Changes are coming.
The New England Patriots will miss the postseason for the first time since 2008, and they are guaranteed to have their first losing season in 20 years.
Bill Belichick may not be a master general manager, but there is no way he’s going to take this without coming back strong in 2021. Belichick knows everyone is playing up the concept that Tom Brady has gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led his team to the playoffs while the Patriots are having a tough 2020.
He might never publicly admit that stings a bit, but you can bet he’s aware of it. Despite his age and decades on the sidelines, Belichick’s fire for competing seems to be just as strong as it has ever been.
On Tuesday during his weekly spot on WEEI’s OMF, Belichick made a non-specific mention of his approach to the offseason and the 2021 campaign.
Asked about weapons needing to be better to help the QB position
Belichick, on WEEI: There will be a lot of things that will be different next year relative to this year.
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) December 29, 2020
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Major Positions to Focus On
Some may believe the Patriots’ No. 1 focus should be the quarterback position. However, I don’t think that will be the case–at least not as it pertains to their first pick in the draft. I fully expect the Patriots to bring Cam Newton back as their likely starter with a rookie, more than likely a 3rd or 4th rounder waiting in the wings in the event the veteran struggles.
The Patriots will likely sign another veteran quarterback whose job is to be ready to step in early on if Newton falters or gets injured, but who is also charged with helping the rookie signal-caller develop and grasp the offense.
With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots draft a wide receiver, tight end or inside linebacker with their first-round pick. All three positions are major spots of need. Had those positions been better filled, not as much criticism would have been levied at the quarterback.
An offensive tackle and an edge rusher are other areas of potential concern. The Patriots could have more than $50 million in cap space this offseason. They will be armed with the assets to shift their fortunes, and based on the tone of Belichick’s comments, he’s going to come in ready to make aggressive offers and draft picks that address a specific need.
Will Belichick Get Help Evaluating WRs
Historically, Belichick has struggled to find solid contributors at wide receiver. Most recently, the team selected N’Keal Harry in the first round in 2019. He clearly hasn’t panned out while others taken after him have turned into stars. New England is devoid of weapons in the passing game–with the exception of Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd–but neither of them is a No. 1 option.
It might be time for Belichick to lean on the opinions of someone with a better eye for talent at the position. The Patriots must draft a receiver this offseason and quite frankly, they cannot afford to miss again.
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