There are existential questions for which their is no true answer, because the question itself reveals a much larger truth.
- What is the sound of one hand clapping?
- If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
- What is the shape of water?
- Can one's presence dominate an event if when they are not actually present?
Although that last one can actually be answered if that answer is "Yes, Bill Belichick and the NFL Combine."
He was not present for Wednesday's meet-and-greet. Which prevented none of the top prospects who met him at the Senior Bowl to marvel at how hard he worked coaching that supposedly meaningless exhibition game:
And today we find out that his work in Indy is done before it ever began:
Source - A handful of New England Patriots coaches were at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine this week, including Cam Achord, Joe Judge and Troy Brown.
One who wasn’t present as of Thursday morning: head coach Bill Belichick, who normally visits Indianapolis as part of his pre-draft process. His combine plans — or lack thereof — became a talking point early in the week.
Late Thursday morning, the Patriots confirmed to NESN.com that Belichick isn’t expected to attend this year’s combine. So, barring a surprise appearance, Belichick will veer from his typical pre-draft routine.
Which begs another question: Why? Why would Belichick send his minions to Lucas Oil to do his work for him? Simple. Because he can.
When the NFL and NCAA chose the Patriots staff to coach the Shrine game, they made a Faustian bargain. Sure, they cost gave what seems like a thankless duty. They took up a week of the Pats offseason at a time when every minute of every day is vital as they work to beef up the roster and close the gap between themselves and the AFC's big three of Kansas City, Cincinnati and Buffalo.
But in doing so, they gave GM Bill unfettered access to the cream of this year's prospect crop. There's not a thing left that he can glean from the workouts in Indy that he can't find on the Combine Tracker page on NFL dot com. Or watching it on NFL Network with Nike back in Nantucket. What all these other personnel people are in Indiana to do he did a month ago. Only with more time, attention, and personal interaction with these players than anyone will get this week. The league thought they'd put New England behind in their offseason work, but the other 31 teams are behind them, and are scrambling to catch up.
If he had gone, he'd be spending all his time getting grabassed by lesser executives and coaches, wasting his time trying to glean information from him. Or merely to bask in his presence, hoping to get smarter, just through osmosis. Meanwhile he's relaxing at home getting way more work done like the very lean, but no less mean, fighting machine he is:
Troy Brown and the other assistants gain valuable experience. Joe Judge tries to find his role now that he's been replaced by Bill O'Brien (and still getting paid by the Giants). And anything GM Bill needs to know, they'll let him. But otherwise, the king will focus on the affairs of state, and delegate the minor issues to his vassals. On behalf of everyone in New England, I want to thank the NFL for giving Belichick this major advantage. It's just a pity he won't be available for these college bowls for the foreseeable future. He'll be otherwise occupied coaching his own postseason games.