Belichick on the pats cap situation: ”We sold out and won three Super Bowls.“

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begranter

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I mean, most of the core of the team on defense opted out, too no?
 

54thMA

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I love the guy, plain and simple.

Players come, players go, as long as he's the coach, I'm good.

I wouldn't want anyone else running ship.
 

kenneycb

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I think he's being very careful not to assign any blame to the players who opted out. He doesn't want to come across as saying "Hey we're losing because those guys stayed home."
Timing of when they opted out matters too. They were operating in the offseason with basically nothing for cap space. Now they have a bunch but that's a function of Chung, Hightower and others opting out later in the offseason after most rosters were already filled.

That's admittedly more for the lazy argument that will come out of "But they have cap space now!!!"
 

BigSoxFan

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Anyone else concerned about what type of players Hightower/Cannon will be after a year off from football? I guess it could go both ways.
 

rodderick

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Did they sell out? Which big contracts did they shell out on those teams? I'm asking honestly because outside of Gilmore (and arguably Mason) I don't recall anyone getting a huge deal and I really don't see any albatrosses right now and even with Brady's dead money I'd wager they're at worst at what the league average team pays for the QB position. Seems more like not getting above average talent for cheap through the draft has killed them more than anything.
 

pappymojo

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Did they sell out? Which big contracts did they shell out on those teams? I'm asking honestly because outside of Gilmore (and arguably Mason) I don't recall anyone getting a huge deal and I really don't see any albatrosses right now and even with Brady's dead money I'd wager they're at worst at what the league average team pays for the QB position. Seems more like not getting above average talent for cheap through the draft has killed them more than anything.
You could certainly argue that the Antonio Brown contract was selling out.
 

rodderick

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You could certainly argue that the Antonio Brown contract was selling out.
Was it? A top tier player that becomes available and wants to play for you at a price below his talent level seems like a move Bill makes 9 times out of 10. It ended up blowing up in their faces but if Brown had kept his nose clean for the whole year I'm pretty sure we'd be talking about what a bargain it was.
 

rodderick

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That wouldn't have helped their QB situation; or WR
Also wasn't anywhere close to most of the core of the defense. It was Chung and Hightower, and I really don't think the former would be giving you much more than Phillips/Dugger are right now. Losing Hightower on the other hand was huge because not only did Collins and Van Not leave in FA, his replacement has arguably been their worst starter on defense.
 

Super Nomario

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Was it? A top tier player that becomes available and wants to play for you at a price below his talent level seems like a move Bill makes 9 times out of 10. It ended up blowing up in their faces but if Brown had kept his nose clean for the whole year I'm pretty sure we'd be talking about what a bargain it was.
It was from the standpoint that they didn't have the money to sign Brown so they kicked a bunch of his cap hit into 2020. They historically have been fairly conservative with pushing cap hits into future years, but starting with the Revis signing they've been more aggressive about it (not as aggressive as teams like the Eagles and Saints, though).
 

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I read this mostly as a subtle reference to the Brady situation (not a criticism of Brady, though). Basically, while they had Brady, they were content to keep kicking the can down the road as long as possible via contract restructurings, etc. But at some point when Brady left in free agency or retired they were inevitably going to be left with the bill to pay, and that's what happened this year. The AB thing is just a smaller offshoot of that.

I agree, though, that in an ideal world you have a bunch of young guys you've recently drafted to rely on when your cap situation makes it difficult to sign a bunch of free agents. And the Pats knew this day was coming so they should have been prepared for it, including by potentially securing a better cheap, long-term heir for Brady than Stidham (easier said than done, I know) and more generally just drafting more NFL-caliber talent. So I think Belichick is right in what he is saying but it's only half of the picture because if they had drafted better over the last 3ish years they'd be a better team, perhaps substantially so.
 

Mystic Merlin

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They did have a QB successor. His name was Jimmy G, but they couldn’t pay both and they obviously weren’t trading Brady in mid-2017.

No doubt their sub-par drafting from 2015 on caught up to them, though.
 

