Belichick the GM
When Nick Caserio took the Texans job in early January, I tweeted out how Bill Belichick taking on a bigger role is never a bad thing, that when he was more involved in personnel over the last 20 years, the team has had some of their best roster building stretches and I think we are seeing that play out to a tee this offseason.
When Bill Belichick first got to New England, those first five years, Belichick built those teams, his fingerprints were all over those rosters. He brought in his guys and players he wanted to build a championship program. It worked to perfection, acquiring players like Tom Brady, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Deion Branch, Corey Dillon and more, Bill Belichick built a dynasty.
From 2005-2008 it felt like Belichick gave more power to Scott Pioli and the teams personnel suffered because of it. His drafts were headlined by guys like Chad Jackson, Laurence Maroney, Brandon Meriweather. It seemed like Belichick may have intervened a bit during the 2007 offseason but overall from 2005-2008 the roster deteriorated. It really came to ahead in the 2009 season when the Patriots had one of the worst rosters of the Belichick era.
Once Scott Pioli took the Chiefs job and Belichick had to be more involved again the Patriots had arguably their best stretch of team building from 2009-2014. Take a look at those drafts, they drafted players such as Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones, Donta Hightower, Pat Chung, Nate Solder, Aaron Hernandez, Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer. Those drafts along with some nice free agent signing like Danny Amendola and Darrell Revis, Bill Belichick built the 2.0 version of the Patriots dynasty.
Once the roster was back in good shape I believe Belichick did it again and in 2015 handed over more power to an executive, this time Nick Caserio and what happened over the next six years was a major dip in personnel, just like what happened when Pioli took over the reigns in 2005.
Nick Caserio ran this roster into the ground and in 2020 the Patriots had their worst roster under Bill Belichick. Nick Caserio is now gone and low and behold, the Patriots have one of their best and most aggressive offseasons ever. Bill Belichick took over and absolutely hit it out of the park.
As we all know, Scott Pioli went to Kansas City and failed miserably. Now take a look at what Houston is doing this offseason. They have signed like 15 average, low tier free agents. Sounds a lot like the Patriots from the last six years. Nick Caserio is just not up to Bill Belichick’s par, he is going to fail in Houston just like Pioli did in Kansas City.
The Patriots dynasty is all about Bill Belichick. He’s the greatest coach of all time and he’s one of the most underrated and under appreciated GM’s of all time. The popular thing to do is to criticize Belichick for the Patriots poor personnel decisions over the last 21 years but if you take a big picture look at it, you will see that when he takes a step back, goes boobs out in Nantucket with Linda and allows his assistants to take over, that’s when the Patriots make poor personnel decisions.
When Belichick is fully engaged and making all the calls, he builds nothing but fantastic teams. Some of the best teams in NFL history. He is a terrific recruiter, an even better player evaluator and maybe with a little help from Ernie, a salary cap mastermind.
Belichick is back in charge this offseason and it shows. He turned the Patriots roster from one of the worst in the NFL to maybe one of the best in one offseason and it’s not even close to being over. As long as Bill is here, the Patriots franchise is in good hands. There isn’t another coach/GM in football I’d rather have building my team. He’s unquestionably the greatest coach of all time but you can make the case that he’s also the greatest team builder of all time.
Now he just needs to find the next QB but I have complete faith that he will do it, how could you not? He will not only find the next franchise QB but he will do so while also building a roster around that QB that will compete for championships for years to come.