Former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan didn’t have a ton of success against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots’ mighty dynasty, but then again, who did? Ryan’s Jets did beat the Pats in the playoffs once upon a time, which is more than most can say.
It’s not really Ryan’s fault that he never had a legit franchise quarterback and had to face Tom Brady four times a year during his coaching career. Heck, he might still be a head coach if he had a competent passer to run the offense for him. Oh well. He’s on ESPN blasting hot takes all the time and we’re all better for it.
"This team sucks. … Where's the fight? Where's the energy? Where's the passion? I don't see it."
If you watch the full clip of this “Patriots suck!” segment from ESPN’s Get Up, you won’t find multi-Super Bowl champion/Patriots legendary linebacker Tedy Bruschi able to disagree much with Ryan’s colorfully articulated assessment. The only exception of demonstrated passion Bruschi cited was the hit Jabrill Peppers laid on Davante Adams early on in Sunday’s 21-17 loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas.
My bigger takeaway from this whole thing is what Bruschi said when talking about the bigger-picture view of the Patriots and Belichick’s future in New England:
.@TedyBruschi on if Bill Belichick's run in New England is ending:
"I think Bill Belichick is considering it. … I have always known Bill to only coach for meaningful wins … division championships, playoff wins, Super Bowls. … The meaningful wins are now all for him." pic.twitter.com/QUcvYzuwBL
There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not Belichick has lost his fastball, is out of touch with the modern game (particularly on offense) and might be coaching his last year in Foxborough. All valid fodder to get mileage out of. However, I’ll believe he’s no longer with the Patriots once I see it.
When you have one of the key players to Belichick’s early success with the Patriots saying things like this? And asserting that owner Robert Kraft is leaning in that direction, too? It sure adds fuel to the notion that The Hoodie is on his way out.
Rumors are flying around that Ryan might return to coaching, by the way.
No chance he lands with New England if Kraft decides to go in a different direction next season. Nevertheless, I’d love to see Ryan on an NFL sideline again, whether it’s as a defensive coordinator or a head coach. He has one of the biggest coaching personalities of my lifetime, plus the schematic chops to back it up. Give him a good OC/QB/GM combination and let him cook! Easier said than done.
Anyway, I’m all for the Pats hitting the reset button and overhauling their franchise. Belichick isn’t the same without Brady. More concerning, he can’t seem to evaluate talent on the offensive side of the ball.
If Kraft wanted to get super nuts and shake up New England to the studs, here’s my backdoor-dealing plan:
Fire Bill Belichick.
Convince Caleb Williams to pull an Eli Manning and say he’ll only play for the Patriots among teams picking near the top of the draft order.
Hand Lincoln Riley a blank check, and bring the Williams-Riley duo to Foxborough as a package deal.
That’d modernize your offense real quick! Issue among many being, I doubt Riley is leaving USC any time soon for the NFL. Not for lack of interest from the league. Just a matter of his personal preference at this juncture of his life. Whatever. I can dream.
Imagine an AFC East division with Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Aaron Rodgers and Caleb Williams squaring off for the next two-ish years (depending on how Rodgers comes back from that torn Achilles — so far so good) . HOOOOOOO. Sign me up.
PS, don’t come at me with your doomsday Caleb Williams talk and how he’s not worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Bill Belichick would take him in a heartbeat over Mac Jones, and as things stand, a top-flight QB like Williams or Drake Maye is about the only selling point that can save Belichick’s job beyond the 2023 season.