BigJimEd

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Did they sell out? Which big contracts did they shell out on those teams? I'm asking honestly because outside of Gilmore (and arguably Mason) I don't recall anyone getting a huge deal and I really don't see any albatrosses right now and even with Brady's dead money I'd wager they're at worst at what the league average team pays for the QB position. Seems more like not getting above average talent for cheap through the draft has killed them more than anything.
I don't know if you'd call it selling out but they were tight against the cap this offseason. Giving Brady the extra money last offseason followed with the guaranteed money to AB hurt. Here's numbers from Mid-April. They could have let Thuney and McCourty walk but re-signing them pretty much capped them out. As of Mid-April, after those signings but before the opt-out they had 1.2M cap space.

 

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They did have a QB successor. His name was Jimmy G, but they couldn’t pay both and they obviously weren’t trading Brady in mid-2017.

No doubt their sub-par drafting from 2015 on caught up to them, though.
Trading Jimmy was unquestionably the correct move.

Brady is $13 million of dead money on this year’s cap. That’s part of what BB’s referring to. AB has dead money. Trading a pick for Sanu, etc.
 

DJnVa

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And relying on young players this season when there was no training camp and 2 weeks in-season where they practiced a total of 2 times.

Obviously were not 6-1 with those guys getting a camp, but I would wager the talent level would appear to be better because they'd be better.
 

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And relying on young players this season when there was no training camp and 2 weeks in-season where they practiced a total of 2 times.

Obviously were not 6-1 with those guys getting a camp, but I would wager the talent level would appear to be better because they'd be better.
But how much? Could it be a blessing in disguise? They weren't contending this year with or without a full camp, there's just not much talent on the team right now in key spots.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I don't have an argument with anything he said, but it is still strange to hear him say it. I'm not sure who he is talking to, he certainly doesn't give a shit what the media says or does, he shouldn't give a shit if there are disgruntled Pats fans who can't accept one down year in two decades. It wouldn't be like him to be talking to the Krafts via the media. What's the saying they have, control what you can control and ignore the distractions? This seems like him giving air time to something he can't control and that is a potential distraction, and it seems very unlike him.
 
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seeing a lot written about late opt outs...NFL didn't give the option for players to opt out until right before training camp...there was nothing they could do during free agency (looking at you Barnwell)
 

lexrageorge

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They put a lot of eggs in the basket that was last year's team. And we need to realize it wasn't just Antonio Brown's cap number, although it certainly didn't help matters. While the team did not have any exceedingly large contracts, they did (and still do) have a lot of veterans like the McCourty's, Gilmore, Edelman, et al. Add them all up and the cap space got tight.

Belichick made the right move: win when you can, because the Brady window was not going to stay open forever.
 

rodderick

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I don't have an argument with anything he said, but it is still strange to hear him say it. I'm not sure who he is talking to, he certainly doesn't give a shit what the media says or does, he shouldn't give a shit if there are disgruntled Pats fans who can't accept one down year in two decades. It wouldn't be like him to be talking to the Krafts via the media. What's the saying they have, control what you can control and ignore the distractions? This seems like him giving air time to something he can't control and that is a potential distraction, and it seems very unlike him.
My personal opinion is he's pissed he's getting some heat over not winning with a team he believes isn't any good. If this kind of comment came from literally any other HC I'd wager a good portion of this board would call it something akin to good old fashioned excuse making.
 

DJnVa

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If this kind of comment came from literally any other HC I'd wager a good portion of this board would call it something akin to good old fashioned excuse making.
The point is no other coach can make that kind of comment.
 

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My personal opinion is he's pissed he's getting some heat over not winning with a team he believes isn't any good. If this kind of comment came from literally any other HC I'd wager a good portion of this board would call it something akin to good old fashioned excuse making.
I think this is fair.

If nothing else, it's not that great a look when you're known for giving rote answers about coaching better and playing better, all through two decades of winning and dominance, and then when you find yourself stumbling to a 2-5 record, suddenly you want to talk about cap space. It's a little weird. Belichick's not wrong, but it's weird.

I also agree with this:

I think he's being very careful not to assign any blame to the players who opted out. He doesn't want to come across as saying "Hey we're losing because those guys stayed home."
It's a big factor, certainly on defense. It's essentially the same as if all of those guys were put on season-long IR right before camp started. Still had the cap hits sitting on the books during the off-season, then got nothing out of them on the field. They lost players without really getting a true chance to line up replacements.
 

