Kraft explains why keeping Belichick but stripping GM duties ‘wouldn't work'

Kraft explains why keeping Belichick but stripping GM duties ‘wouldn't work' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots have been a model of stability in the NFL for more than two decades.

But after mutually parting ways with Bill Belichick -- the head coach and de facto GM for the last 24 years -- there will be some new people calling the shots in Foxboro soon.

We could debate Belichick's recent roster moves all day. The truth is many of those decisions -- draft picks, trades, free agent signings -- in recent years didn't yield positive results for the Patriots, and it's one reason for the mess the franchise currently finds itself in.

But there's no question that Belichick is still one of, if not the best, coach in the league. So, did Kraft give any thought to keeping Belichick as the head coach and letting someone else handle the roster building?

"We thought about that," Kraft said Thursday at a press conference. "I've had experience running different businesses and trying to develop a team. Think about it, when you have someone like Bill, who’s had control over every decision, every coach we hire, the organization reports to him on the draft and how much money we spend -- every decision has been his. We’ve always supported him.

“To then take some of that power away and then give it to someone else -- accountability is important to me in all of our companies. Where he had the responsibility and then someone else takes it, it’s going to set up confusion and, ‘Well, it was his pick, and that was a bad pick, or he didn’t play him right,’ you know? It just wouldn’t work, in my opinion."

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Did Kraft come to the conclusion that one person shouldn't have both the head coach and GM roles, particularly when, in the modern NFL, very few teams have that kind of setup anymore?

"Just to be clear: He didn't have all that power -- I don't think it happened until after our third Super Bowl. But it slowly happened, and in my opinion, he earned it," Kraft said. "It worked pretty well for the most of the time. But all of us need checks and balances in our life. We need what I call 'Dr. No's' around us -- people to protect us from ourselves ... As things evolve, and you get more power, sometimes people are afraid to speak up, and I'm speaking about all companies. I think it's good to have checks and balances. But once you have that (power), it's kind of hard to pull it away and expect to have the accountability you want."

What kind of timeline does Kraft have in mind in regards to finding a new coach and general manager? It sure sounds like he's hoping to move in a swift manner.

"Until we settle what we settled yesterday and announced today, we will try to move very quickly to solve those issues," Kraft said. "We'll have a chance to talk about that in the very near future."