Curran: Belichick oddly optimistic after another poor Pats performance

Curran: Belichick oddly optimistic after another poor Pats performance

Bill Belichick was never a tireless optimist.

Of course, there were times when he tried to live on the sunny side of the street. Or even entire seasons.

Like 2020, the first AB year (after Brady). The roster was weak, the Patriots had cap issues, and COVID demanded a level of shredding from leaders in every industry.

Generally, however, Belichick sniffs at excuses and prefers pessimism. He didn’t earn the nickname “Doom” 40 years ago because of his cheerful disposition.

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So his, “Gee, we almost got them!” the outlook after the Patriots’ 20-7 loss to Miami was funny. So did his comment at halftime – relayed by CBS during the telecast – that it was really just two bad plays that took the Patriots 17-0.

Disappointed, of course. Are you still going to the Dairy Queen??? YOU BET!!

‘It wasn’t that bad’ Bill showed up after the Patriots’ final preseason game. After a botched outing against the Raiders, Belichick joked that his team must have left their good work “on the training ground” in the two days leading up to the game. Unaware of this one of these days, the team behaved atrociously.

He’s spent an inordinate amount of time this summer preaching patience and being less “do your job” and more “blame me if the guys don’t look so good…”

The reality is that the Patriots were not two games away from being tied with Miami. The slip-ups weren’t random blunders that came out of nowhere.

Both plays in question — a six-cushion touchdown and a 42-yard oblique fourth down — were climactic plays.

The mental vacation on the offensive line that led to the strip sack almost immediately followed an uncontested sack that came due to other mental vacations on the same side of the line offense.

The same offensive line plagued by miscommunications and breakdowns throughout training camp and preseason. The same offensive line that’s had four different coaches since 2020. The same offensive line booked by two tackles that aren’t the most consistent with a rookie guard diving down the left. The same offensive line currently co-coached by Matt Patricia, who’s also way too spread out for a guy who’s also a freshman point guard.

Honestly, who could have seen an offensive line break in Game 1???

The other big-play touchdown was a 42-yard rush thrown to Jaylen Waddle on a fourth down just before halftime. He capped a 92-yard drive penned by the still not-so-impressive Tua Tagovailoa that included conversions after a third-and-7, first-and-15 and third-and-19.

It’s not like Miami took that game off their backside. They were – at the time – moving it pretty well.

The upshot of all of this is that the Patriots aren’t a hair’s breadth away as David Andrews said after the game.

“We fought. I thought we handled the ball well. Obviously they did some things to counter that, some of the pressure, but I thought we handled the ball well, but we fought. Three, four turnovers, one strip I think there were a lot of positives. Some parts of me are encouraged. Some parts of me are — you know, let’s slide.”

The Patriots didn’t give the game away. Miami took it by exploiting things they knew New England might struggle with, making big plays in the end zone on the Patriots’ first practice and just before halftime and waiting for that the Patriots spoil what they did with two instant pre-penalty fourth downs.

Want an example of a game where you could say, “That was just a bad game…?” Last year’s opener against Miami when Damien Harris fumbled at Miami 9 with 3:18 left and New England at 17-16.

It was a game that was even safe for this game. This one was not. There were a lot of missteps. And for a team whose margin of error is going to be very small at the start of the season, the encroachment of fourth downs, too many men on the field and blatantly missed blocking assignments will not result in narrow losses. but quite important. those.

Especially if Belichick is going to add to his team’s degree of difficulty by benching his most dynamic offensive player.

Either everyone doesn’t know what he’s looking at and Bourne really stinks, or Belichick doesn’t know what he’s looking at and doesn’t realize Bourne is good.

Kendrick Bourne last year was a godsend. He had 55 catches for 800 yards, but now he can’t force his way down the field? Are the Patriots loaded offensively?

If a guy steps aside with the coaching staff, I guess there’s an explanation. But Belichick says it’s not disciplinary so let’s take it at his word.

So that means the only guy who could deliver an explosive game last year and the only guy who delivered one on opening day were only worthy of two shots. Oh good?

Either everyone doesn’t know what he’s looking at and Bourne really stinks, or Belichick doesn’t know what he’s looking at and doesn’t realize Bourne is good.

We know it’s neither. So there must be another reason for sitting Bourne that is “in the best interest of the football team”. In the same way – on a bigger stage – it was better for Malcolm Butler to watch this Super Bowl against the Eagles.

This is another reason why everyone always gets Dairy Queen after the game. Belichick knows he is making life difficult for his team with unconventional decisions like changing the attack, returning his tackles, having no real replacement for Josh McDaniels, etc., etc.

So he asks for patience as the team negotiates these goofy decisions.

And he’ll probably have to ask for even more now that Mac Jones – who threw a fleet of floaters into Dolphin team meetings and had a pedestrian performance – ended up getting crushed in an earlier issue.

Mac is the chief optimist. Now, if he’s injured or unavailable, the Patriots run the real risk of staggering out of the gate 0-2 with a game next week in Pittsburgh.

Which might. And jeopardize the Dairy Queen trip.

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