June 12, 2024

Patriots

“I received a sense that man has some soccer left in him.”

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shake hands after Kansas City's 27-17 win at Gillette Stadium on December 17, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Invoice Belichick met with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones postgame on Sunday. Photograph by Maddie Meyer/Getty Photos

FOXBOROUGH — Amid the managed chaos that often spills out as soon as the ultimate seconds tick off an NFL clock, Invoice Belichick deviated from his common postgame course towards the bowels of Gillette Stadium.

After his customary greeting with the opposing coach in Kansas Metropolis’s Andy Reid, Belichick opted to hold across the gridiron — finally searching for out Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones.

The long run Corridor-of-Fame head coach shook arms with the trio and exchanged phrases of assist earlier than finally making his means down the tunnel and right into a sullen Patriots locker room.

It stays to be seen if Belichick could have one other likelihood to fulfill stars like Mahomes and Kelce out on the sector shifting ahead — at the least in Foxborough.

With New England’s 27-17 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, the Patriots now sit at 3-11 on the season — mired within the cellar of the AFC standings.

Whereas accidents have plagued New England at practically each flip in 2023, years of poor personnel selections and lackluster drafting by Belichick have saddled a once-proud franchise with a flawed roster severely missing in each depth and expertise.

Relying on which report you draw from, Robert Kraft and the Patriots’ possession could have already made a ruling on Belichick’s future in New England — with the sight of Belichick patrolling one other sideline subsequent fall standing as a tangible state of affairs with every passing week.

These rumors and narratives swirling round Belichick and New England haven’t been misplaced on the Chiefs — the franchise that has supplanted the post-Brady Patriots because the premier energy within the NFL.

“I’ve all of the respect on the planet for that man. Each single time I’m going up towards him — it’s the hardest job within the NFL to go up towards a Belichick protection,” Kelce stated postgame. “He throws a lot at you, he all the time has a variety of guys that may play good. So hats off to Belichick for at this time for making my life robust, that’s for rattling certain. And on prime of that, all the time getting an excellent group of men to play nicely collectively. I received a variety of respect for that group.”

Though Mahomes and the Chiefs nonetheless managed to place up 27 factors towards a stingy New England protection, Kelce did not make a lot of a dent in Foxborough. The star tight finish reeled in 5 catches on Sunday, however for simply 28 whole yards.

Taking away an opponent’s prime offensive weapon has recurrently been a trademark of Belichick-led defenses over time. And in six regular-season conferences towards the Patriots, Kelce has reeled in only one landing and averaged 5.5 catches and 59.6 receiving yards per contest.

Regardless of the discrepancy between Kansas Metropolis and New England within the standings lately, Reid nonetheless heaped loads of reward on Belichick and the 2023 Patriots for his or her means to stay in video games.

“This Patriots group is so shut,” Reid stated. “Their variety of losses towards one rating is loopy. … That protection, Steve [Belichick] and his crew, they’ve performed a pleasant job with that protection. They’re salty. And offensively, that they had a pleasant plan there popping out.”

Even with a number of professional questions on Belichick’s roster miscues over time, Reid nonetheless believes that the 71-year-old Patriots legend nonetheless stands on the forefront of his career.

“He’s performed an unbelievable job,” Reid stated of Belichick. “Finest within the enterprise — ever. I imply, that’s what you’re speaking about. I don’t query it. I understand how nice he’s. And I’ve received to take care of him by taking part in towards him. No one higher.”

Kansas Metropolis offensive lineman Joe Thuney is aware of firsthand of Belichick’s means to raise a group to a championship pedigree.

The 31-year-old guard performed the primary 5 seasons of his NFL profession in New England, profitable two Tremendous Bowl titles and incomes an All-Professional nod in 2019.

Thuney’s job description now revolves round holding the pocket clear for Mahomes in Kansas Metropolis. But it surely’s clear that the previous Patriots third-round decide (No. 78 total, 2016) nonetheless adheres to the Belichick playbook in terms of postgame soundbites (or lack thereof).

“I imply yeah — I feel any soccer fan or participant would suppose that,” Thuney stated of envisioning a Patriots group with out Belichick. “He’s been right here for thus lengthy and clearly staying in my lane and simply want everybody one of the best and I simply try to management what I can management… There’s a lot happening, I simply try to keep in my lane, take into consideration what I can do to get higher as a soccer participant and [I’m just] very comfortable to have been a Patriot.”

As murky as Belichick’s future in New England could be, Kelce doesn’t consider a pink slip subsequent month would immediate the top coach to hold up his headset for good.

“The actual fact you simply stated that, I imply yeah, that’s wild to even take into consideration,” Kelce stated about Belichick probably now not teaching the Patriots. “However I received a sense that man has some soccer left in him.”