The first year of the post-Tom Brady era for the New England Patriots was a rough one as they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs. But one longtime Patriots player believes that their 2020 struggles shouldn’t reflect too much on head coach Bill Belichick.
In an interview with ESPN’s Mike Reiss, former Patriots safety Patrick Chung made it clear that Brady’s departure will not lead Belichick to bring about a culture change in New England. He said that Belichick will ensure that everyone competes for their jobs the same way they always have.
“Bill is going to make sure that culture stays the same. That’s how Bill is,” Chung said. Regardless of who’s there, who’s not there, he’s going to make sure those players are ready to go and compete.”
The Patriots were pretty clearly unprepared for Tom Brady to depart after the 2019 season. They wound up waiting until the summer to sign the quarterback who would ultimately lead them in 2020 – Cam Newton.
While Newton was good in stretches, the offense was the most anemic it’s been in decades. They scored 326 points (their fewest since 2000) and ranked 27th (their lowest ranking since 1992).
Quick-hit thoughts/notes around the Patriots and NFL (Kevin Faulk’s up-close view of Mac Jones; Patriots’ vaccination rate; important first step with Stephon Gilmore; o-line coach change; Jarrett Stidham’s PUP status; Patrick Chung on culture etc.) https://t.co/jClFT8baJE
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 25, 2021
But it’s pretty clear that Bill Belichick recognized that changes were needed across the board. The Patriots spent the next few months on a historic free agency spending spree, signing top players at numerous positions.
In the draft, they took quarterback Mac Jones No. 15 overall – the highest position for a Patriots quarterback since Drew Bledsoe.
The culture in New England may not be changing, but the way Bill Belichick builds his team certainly has.
Now all that’s left is to see how Belichick’s work plays out on the football field.
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