Following an 8-9 2022 season and an offseason that hasn’t brought many big moves so far, Bill Belichick had a simple message for New England Patriots fans who might be concerned about their chances to win in 2023.
“Long way to go,” Belichick told reporters at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona on Monday. “It’s March. We play in September. There’s a long way to go, a lot of work to do.”
In a follow-up, Belichick was asked why Patriots fans should feel confident about the team going into 2023. He opted to rest on his laurels.
“The last 25 years,” Belichick responded.
It’s tough to deny the Patriots’ overall success as Belichick enters his 24th season as the head coach of the team. They’ve won six Super Bowl titles and have played in three more. They’ve won the AFC East 18 times and made the playoffs 19 times under Belichick, too.
But things haven’t been as smooth over the last three seasons following the departure of Tom Brady. They’re 25-25 in 50 regular-season games since, making the playoffs just once with two losing seasons over that span.
Belichick noted Monday that the Patriots have “taken steps to improve the team” though, at least acknowledging things had to change following a messy 2022 season.
They removed Matt Patricia, who was the offensive play caller and the offensive line coach, and Joe Judge, who was the quarterbacks coach, from their roles, hiring Bill O’Brien to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Belichick seemed to confirm reports that Judge would return with the Patriots next season, saying that his exact title will be revealed sometime later in that spring. But he said he wasn’t sure if Patricia would be back with the team.
They’ve made some moves in free agency but haven’t made the big splash that some fans have hoped for. They traded Jonnu Smith and let Jakobi Meyers walk in free agency while adding JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki, James Robinson and some offensive tackle depth.
Belichick didn’t say if the Patriots were finished adding players though, saying he “wouldn’t rule out” any possible moves as long as he felt they would improve the roster.
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