There has been a lot of speculation as to who is to blame for the New England Patriots’ disappointing season in 2019. Who deserves most of it?
This past season obviously didn’t go as planned for the New England Patriots. With all of New England cutting into the ‘blame pie,’ let’s take a look at all those involved and their equal (or unequal) parts in what was a disappointing 2019 season.
This past season was full of turmoil and uncharacteristic behaviors from the entire organization. From the on-field product all the way to the play calling and decision making, the New England Patriots looked out of sync the entire season.
Who’s most to blame for the unsuccessful season by the Patriots?
Bill Belichick tried all he could to salvage this Patriots team.
On offense, the weapons just didn’t seem to be there for the Pats this season. Regardless of how it’s perceived, he did take a chance on Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Mohamed Sanu, and Josh Gordon.
After what looked to be a lost cause for the defense after Greg Schiano’s surprising resignation to become the next coordinator for the Patriots, the defense would end up being one of the best in NFL history.
Belichick would then give the job to his son, Steve Belichick, and to his former player, Jerod Mayo. With not much time to plan, Bill went with two people who he knew he could trust to make the right decisions and contribute to the team in positive ways.
For what it’s worth, the two young coaches complemented each other’s styles well and they made it work most of the season.
Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, and his football decisions shouldn’t ever be doubted… but there were a few calls made this season in all three phases of the game that just didn’t make sense.
For example, in Saturday’s wild card matchup against the Tennessee Titans, Belichick unsuccessfully ran the ball three times from the goal line before settling for a field goal.
Also, on the final punt of the game with about 20 seconds left, Belichick decided to send everyone for the block (including the returner). In turn, the Titans downed the ball at the one yard line with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
Out of everyone on the team, Tom Brady drew the short end of the stick this season. The 42-year-old quarterback dealt with a strung-together offensive line and a mediocre receiving group; two elements essential to a quarterback.
The greatness of Tom has previously been able to hide the inconsistencies that lay within the offense (and maybe even the team). From the outside looking in, it appears Brady took a lot of his frustrations out with the front office on the overall team. Brady didn’t seem pleased at all this season with “Belichick the GM.”
Throughout the season he’s made many comments about the necessity of veterans rather than rookies – particularly in regards to his rookie receivers like N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, and Jakobi Meyers.
On top of talent, Brady values in-game experience more than anything because he needs to know where to build his trust from with his receivers. But looking across the league, quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, and Drew Brees have all been successful throwing to their rookie receivers this season.
At the beginning of the season things looked great for Tom Brady and his offense. He had Julian Edelman, Antonio Brown, and Josh Gordon in his arsenal, along with a somewhat-consistent role player in Phillip Dorsett. The Patriots’ first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry spent the first half of the season on IR.
Nevertheless, Brady still had a pretty good year. He finished with 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 88.0. Brady’s 24 touchdown passes did tie for the second lowest total in his career (2001: 18, 2006: 24).
Injuries unfortunately affected the offensive line this season, which in turn affected the passing game and running attack.
David Andrews went on season-ending IR before the season even started due to blood clots in his lung. Second-year tackle Isaiah Wynn spent the first half of the season on IR with a foot injury. The Patriots drafted two rookie lineman: Hjalte Froholdt, who spent the season on IR with a shoulder injury suffered in the preseason finale, and Yodny Cajuste, who was drafted in the third round and then promptly put on the reserve/non-football injury list.
It’s insane for people to think Gronk is the reason for the failed 2019 Patriots. Regardless of whether or not he informed the Patriots of his retirement plans in enough time for the team, they still needed to add another tight end to help Gronk and the offense last season. We’ve all seen what this team is capable of running out of a two-tight end set.
At the very least, the Pats should have prepared for Gronk to retire, rather than feel like they were blindsided by it. For now, he is retired… or on a hiatus… or something.
Obviously Kraft has Belichick to manage the football team, and as we’ve seen, Belichick runs a pretty tight ship. There’s typically no distractions and outside nonsense affecting the team, but this season was different.
Due to a TV series the New England Patriots have taken part in called ‘Do Your Job’ by Kraft Productions, there was another possible Spy Gate issue on behalf of the Patriots. The “extracurriculars” are all done by Kraft and his production team, and neither Belichick nor his staff is involved with that portion of the New England Patriots.
But ultimately the league’s punishment will still affect the football team.
All in all, everybody involved equally deserves some portion of the blame pie.
As we look onward to next season, the New England Patriots have some serious business to take care of.