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Patriots’ Bill Belichick walks back comments about leaning on the past following criticism

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick caught some flak for recent comments regarding his squad during the NFL’s annual meeting on Monday. But he has since walked back his words. 

Belichick was asked why Patriots fans should be optimistic heading into the new season after missing the playoffs last year. Belichick said “the last 25 years,” which has rubbed fans and even some former players the wrong way. 

“Right now, Coach Belichick is off-message,” ex-Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “That is something that his players shouldn’t hear – that he is basing some optimism to fans on ‘what I’ve done the last 25 years.’ I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Bill mention something like that in terms of his whole body of work. It was surprising to me. I don’t know what’s going on in that locker room now, but players can hold coaches accountable. I’ve done it with Bill before when he said things postgame or during the week that I did not like and we had discussions in captains meetings or after games or whatever. I’m not in that locker room anymore. I’m just surprised because that’s not the Bill Belichick that I know.”

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Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots during the Buffalo Bills game at Highmark Stadium on Jan. 8, 2023, in Orchard Park, New York. (Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)

However, during LSU’s Pro Day on Wednesday, Belichick clarified what he said earlier. 

“We’re not resting on our past laurels; that’s not the message to the team or the fans. We have never operated that way and aren’t now,” Belichick told The Boston Globe.

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Of course, Belichick’s reign in Foxborough has been one for the ages, collecting six Super Bowl rings as a head coach with Tom Brady as his quarterback. He also won two rings with the New York Giants as their defensive coordinator, but Belichick’s leadership with the Patriots will go down in history. 

However, since Brady’s departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, the Patriots have seen some turbulence in the organization, especially at the quarterback position. Mac Jones came in, and while he was 10-7 with a wild-card berth in his rookie year, he regressed to 6-8 last season with Belichick having to bench him at one point during a game. 

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hugs head coach Bill Belichick after winning the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 21, 2018.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hugs head coach Bill Belichick after winning the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 21, 2018. (Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

New England made the postseason 11 straight years prior to the 2020 season, which broke the streak after going 7-9. An 8-9 campaign this past year once again had the Patriots looking ahead to the offseason early. 

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But Belichick is determined to start a new streak and Jones is expected to be the starting quarterback once again. It’s still a very tough AFC East, though, as Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have won the division in each of the last three seasons. And now the New York Jets are expected to land Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. 

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots prepares for a game against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Dec. 12, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots prepares for a game against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Dec. 12, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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It’s a tough road ahead, but Belichick wants to make sure Patriots fans know he’s fully invested in the future and not dwelling on the past.



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