Can we stop calling Patriots head coach Bill Belichick a genius now? I’ve said for years that Belichick is only as smart is Tom Brady is good. It’s amazing how smart he looks when Brady throws for 4,500+ yards and 30+ touchdowns a year. When things are going well up in New England the national media tells us how brilliant the hoodie is and how great his player development and scouting skills are compared to those in the rest of the league.
What you don’t hear about are Belichick’s failures and there are quite a few of them in recent seasons. After the NFL lockout the Patriots made two big player transactions, they traded a fifth round pick to the Redskins for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and signed free agent wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. The Pats have always been known for having the ability to transform players that have a reputation of being locker room hazards and making them stars again in New England, but that hasn’t happened this season. After eight weeks, the Patriots cut their losses with Haynesworth who registered just six tackles in a Pats uniform.
Things haven’t been much better for Ochocinco. If you picked up the once dominate Bengals wide receiver in a fantasy league then you know all about his season. Ochocinco has nine catches in the powerful Patriots offense, has totaled just 136 yards and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Belichick the genius?
Those are just two players. Everyone knows that good teams tend to grow through the draft. So let’s take a look at what New England did in April. The Pats signed offensive lineman Nate Solder in the first round, cornerback Ras-I Dowling and running back Shane Vereen in the second round, running back Stevan Ridley and quarterback Ryan Mallet in the third round.
Only Vareen has played consistently for the Patriots. Rather than burning two picks on running backs in the second and third round and signing Chad Ochocinco the Patriots could have drafted Torrey Smith who just scored a game winning touchdown on Sunday Night Football in Pittsburgh. Thankfully they didn’t.