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It's a big factor, certainly on defense. It's essentially the same as if all of those guys were put on season-long IR right before camp started. Still had the cap hits sitting on the books during the off-season, then got nothing out of them on the field. They lost players without really getting a true chance to line up replacements.
But again, other than Hightower and Chung, who opted out on D that's making a difference? The D line is bad, the LB would help having Hightower back but he's not Superman and the backfield isn't an issue right now.
 

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I’ve written this elsewhere, but prior to the season we figured that BB was the best guy to have at the helm of a Covid season. But I think the opposite may be true, because it sheds light on just how important practicing is to the Pats. More than any other year talent wins over scheme this year and the Pats don’t have as much talent.
 

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The point is no other coach can make that kind of comment.
And isn't he basically taking all the blame on himself since he is the GM. He floated the cap and pushed the hit down the road eventually knowing he would have to pay the piper. I think his goal was to keep the Pats going until Brady retired, have a few cap limited down years, and then come back. 3 SB wins in 5 years with 4 appearances, most franchises would gladly take 10 down years to have that period of success. Hell many franchises would take a 1/3 of that success.
 

rodderick

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I loved his comments because it’s the truth. Even if they were 5-2 not 2-5 it was always a transition year to the future given the excellent cap situation the next 2-3 years.
I don't love them because the truth doesn't always need to be said. Does anyone here believe those comments will go well in the locker room? You know, with the HC basically saying "yeah, look, the guys we have aren't good enough" to the media? This to me falls under the same category of Brady's pity party and coy little "they don't appreciate me" comments last year: great for the narrative of the person verbalizing those thoughts, but detrimental to the team.

I mean, I also don't think they are going anywhere but they have also played only seven games, will have an easier schedule going forward and there's an extra playoff spot. Really weird time to openly be talking about how you couldn't expect this team to be competitive.
 

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I loved his comments because he rarely is that open about what they do. If he wants it, he could turn into a media star as an analyst when he hangs them up
 

Soxy

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But again, other than Hightower and Chung, who opted out on D that's making a difference? The D line is bad, the LB would help having Hightower back but he's not Superman and the backfield isn't an issue right now.
Hightower and Chung were the only two players who opted out on defense. That's who I was referring to. Sorry, guess I could have made that more explicit; figured it was implied.

Their run defense has been bad. Tackling has been an issue. Having those two core guys, who play a significant amount of snaps in the box, would make a difference. The LB group is so bad that Mayo could throw on pads and a helmet instead of a headset, and it might be an improvement. There's a reason we all recoil in horror every week when Bentley tries to do something that he is utterly incapable of doing.

The pass defense hasn't been all roses and sunshine either, if we're being honest.
 

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The pass D is ranked:

#11 in opposing passer rating (89.8)
#22 in opposing completion percentage (67.2%)
#9 in opposing passing yards per game (216.9)
#3 in opposing passing TD (9)
#3 in interceptions (9)

And they're doing it while ranking #27 in sacks (10). It's a big drop-off from last year's uber-elite pass defense, but this year's pass defense still has been good.
 

RedOctober3829

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I don't love them because the truth doesn't always need to be said. Does anyone here believe those comments will go well in the locker room? You know, with the HC basically saying "yeah, look, the guys we have aren't good enough" to the media? This to me falls under the same category of Brady's pity party and coy little "they don't appreciate me" comments last year: great for the narrative of the person verbalizing those thoughts, but detrimental to the team.

I mean, I also don't think they are going anywhere but they have also played only seven games, will have an easier schedule going forward and there's an extra playoff spot. Really weird time to openly be talking about how you couldn't expect this team to be competitive.
The guys in the locker room should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they’re 2-5 right now. They have the talent to be better than this, but poor play from a number of players have cost them plus mental mistakes have set them back on a number of drives. He’s not saying they don’t have enough to win. They do.
 

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I loved his comments because he rarely is that open about what they do. If he wants it, he could turn into a media star as an analyst when he hangs them up
Why be so closed mouth about everything for two decades while you win everything and suddenly pull back the curtain when you are 2-5? He’s earned the right to do what he wants but I remain perplexed and it flies in the face of the single-minded, no distractions/no excuses culture he’s built during his tenure here.
 

rodderick

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The guys in the locker room should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they’re 2-5 right now. They have the talent to be better than this, but poor play from a number of players have cost them plus mental mistakes have set them back on a number of drives. He’s not saying they don’t have enough to win. They do.
He absolutely is saying they don't have enough to win. At least not as much as they had in past years.
 

