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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Bill Belichick addresses questions about Pro Bowler’s effort level

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

The New England Patriots had some serious offensive line issues during their loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and Trent Brown appeared to be responsible for some of them. That led to questions about whether the veteran was giving full effort, and one of those questions was directed toward Bill Belichick on Wednesday.

One of the ugliest plays for the Patriots came when they were trailing 3-0 in the second quarter and had the ball deep in their own territory. Miami’s blitzing defensive back had a free shot at Mac Jones, which led to a strip sack that was recovered for a touchdown. Brown was the closest man to the free rusher.

Brown was not the only one to blame for the breakdown in protection. Jones could have identified the blitz and changed the play to have an extra blocker on the left side. It is also possible that Brown missed his assignment.

Another tough play for Brown came when he was trying to set the edge on a rush and came up totally empty. The result was a significant loss of yardage.

When asked on Wednesday about Brown’s effort level, Belichick delivered one of his token snarky one-liners and highlighted one of Brown’s better plays.

Brown has bounced back and forth between right and left tackle throughout his career. He played right tackle during his first three seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He was then moved to left tackle in 2018 in his first stint with the Patriots, and he helped them win a Super Bowl. Brown signed a big contract with the Las Vegas Raiders the following year and moved back to right tackle. He was named a Pro Bowler that season.

The Patriots brought Brown back via trade last year. He was named their starting right tackle before a calf injury derailed his season. The 29-year-old was once again moved back to left tackle this year, and there has been some speculation that he is unhappy there.

Whatever the case, Brown and the entire Patriots’ offensive line need to do a better job. What we saw from the unit on Sunday is not going to lead to many wins.

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