Arbella Early Edition

How should Pats approach rest of season? Curran and Giardi weigh in

Is it time to tank?

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The New England Patriots need a miracle to finish with a .500 record, never mind make the playoffs. It's a lost season for Bill Belichick's group, and potentially the last season in the Belichick era.

They enter Week 10 with a 2-7 record, rumblings that Belichick's job is on the line, and a quarterback in Mac Jones who might follow Belichick out the door. As our own Tom E. Curran put it, the next two months are about staying afloat and keeping from reaching a new low.

Curran and Boston Sports Journal's Mike Giardi discussed how New England should approach the remainder of the 2023 season during Tuesday's Arbella Early Edition. Giardi believes the best course of action is to aim for the highest possible pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

"They're never gonna say they want to tank. And when you look at the kind of damage it could do to the organization long-term -- no, I don't think any of that matters," Giardi said. "I think they need more players here, and the best way to get more players here, young players, is to have the worst possible record.

"Going 6-11, while it maybe lifts you up, maybe it gets Bill Belichick a little closer to the record, makes you feel a little better about yourself, that's not what the goal is. The goal is to get back to being a championship-driven team. They are not that. They are far from it. They need elite pieces."

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Curran doesn't see Belichick as someone who would be up for Giardi's tanking idea. That could set up a figurative game of tug of war between the longtime head coach and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

"They have a lot of competing interests here," Curran said. "You have a competing interest with Bill Belichick, who wants to catch Don Shula. He wants to put out the best representative effort in what could be the final two months of his career. ... He's going to coach trying to win every game.

"This is where the rubber meets the road between ownership and head coach. 'Bill, we want to do this.' 'Well, I don't want to do that.' 'Well, then should we just say enough's enough now?' How do you find a common ground to live on for the next two months if you're a lame-duck head coach? ...

"I think the preference would be ride it out as diplomatically and in as dignified a way as you can," Curran added.

If the season were to end today, the Patriots would have the fifth overall pick in the 2024 draft. Their next test is a Week 10 showdown against the 4-5 Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany.

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