Is there a long-term plan or is Bill Belichick 'winging' it? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots' preseason opener didn't help to clear up the confusion regarding the offensive play-calling duties.
Since Bill Belichick didn't name an official offensive coordinator to replace Josh McDaniels, it's been a combination of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge splitting the work throughout the spring and summer. They continued to do so in Thursday night's loss to the New York Giants with Patricia calling plays for veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer and Judge taking over when rookie QB Bailey Zappe was under center.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do that," Belichick said after the game about splitting the play-calling duties. "We're going through a process. Just like everything else on this team."
Belichick says not to worry about the unconventional approach, but it begs the question of what direction the team is heading in. Is this all part of a long-term plan, or is Belichick just winging it?
Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran discussed that question on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
"Calling Joe Judge the play-calling apprentice is interesting to me, because it alludes to the fact that there's a long-term plan here," Perry said. "Are they making your point, which is this is a bridge year, and there's no way we're going to get it to look the way we want it to?
"We lost Josh McDaniels, we had him for 20 years, it's just not going to happen. In the same way, 2020, (Belichick) didn't call it a bridge year but he called it a reset year in terms of the cap, the roster. Is this another reset year, but on the coaching staff? With a long-term play in mind."
Since Belichick has been unwilling to share much insight about the team's direction, Curran isn't ready to say the team is planning for the long-term.
"We don't know what they're doing. So in lieu of a concrete plan where they can say 'OK, this is what we're doing,' you have to presume that they're just kind of winging it," Curran said.
"For the people out there who think that Bill Belichick doesn't wing it, he does. Because he subscribes to the notion of sometimes no decision at all is the best decision you make."
Also discussed in the episode: What did we learn about who will be calling plays? Has Belichick decided collaboration with coaches is the best route? What’s the end goal of the Patriots playing ‘process’? And who popped and who dropped vs. the Giants?