Patriots' Bill Belichick has failed to adapt to modern NFL, Bills reporter says

Belichick has failed to adapt to modern NFL, Bills reporter says originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Will the New England Patriots be good in 2023? Opinions vary.

Former NFL quarterback Jim Miller, now a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio, made a strong case for the 2023 Patriots on Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk podcast, claiming that new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien can help New England reach the postseason -- and even win an AFC East title.

But Sal Capaccio, who covers the Buffalo Bills for WGR Sports Radio 550, joined Curran on that same podcast and shared a very different opinion of the Patriots.

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"I think it's the New England Patriots now looking up at three different teams in the AFC and trying to catch up to them," Capaccio told Curran. "Those teams have made strides, they've closed the gap, and there's definitely a quarterback gap between Josh Allen and currently the rest of the AFC East."

Capaccio also shared a strong opinion about Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who led New England to six Super Bowls from 2001 to 2018 but hasn't won a playoff game since, with a 25-25 overall record since Tom Brady's departure in March 2020.

"I think the head coach still coaches football like he's coaching in the early 2000s," Capaccio said of Belichick. "I think that hurts the Patriots. As great as he is -- I always say on my radio show, Bill Belichick is clearly the most accomplished coach of all time; no one can take that away -- it doesn't mean he's always going to be the best coach out there. It doesn't.

"And I think that things have happened over the last several years that show that he hasn't quite adapted, especially after Brady. Mobile quarterbacks -- not just Josh (Allen); Justin Fields last year, Lamar Jackson -- they've hurt the New England Patriots. I think that Bill has yet to adjust to that, and I don't see how they've necessarily adjusted this season to any anything like that."

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Capaccio claimed Belichick is living in the past on offense as well by failing to add a top-flight wide receiver. While JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki are nice complementary pieces, the Patriots still haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2019 (Julian Edelman) in a league where the best teams all have elite pass-catchers: Seven of the eight teams in last season's Divisional Round had at least one 1,000-yard receiver on their roster (the New York Giants being the exception).

"Yeah, Mac Jones is a nice quarterback -- Jakobi Myers walks out the door, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is a nice player, but where's the high-end talent?" Capaccio said. "In this league, you've got to have a true No. 1 receiver. They don't have that on that team."

Belichick took criticism this week for pointing to "the last 25" years as reason for optimism entering 2023, and while he clarified that he's not resting on his laurels, the results of the past three seasons suggest he needs to either acquire more talent or alter his coaching style to find success in the modern NFL.

To hear more from Capaccio, Miller and New York Jets beat writer Brian Costello on the state of the AFC East, subscribe to the Patriots Talk Podcast or watch on YouTube below.