When you look this bad in consecutive weeks, there’s a festering problem that goes beyond just the players. There’s also something wrong on the New England Patriots’ coaching staff.
And it begins and ends with the man at the helm of the football operation.
Bill Belichick suffered the worst loss of his career last week against the Dallas Cowboys, based on the 35-point margin of victory. But this was worse. A 34-0 shutout at the hands of the decent-at-best New Orleans Saints, in which Derek Carr and the offense connected for big plays and finished touchdown drives in the red zone, and the Patriots offense bottomed out.
This game was always going to be sneaky-challenging. Carr isn’t terrible, and the Saints have a handful of legitimate playmakers on both sides of the ball. But for the Patriots to not even be competitive in this game, on their home turf, against a team that’s less than a top contender (like the Cowboys or Eagles), was inexcusable. And it’s impossible to excuse Belichick.
“Plain and simply, we’ve got to find a way to play and coach better than that,” Belichick said after the game. “So that’s what we are going to do, start all over and get back on a better track than we’re on right now.”
The Patriots’ players are certainly not playing well, especially on offense. But at what point do we stop wringing our hands over them and look at the guy tasked with putting them in position to succeed? Because Belichick and his staff aren’t doing that right now.