RedOctober3829

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Why be so closed mouth about everything for two decades while you win everything and suddenly pull back the curtain when you are 2-5? He’s earned the right to do what he wants but I remain perplexed and it flies in the face of the single-minded, no distractions/no excuses culture he’s built during his tenure here.
What he says in the media vs locker room are two different stories. Do you really think he’s telling them that this year doesn’t matter because of the cap? If players are hurt by these comments, then we have a lot more to worry about.
 

Ralphwiggum

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What he says in the media vs locker room are two different stories. Do you really think he’s telling them that this year doesn’t matter because of the cap? If players are hurt by these comments, then we have a lot more to worry about.
I’m not concerned about the effect on the players, the team isn’t going anywhere. I’m just saying, comments like this are extremely out of character for him, and in this case are more than a little self serving. I don’t understand the audience nor do I understand the point. He’s the GOAT coach so he can say whatever he wants. I just find it strange and not the BB I thought I knew to say what he said.
 

rodderick

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He said they don’t have as much depth as in prior years which is not saying they don’t have enough to win. The roster he built was not the one he envisioned taking the field in August with Hightower/Chung opting out.
I think the guy who won't expand on the decision to onside kick against the Bills being candid about roster construction and how tight they were against the cap and had no money to spend as justification for their poor record this year is strange, to say the least.

He's clearly peeved that the media is judging him by the Patriots 2020 results without Brady and yeah, it's silly, he's still the GOAT coach, but it's just so out of character for him to make himself the story in a way that not only doesn't take the spotlight from the team, it arguably shines one on its deficiencies.
 

Red Averages

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I think the guy who won't expand on the decision to onside kick against the Bills being candid about roster construction and how tight they were against the cap and had no money to spend as justification for their poor record this year is strange, to say the least.

He's clearly peeved that the media is judging him by the Patriots 2020 results without Brady and yeah, it's silly, he's still the GOAT coach, but it's just so out of character for him to make himself the story in a way that not only doesn't take the spotlight from the team, it arguably shines one on its deficiencies.
I’d argue him making himself the story in a bad year is consistent with how he’s always taken the blame for losses off of the players and given them the success when it has gone well.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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They have a very uneven roster with no front seven that is going to get annihilated against certain teams. Their secondary is elite and built to beat teams like KC, and their OL and RBs are good, but they have a below average QB, no TE (2 years in a row) and no WRs. One 5 yard penalty on this offense kills a drive.

A team so limited on offense that cannot stop the run is not talented, and that is 100% on BB and his horrible drafting over the last 5 years, coupled with an amazing amount of ridiculous Kony Ealy type deals. His comments about going all in are certainly true but only tell a part of the story, and not something that he did the previous 20 years.
 

rodderick

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I’d argue him making himself the story in a bad year is consistent with how he’s always taken the blame for losses off of the players and given them the success when it has gone well.
As I stated, that's not really what he did with these comments. If anything it was the exact opposite. And for those saying he's actually blaming himself as GM for the team's shortcomings, he literally stated it's "nobody's fault" the roster is in the state it is right now.
 

Soxy

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The pass D is ranked:

#11 in opposing passer rating (89.8)
#22 in opposing completion percentage (67.2%)
#9 in opposing passing yards per game (216.9)
#3 in opposing passing TD (9)
#3 in interceptions (9)

And they're doing it while ranking #27 in sacks (10). It's a big drop-off from last year's uber-elite pass defense, but this year's pass defense still has been good.
Teams aren't really throwing the ball much against the Pats. Probably because they can run it just fine, thank you. That makes that interception total stand out, but it takes the bite out of that passing yards and TD ranking. Pats are at the bottom of the league in pass attempts faced, so counting stats aren't really what we want to look at.

On a per-play basis, the pass defense doesn't grade out so well. DVOA is down on them (#23) and they rank poorly in NY/A (7.7), bettering only the Jags and Falcons. Pats were second best in the NFL in NY/A last season, at 5.0. The three teams tied at the bottom had NY/As of 7.4. So, that's not really where you want to be.

Not that I was really trying to dunk on the pass defense. On the list of this team's problems, they're somewhere at the bottom of the list. I was more saying that Chung and Hightower would have helped there too, and they could use the help, because they've taken a step back this season.