Patriots fans and the rest of the NFL are quickly finding out what some of us knew all along: without Tom Brady, Belichick is just another mediocre NFL coach. We all can’t be great forever, right? With their loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the Patriots dropped to 2-5. The Patriots have not started a season 2-5 since Bill Clinton was president.
Sure, Belichick will go down as the greatest coach in NFL history. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But without Brady at the helm, Belichick is showing that those six Super Bowl championships had more to do with Brady than anything else.
Belichick’s record without Tom Brady as his starting quarterback is 51-66. That includes his time in Cleveland coaching the Browns from 1991-95. To be fair, Belichick is 20-24 without Brady in New England. Overall, Belichick has a 224-66 won-loss record. One of the problems that Belichick is now encountering in New England as the Patriots franchise takes a nosedive is there is no general manager.
Belichick is the head coach and also the general manager. It is damn near impossible to do both jobs effectively. Both jobs require a huge time investment to do it properly. When you have Brady as your quarterback, it can hide a lot of roster flaws. Now that Brady is gone, we are beginning to see how little depth the Patriots have on their roster. This is also a reflection of how poor Belichick has drafted.
How Belichick took an injury-prone Sony Michel at running back, with a stud like Nick Chubb still on the board in the 2018 draft, is one of the great mysteries of life. The drafting of Jarrett Stidham; we still don’t know what Stidham can do as an NFL quarterback because Belichick refuses to give him a chance. This is Stidhams second season in the league, yet he has thrown only 13 passes. Those pundits that say Stidham is not the answer, how do you know?
Belichick drafted Stidham because there was something he liked about his game. When Brady left and signed with the Buccaneers this spring, everyone expected Belichick to give Stidham a chance to be the starting quarterback. Instead, Belichick went out and signed a washed-up Cam Newton. With their record at 2-5, the Patriots have nothing to lose by starting Stidham for the rest of the season.
Look at this line, 1,143 yards passing, two touchdowns, seven interceptions, 12 sacks, and two fumbles. Those are not Jarrett Stidham’s numbers, that is Cam Newton’s line. Stidham could not do any worse. Belichick would never admit publicly that the signing of Newton was a mistake; Belichick has too much pride to do that. That is not part of Belichicks DNA to admit he made a mistake.
Looking at the schedule for the Patriots, a 6-10 finish is realistic, while 7-9 is more probable. Belichick can take comfort in knowing that the second greatest coach of all time, Vince Lombardi suffered through the same thing when he left Green Bay to coach the Washington Redskins. Without Bart Starr as his quarterback, Lombardi was nothing special. He was just another NFL coach. Lombardi was 105-35-6 as an NFL head coach, 7-5-2 in his only season in Washington with no playoffs; meanwhile, 1,000 miles south in Tampa, Tom Brady is having yet another MVP season and has the Buccaneers in first place in the NFC South.