ESPN's Paul Finebaum Savages Bill Belichick for Being 'Lazy' Late in His Career
"I'm also a little concerned with this rather lazy, 'Well, Bill Belichick knows what he's doing!' Um, really? Have you guys watched the New England Patriots in the last couple of years? ... He's made some dubious coaching hires, starting with his son. He's made some disastrous draft picks.
"I like Mac Jones a lot. I know I'm burying the lede here. I think he's a very good quarterback. Do I think he'll be a great NFL quarterback? I have no earthly idea. But don't confuse the fact that just because Bill Belichick drafts you, and he's never drafted a quarterback before - Well big deal! Why did he need to draft a quarterback in the 1st round before? - that Mac Jones is automatically going to be the next Peyton Manning. ...
"I'm more concerned for Bill Belichick's future in New England than I am Mac Jones' future in New England. Because I see a coach who was a perfectionist, who did everything right all those years, who was untouchable, and I see him getting lazy late in his career.
"Nick Saban has never changed. ... He's still the same guy he was 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. Bill Belichick is not!"
- ESPN's SEC Analyst/Yeller at Clouds Paul Finebaum
Damn, Finebaum. You brutal, wild savage! I'm actually aroused by all this anger and vitriol. Imagine how he'd feel if he didn't think Mac Jones was a good quarterback. It staggers the imagination.
I supposed I could take this confused, rambling word soup apart line by line and refute his points one at a time. But just transcribing them was enough to give me a rage boner, so I think it's best to pass. I mean, I could mention that Steve Belichick has been brought up through the ranks. That he was an assistant on the defense that held Sean McVay's 2018 Rams (the 11th highest scoring offense in history at the time) to three points in the Super Bowl. And that in his first full year as the Coordinator Without Title the Pats had the No. 1 defense in the league.
But I don't want to get lost in those weeds any more than I have. I guess my question is: What gave away the fact that Belichick has gotten "lazy" in his old age? Was it the way he held the team together with Zoom meetings when the world was on fire and his players wanted to talk about real life issues? Was it the way they praised him for facilitating the discussions and making them a positive experience for all involved? Was it the way he got his team to keep fighting through a year where they faced the most opt outs, the biggest personnel losses due to Covid and an anemic passing offense?
Was he sleeping in a lot as he put on one of the most aggressive and successful free agent periods in league history? Did he take a lot of personal days as he signed all his targeted players during the legal tampering period before free agency even officially began? Was he traveling for business or pleasure at all those Pro Day workouts he attended? Including the one where he worked out Jones and talked about him at length with Saban as John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan never even spoke to him.
And I suppose the fact he didn't move up to get the quarterback he wanted in the draft was because he was napping in his comfy war room chair. Instead of working hard like the Niners and Bears, mortgaging their future 1sts to get their guys, he lazily stayed at 15 and lazily got the guy he'd carefully scouted, like the lazy, gold-bricking slob he is.
I guess I'm confused about one thing. I thought the knock on Belichick is that he refused to change. Isn't that why Rob Gronkowski retired? Isn't that the reason Brady contractually shot his way out of town? Because Belichick is too old school. Too set in his ways. He works too hard and demands others work too hard and that's why the game passed him by so badly that he hasn't won a Super Bowl in 27 months. Now Mr. Grumpygills from the SEC Network is mad at him because he did change. Or something.
Then again, I think I can clear up my own confusion. The problem isn't that Belichick has suddenly gotten a case of Massachusetts State Worker Disease (of I used to be a carrier). It's that he's refused to go away. One year of being one and done in the playoffs followed by missing the playoffs and they were ready to bury him. But he's come back in 2021 and unleashed his fury like the crashing of a thousand waves. He is untethered and his rage knows no bounds. And for that, the people who though his demise was at hand feel the need to irrationally attack him, logic and common sense be damned. Even when he makes a shrewd draft day move they agree with. And that's fine. It's great in fact. It proves that this Golden God is still in the game. When the world stops hating on him, it's then I'll be worried.