FOXBOROUGH – When I wrote an off-season profile for Alex Cora, the manager of the Boston Red Sox, back in February, it got me super excited for the season to start. Now here we are again with an off-season profile for the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick and the coaching staff, the final profile of this long off-season. Football is right around the corner, baby!
And, of all the sports profiles I've done, this one is the biggest lock of the season. Tom Brady will continue to defy science and logic. Sony Michel will continue to improve. Stephon Gilmore and the secondary are the league's best defensive unit. But the guarantee that I feel the most confident in making is that Bill Belichick will continue to be one of the greatest coaches in sports history.
Without Belichick at the helm, none of the success of the recent seasons would have been possible. I think the Patriots have flourished in the era of Belichick's classic system during a time when most teams are trying to "revolutionize" the game, leaving most elite players scrambling to catch up. When it comes to the Patriots, though, the coaching objective is always to minimize mistakes and exploit the weaknesses of the opponent. Unless they are desperate, the Patriots do not do anything fancy or tricky. It may sound cliché, but they play to win the game.
In hindsight, Belichick should probably be named Coach of the Year every single season, so there is not much to say about him that has not already been said. He is one of the best to ever do it.
The other coaches are more interesting to me. The Patriots have not had a clear defensive coordinator since Matt Patricia departed the team, but Brian Flores basically served that role last year, leading to one of the best Patriots defenses we've ever seen. Flores is now coaching the Miami Dolphins, leaving the defense a bit in question. Belichick will probably continue to hold most of the reins in leading the defense, but Steve Belichick, Bill's son, has been the safeties coach since 2016 and is due for a much more impactful role in the coaching realm. Also worth keeping an eye on is Jerod Mayo, the former Patriots linebacker great who now coaches the inside linebackers.
Additionally, the Patriots have two potential Hall of Fame coaches helming the offensive unit. Josh McDaniels is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and he is coming into his second season since spurning the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job. I am particularly excited to learn what schemes McDaniels has come up with his old receiving partner, Demaryius Thomas, as well as an offensive set that will probably focus more on the rushing game with Michel and James White as pass-catching backs, as well. A Rob Gronkowski-less offense will be curious for McDaniels to navigate.
Dante Scarnecchia is also probably the greatest offensive line coach of all-time and even though it bites to lose David Andrews for an indeterminate amount of time, I believe Scar will keep the line as high-performing as they were last season.
There are a few question marks for the Patriots this season, but the coaches are not one of them.
Image via Wikimedia Commons