Bill hands over the defense...and this is good

I'm not there, and I have no inside info. This is perhaps more a hope than a reality. But I'm going to run with it. Bill has handed the reins of the defense over to Steve and to Mayo. Meanwhile he has taken a heavy hand in the offense.

I've actually theorized for over a decade that Bill Belichick is not a defensive genius, but he is close to one on offense. The tag defensive genius all comes from a couple of game plans in Super Bowls for the Giants as defensive coordinator. But let's look at the record in New England.

In the Bruschi years, the defense WAS dominant. Bill deserves a lot of credit. However, he inherited the core from Parcels and Carrol: Johnson, Law. Milloy, Bruschi, and of course McGinest. He made the right drafting moves: Seymour, Wilfork. He made key signings and trades: Harrison, Washington. Bravo.

But since 2009, the defense has generally bee subpar, sometimes downright awful. This despite his propensity(until the last 2 years) to put most of his draft capital and free agent money into the defense. There's no question...that Tom Brady completely carried the team for this period of more than a decade. There were one or two moments for the defense...such as the Super Bowl against the Rams. But mostly the defense stunk.

Some Kool-Aid drinking Pats fan will shout about points allowed. Nonsense. It's deceiving. In that decade, every other team in the division was awful, especially on offense. No elite QB's. Not even any decent ones. That's 6 games a year against crap. Meanwhile, the northeast weather can be counted on to create a couple of low-scoring games, like in Buffalo last year.

But for the most part, the Pats defense was what you saw: they would give up long drive after long drive, game after game, year after year. Bill's approach was to wait until teams beat themselves with a TO. And that worked a lot with so many lousy opponents. But it was just hiding the fact that the defense couldn't stop a nose bleed.

This was fully exposed last year. The defense was healthy and experienced. For much of the season, they played chumps, or teams with their starting QB out, or teams that hadn't got their act together. This produced what seemed like the best Pats defense in many, many years. But then later in the season they played defenses that had their shyte together. And the Pats couldn't even get off the field. Ever. For 5 games in a row.

I'm sorry, but in no rational estimation is that the work of a defensive genius.

Now, on offense, it's been another story. When Bill took over, the Pats offense was not dynamic for several years, but it was EFFECTIVE. Under the Bledsoe year it sucked. With young Tom, it was conservative, but at the same time not predictable, And THAT was the key. You never knew for sure what the Pats were going to run. They developed Tom carefully this way. By 2003, Tom could put up a lot of points if they needed to. By 2007, they were the best offense in history.

Bill's defensive mind was perfect for making an offense less predictable. He knows how defenses think. And we're seeing Jones developed the same way.

Bill deserves credit for being made to understand, perhaps by Kraft, that things need to change. First was the draft. Multiple years of failure indicated the problem was more than bad luck. It seems they let different voices in the room the last couple of years and it's worked much better.

On offense, assigning Patricia might ultimately turn out to be a bold stroke of genius. Like Bill, Matt knows how defenses think. There will be hiccups. But we're also seeing Bill take the opportunity to re-invent the offense for the first time in more than 20 years. I suspect the minds of Bill, Matt and Joe will come up with something that is very effective. Not so much at running up scores, but as being unpredictable, multiple, and effective in big games and big situations.

But that defense. What is to be done? Well, it needed to be turned over to someone else. That someone appears to be Steve. We don't know whether Steve will ultimately be a genius or a chump. But he will bring FRESH insight and ideas. One doubts that he thinks exactly like his father.

I do think that Bill is adaptable and recognizes the need for that. Like any human, he can get caught up in patterns of thinking. NFL defenses have passed him by to some degree. But he's ready to hand over the reins on the defense. And it's good.

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