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#pounditMonday, February 26, 2024

Report: Bill Belichick frustrated Patriots players over 1 major issue

Bill Belichick with a headset

Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is rarely questioned for some of the moves he makes and tactics he uses, and understandably so. He can point to his championship-laden resume as evidence that he knows what he is doing. However, some of his current players are apparently less-than-impressed with how he handled one issue in 2022.

In an appearance on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Massarotti” show, Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal said that Patriots players had been frustrated by a lack of accountability from Belichick and his coaching staff over the team’s issues in 2022. Many in the locker room believe they were put in bad situations by the staff, a likely allusion to one-time defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s bizarre status as de facto offensive coordinator. Specifically, Belichick’s handling of a midseason quarterback controversy between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe went down poorly in the locker room, as Jones enjoys the “universal support” of his teammates.

“Mac has universal support in the locker room,” Bedard said. “The players on both sides of the ball, especially the offense, realize the position they were put in this season. They were not put in position to succeed. I think it was a problem this year. We’ll see what happens if Bill does anything more in private.

“I think the lack of accountability by the head coach on him putting these players in these positions, specifically how Bill handled the whole Bailey Zappe situation — that did not go over well in the locker room with Mac’s teammates. And I think there’s an issue there, and I don’t think further throwing Mac Jones under the bus is going to help things.”

Jones suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 and the Patriots were forced to turn to Zappe, who played fairly well in the starter’s absence. Publicly, Belichick did not commit to Jones as the guaranteed starter once he came back from the injury. Once Jones was healthy, Belichick tried to use both quarterbacks in a Week 7 game against Chicago, which did not work out for either of them. Belichick refused to give much insight after that loss, but then went back to Jones for the remainder of the season.

Belichick is notoriously vague with the media, so his occasional lack of clarity on the team’s quarterback situation was not a huge surprise. It becomes more of a concern if Belichick is sending the same messages in private. New England players might be further annoyed by their coach’s rather unenthusiastic verdict on Jones’ future this week, too.

H/T The Spun


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