Bill Belichick explained Patriots’ ‘decision points,’ acknowledged ‘mistakes’
Belichick said he intends to be back next season.
A day after the Patriots’ 2022 season came to an end with a loss in Buffalo, Bill Belichick said his focus is already turning to next year.
“We need to improve,” Belichick told reporters in his end-of-season Monday morning press conference. “That’s all of us. Accountability everywhere, starting with me, the coaching staff, players, each unit, all things that we will address. That process will start probably later today.”
Asked if he intends to return for a 24th season as head coach of the Patriots, Belichick reiterated his earlier statement.
“Yeah, I think I just talked about that,” he said. “So the process will start today.”
The Patriots finished 8-9, out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. On the subject of his quarterback, Belichick was asked if he thinks Mac Jones will be the team’s starter going forward.
“I think Mac has the ability to play quarterback in this league and we have to all work together to try to find the best way as a football team — which obviously the quarterback’s an important position — to be more productive than we were this year,” he responded.
It was a largely disappointing second season for Jones, as well as the Patriots’ offense in general. Following the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after last year, Belichick made controversial appointments to his coaching staff in 2022.
Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, two coaches with almost no experience on the offensive side of the ball, were given central roles in coaching Jones and calling plays. The results proved to be underwhelming, as New England finished in the bottom half of the league in virtually every offensive statistic (including points and yards).
Belichick was asked if his decisions regarding the coaching staff put the offense in the best position to succeed.
“At different decision points, you have different opportunities, and as those go along or come along we’ll continue to evaluate them and always do what we feel is best for the football team,” Belichick replied.
Later in the press conference, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston asked if the usage of the phrase “decision points” was a reference to timing in terms of hiring decisions made on his staff.
“I’m saying that each time you get a decision point, you look at your options and you make the best decision for the team, whether that’s fourth and one, or third round of the draft, whatever that is,” Belichick responded. “Where we are today is different than where we were six months, 12 months, 18 months ago. Those things are all different.”
Belichick expanded on his answer, acknowledging his own mistakes in the pursuit of what he felt was best for the team.
“Whatever we did in the past in any area — whether it’s play-calls, coaches, players, whatever — at that time was what we thought was best,” he said. “We looked at our options and thought we picked the best one. Some worked out, some didn’t. Some were good decisions, some were in retrospect maybe not good decisions.
“But at the time, they were always what we thought was the best in every area. That’s the way it’ll always be and going forward we’ll always do what we feel is best for the team. That’s what I’ll do. That’s my commitment. I’ll always do what I feel is best for the team. So have I made mistakes? Yeah, sure. Plenty of them.”
Curran noted that while Belichick has an unprecedented level of expertise, his decision to hire to defensive-oriented coaches to lead the offense looked “dubious” to those outside the organization.
“In hindsight, did we have a point?” Curran asked.
“At that point in time, at every point in time, I’ve always made what I felt like was the best decision for the team. That’s all I can say. You can have your opinion on that, whatever it is, I understand that,” said Belichick. “But I always did what I felt was best for the team in every area, at every point in time since I was head coach of the New England Patriots.
“Whether you agree or disagree with that, that’s up to you. I respect that, but I’m always going to do what I feel is best.”
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