As the nagging sense of something negative in New England continues to fester, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston offers up a possible theory. Curran questions whether Belichick is back in the same place where he was in 2009, when there weren’t enough voices of dissent in his ear.
It’s important for anyone in a position of power and influence to have one or more lieutenants who are willing and able to raise real questions about whether a planned course of action could be a mistake. When Curran presented the issue directly to Belichick after the Ravens splattered the Patriots in the wild-card round in the 2009 season, Belichick agreed with the importance of having people like that around.
“There’s a point in time where you reach a point or you have a relationship and you feel more comfortable saying things that you just wouldn’t have said — even with that guy — a few years earlier,” Belichick said at the time. “I definitely get where you’re at on that and I mean, I understand that.”
Currently, who’s in position to provide frank, candid objection to the things Belichick wants to do? Who was there to tell him that perhaps he should try to get more than a second-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo? Who was there to tell Belichick that maybe Malcolm Butler should get a chance to play during the second half of a Super Bowl in which the Patriots had a hard time stopping the Philadelphia offense with the other seven defensive backs who collectively weren’t getting it done?
Curran’s column shares a quote from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who said last year that Belichick has explained that, at this point in his career, he wants to coach players he likes, players he wants to be around. Has Belichick extended that same attitude to anyone who possibly would scrutinize and criticize Belichick’s ideas to the point that he doesn’t want to be around them?
As the Patriots try to regroup after a season that ended in a sense of failure, it’s important to wonder whether Belichick has those voices who are able to steer him away from circumstances that could lead to future failures.