Could 2023 really be Bill Belichick's final year as head coach of the New England Patriots?
Belichick's group reached a new low in Week 5 with a 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the worst home loss of Belichick's career. That followed a 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that marked the largest margin of defeat in Belichick's 29 years as an NFL head coach.
The current state of the Patriots has left some wondering whether Belichick could be relieved of his duties after 24 years and six Super Bowl titles with the organization. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer and Boston Sports Journal's Greg Bedard shared their thoughts on the situation during Sports Sunday.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
🔊 Patriots Talk: Time to sit Mac Jones? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"I still don't think he gets fired," Breer said. "But I do think there's a scenario that could play out where he winds up without a job, and that's if Robert Kraft does this offseason what he did in 1996, which is take personnel power away from the coach.
"He could potentially go in saying, 'We're gonna restructure anyway whenever Jerod Mayo or whoever else takes over for you, so we're gonna just do it now. And you can stick around if you want, but this is what I'm doing. The roster is beyond repair, you haven't drafted well, you haven't signed free agents well, you haven't traded effectively. We need to bring somebody to handle that part of it, because that part of the operation is deficient.' And then it becomes up to Bill, and I think we could all see a scenario where Bill looks at that and says, 'I'm out of here.'"
Bedard agrees it's unlikely the Krafts would fire their longtime head coach, but he wouldn't rule anything out if the disastrous season continues on its current trajectory.
"I think all options are on the table for the Krafts," Bedard said. "Their preference would be not to fire Bill Belichick, but I do think a mutual parting of ways after this season -- if it continues on the way that it is.
"After today, I started to have thoughts that I haven't had before. Like, could they make a change during the season? The last two weeks, 72-3, if there's something fundamentally wrong with this team and today was just the tip of the iceberg of the team tuning out Bill Belichick and not believing in what he's doing, and vice versa, I think something could happen. I think it's on the table at this point."
The Patriots are 26-29 in the post-Tom Brady era (since 2020). They've failed to make the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and with a 1-4 record through five weeks, they're on track to do the same this year. Robert Kraft has been vocal about his displeasure with the team's inability to win a playoff game since 2018.
Perhaps next week's game against the lowly Las Vegas Raiders will be just what the doctor ordered for New England. If not, we can expect the debates over Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones' futures with the team to continue for the foreseeable future.
Watch the full Sports Sunday segment below: