That's no smile; it's gas. - Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
As so often has happened throughout all venues of life, we often build up our heroes, only to tear them down. As sure as the sun rises in the east, the Patriots will lose some of their Free Agents in a few days, and some will howl in anger that they let Welker or Talib or Woodhead or more than one of them 'get away' in Free Agency.
Bill Belichick has survived more miscues and mole-hill mishaps than most Head Coaches ever could, for certain a large part of the reason for that is his FIVE Super Bowl appearances in the past eleven years. The multiple rings and playoff appearances built a vault full of trust and goodwill for the team, and especially, the man who is viewed as the architect and the genius of a dynasty.
BB could look at a player thought too ordinary by every other NFL front office and see a future All-Pro. He could watch a player viewed as a borderline NFL talent by the experts and see the next Joe Montana. He could design a defensive scheme that could disrupt even the most powerful opposing offense.
Of course none of that is really accurate, and that is the rub of becoming a icon, a hero... you are never as great as people build you up to be, and you are never at fault for the inevitable fall from grace as much as detractors claim, either.
BB is not at all infallible when it comes to personnel decisions, scouting, or veteran pick-ups. Despite being labeled a genius at these efforts as well, the truth is he is middle of the road when it comes to making draft selections and trades for players.
For every Moss, there is an Ocho. For every Gronkowski, there is a Brace. For every moment of utter brilliance (taking a safety in a Denver game, so they could be in a position to win the game after the fact) there have been miscalculations (calling a play in the latest SB that had the offense taking a safety)...
BB has his flaws, like all of us, some more glaring than others... how else does one explain spending half a dozen top picks on CBs in the past few drafts, only to net one starting FS out of all those picks?
Since offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell left, there has been a void of coaching experience that he has struggled to fill. He has groomed young coaches, bringing them up through the ranks, only to see them schooled in the biggest games when they faced coaching staffs with decades more experience (IE - Colts staff of 2006, Giants staff of 2011)
There was, back when the coaching staff was still together, praise for the staff's ability to take the talent being provided by Belichick and Scott Pioli and "coach them up." Borderline talents such as David Patten and Randall Gay were magically transformed into productive NFL players while wearing the Patriot uniform.
Now it seems, even good players can struggle to perform according to expectations when introduced into the Patriots system.
Perhaps, what has been missing, is the staff member who isn't afraid to tell Belichick that he is wrong. Who among this current coaching and front office staffs has the weight to disagree with a draft pick, free agent signing or release?
Belichick decided to take on more responsibility when his veteran coordinators left after 2004, and one has to wonder just how much of that has been relinquished back to his scouts and staff.
The barely won two of those three Super Bowls even with that veteran staff that had spent so many years working together before they ever came with BB to the Patriots. And they have since gone to two Super Bowls and barely lost them... in both cases, by mere inches in just one or two plays that made all the difference.
So a week from now, when more than one current Patriots' FA is signed away, and things are looking dire, as if there is no way the Patriots could possibly fill all their holes and replace the players lost, just remember... they have been in seemingly worse situations (IE - entering into 2006 with no WRs worth mentioning) and have had worse, less experienced staffs (IE - 2010 when they had no DC or OC) ...
If nothing else, BB is resilient, this team with him leading it, is resilient, and they are more capable of putting together a good team today, than they were in 2006 or 2010... and those teams, and those seasons, weren't all that horrible.
Still, it would be nice if they stacked the deck this season, and found a way to assemble a team that dominated come the playoffs. As fans we have but one thing to hang our hopes on...
In Bill we trust.
Bill Belichick Coach of The Decade (via patriotsfootballplc)