New England Patriots

New England Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during the second half of the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Welcome to the Week 14 edition of the 98.5 The Sports Hub New England Patriots Mailbag! With the Patriots on a short week – they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday – we’re doing the mailbag a little earlier this week.

Typically during a short week, coaching is a major focus. How well can the staff get the team prepared with less time than usual.


READ MORE:

Top quarterback prospect opts out of bowl game
Bill Belichick answers a big question about the Patriots’ 2023 draft class
Why the Patriots’ quarterback change came this week


Based on the questions for the mailbag this week, coaching is in fact a focus this week. But with the team at 2-10, there’s more attention being paid to the future of the staff than how the current staff is getting the team ready for this game.

With those questions and more, let’s get started with this week’s Mailbag…

  • Kamal Hourani on Twitter: "Have you seen enough from BOB that you would like to see him stay on for another year with hopefully a better offensive roster? / Twitter"

    Have you seen enough from BOB that you would like to see him stay on for another year with hopefully a better offensive roster?

    It depends what happens with the head coaching job. If Bill Belichick stays it feels like Bill O’Brien likely would, but it’s hard to say the offensive performance this year has justified that.

    If the Patriots replace Belichick with a less experienced defensive head coach – likely Jerod Mayo – then it makes more sense to keep O’Brien on as an experienced offensive mind. That’s the kind of OC the Patriots will need with a younger defensive coach and those kinds of coaches often aren’t available – Josh McDaniels is the only other name that comes to mind. Let’s say the Patriots go completely outside the organization and bring in an offensive minded head coach – guys like Ben JohnsonEric Bieniemy, or Bobby Slowik – then it’s hard to see what O’Brien’s role would be.

  • Mac Jones Tank Commander on Twitter: "If the attendance decreases drastically due to the bad product on the field could the Krafts make a move regarding the coaching staff? / Twitter"

    If the attendance decreases drastically due to the bad product on the field could the Krafts make a move regarding the coaching staff?

    At this point, it seems unlikely that decreased attendance would change Robert Kraft’s approach to the coaching staff this year. If starting 2-10 didn’t trigger instant action, it’s hard to imagine some empty seats down the stretch would change anything.

    That’s not to say that Kraft is O.K. with a less than full stadium. I doubt he is. But that reality is a symptom of a bigger problem. If and when a coaching change is made the driving force behind that decision would likely be the performance on the field, not the resulting lack of enthusiasm from the fan base about the team.

  • Mark Cleland on Twitter: "If the Patriots were to trade Belichick what do you think the Patriots would get in return, do with that draft capital, and how quickly could the deal come together? / Twitter"

    If the Patriots were to trade Belichick what do you think the Patriots would get in return, do with that draft capital, and how quickly could the deal come together?

    Another reason I don’t think Bill Belichick will get fired in-season is that once the Patriots fire him, they can no longer trade him. In order to get anything in return for Belichick’s departure, the Patriots have to let him finish out the season.

    As to what that return could be? Given the New Orleans Saints got a first-round pick for Sean Payton a year ago, that’s where the negotiations should start. Belichick has a better resume than Payton, wasn’t removed from the league for a year, and already had a contract in place. Maybe that gets negotiated down to a second-round pick, but anything in the top 50 would be a realistic expectation.

  • ashley1992 on Twitter: "Hi Alex, if the Pats end up with the number 2 pick and they love a certain qb and don't want to take a chance on losing him, what kind of deal would it take to trade from number 2 to number 1? / Twitter"

    Hi Alex, if the Pats end up with the number 2 pick and they love a certain qb and don't want to take a chance on losing him, what kind of deal would it take to trade from number 2 to number 1?

    This one is tough, because there’s not a lot of precedent here. The closest, most recent trade had the Bears giving up two third-round picks to move up from the third overall selection to second to draft Mitch Trubisky in 2017. The last time the first overall pick was traded was in 2016, but that was for the 15th overall selection so it’s a very different circumstance.

    According to the Trade Value Chart, a team picking second overall would have to give up its first and second round picks as well as the equivalent of another top-50 pick to make the deal work. The chart doesn’t always hold true, but even to move up the one spot would take a significant cost (keep in mind the value drop between the first and second overall picks is the biggest from any one pick to another in the draft).

  • blorjr on Twitter: "Alex, how do you feel about a slight trade down and take Jalen Daniels and get more assets to maneuver around the draft board . / Twitter"

    Alex, how do you feel about a slight trade down and take Jalen Daniels and get more assets to maneuver around the draft board .

    Right now (and subject to change) this is my favorite draft scenario for the Patriots. Move down slightly and take LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels around five or six overall, then use the assets received from that deal to move back into the first round and take one of the receivers from the second tier at that position behind Marvin Harrison Jr – either Rome Odunze from Washington, Malik Nabers from LSU, or Keon Coleman from Florida State.

    It’s not that Daniels is necessarily better than Caleb Williams or Drake Maye as a prospect outright. But I do believe that the gap is close enough that the combination of Daniels and one of those receivers (I personally like Odunze best from that bunch) is a greater foundation to build on that just Williams or Maye alone.

  • Mark on Twitter: "QB position has been problematic for a number of seasons, but the OL hasn't exactly been holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to pass protection. How does NE resolve this issue and do Brown, Strange and Sow form part of the solution? / Twitter"

    QB position has been problematic for a number of seasons, but the OL hasn't exactly been holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to pass protection. How does NE resolve this issue and do Brown, Strange and Sow form part of the solution?

    As Mark points out, the Patriots’ offensive line has been an issue this year. Is the group a total tear down? Not entirely.

    Trent Brown could be a part of the solution, but throughout the season he’s sounded like a player determined to hit free agency and get the biggest payday possible. In a down year for tackles, there’s a chance he’ll have a very competitive market.

    Sidy Sow looks like he can be a part of the Patriots’ offensive line moving forwards. The 2023 fourth-round pick has played much better as of late at right guard, after a rough start to the season. Whether Mike Onwenu returns as a right tackle or leaves outright, the Patriots should feel comfortable turning the right guard position over to Sow next year.

    Then there’s Cole Strange, who will be entering his third NFL season. Strange failed to take the expected jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and while he’s been competitive still is dealing with the power issues he couldn’t overcome last year. What ends up happening with Strange in 2024 could come down to what happens with the coaching staff and front office. If no changes are made, the current group would likely stand by their recent first-round pick. A new GM wouldn’t be as tied to Strange, and could look for an upgrade.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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