by asking why Belichick consistently adjusts (and moves) microphones at the start of press conferences.
“So I can see you guys.”
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