Bill Belichick Criticized For Reducing Linebacker’s Role

Getty Bill Belichick

When you’re losing, no one is beyond criticism–not even New England Patriots legendary head coach Bill Belichick.

Almost every aspect of Belichick’s performance as a coach and general manager has been questioned over the past three weeks, and one of the most recent issues that have been raised is his handling of second-year-pro Chase Winovich’s playing time.

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Winovich’s Snap Count is Way Down

During the first four weeks of the season, Winovich played in no less than 54 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Over the last three, that number has dipped to 34, 20 and nine percent in Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

What gives? Many in the media are asking valid questions.

Statistics Say He Should Be on the Field

Belichick appears to view Winovich as a pass-rushing specialist only, but the team hasn’t suffered against the run statistically with him on the field.

CLNS’ Evan Lazar posted some numbers prior to Winovich’s limited playing time on Sunday that suggests the team has been better against the run with the Michigan alum on the field.

You have to take these kinds of stats with a grain of salt, but there is some credence to such large disparities in the on/off numbers.

Despite Winovich’s declining playing time, he still leads the team in sacks with 2.5. That’s an indictment on Belichick and the rest of the Patriots’ pass rushers.

Winovich Staying Positive, and Indirectly Addresses Decreased Playing Time

How is Winovich handling his decreasing playing time?

He’s handling it publicly quite well. He posted some words of encouragement for himself and teammates after Sunday’s loss.



Belichick Answers Direct Questions About Winovich’s Playing Time

During Belichick’ regular session with the media on Monday afternoon, he was asked directly about Winovich’s playing time.

Belichick downplayed it and attributed it to situational football.

“It’s been situational,” Belichick said. “He’ll play. He’s a good player. Some weekly decisions based on game-plans and so forth.”

With the Patriots struggling to stop the run and get to opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis, it’s a little puzzling that a player with as much upside as Winovich isn’t getting more time to make plays.

The offense needs as much field-position help as possible, and Winovich’s ability to get in the backfield for sacks or to force turnovers would seemingly be an element you’d want on the field as much as possible.

Perhaps he’ll see a spike in playing time this week against the New York Jets.

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