In response to Low-FB-IQ's comment:
I would only ask the following questions for those that think BB doesn't know what he is doing as a GM.
If BB the GM does not think much of a player to draft him or want him as a FA, what exactly makes you think BB the coach would want the player to play for him?
They might be different titles but are the same person making the same football ability decisions. It is one person with the exact same mindset.
If there was a different GM that everyone wanted and he brought in players instead of BB but then BB cuts half of them because he can't use them because they are not what he is looking for in his system, or they are excellent talents but stupid do you think he plays them? What prevents him from cutting them if he does not think much of them? Do you think he does not eventually pull a Bill Parcells and say hey if they want you to cook the meal they should let you buy the groceries?
Are the people that complain about him as a GM trying to say that a real GM just collects talent and potential in a vacuum, without a coaches marching ordersof what he's looking for? Even if the GM had the final decision he often shares the same vision of the coach and tries to find what the coach is looking for. Do they not realize that BB, and most likely most coaches who know what they are doing, try and find players that fit not only specific roles, but also the team culture and what qualities the coach values in a player? Not just who is the best athlete or has the best CFB stats? If you are questioning the later few things then you are not questioning BB the GM at all. You are questioning BB the coach. That is fine as well, anyone should feel free to question anything they like without ridicule but don't kid yourself or anyone else as to what you are actually questioning.
Anyone can go google and find any report, graph, or table from a dozen sites that will have some opinion based on some specific set of data and requirements that they created to try and put some sort of difinitive stamp of what organizations have done what in regards to team building/drafting, etc.
They are ALL completely subjective to what value is placed on what criteria. Is it more important how many players you drafted are on your team currently? Is it more important how many years each player you drafted stayed on your team? Is it most important how many players you drafted stayed in the league on any team, and for how long? Is it most important how many probowlers or all pro players you drafted, whether they are still on your team or not? Is the number of players who stayed the healthiest and played in the most total number of games in the NFL the most important? Is it most important that a player drafted was successful in any system he played in, for any team, rather than only in specific roles or systems with a specific team? The subjectivity is absolutely endless.
I read most often on here that you can't win without great players. In large part there is a lot of truth to that. At least you can't win without your best players playing or playing their best. No matter how good of a coach you are you also have to have good players playing and playing excellent to win. So if we agree those statements are true, how would people explain away the following?
Since 2005 (9 seasons since Pats won SB last)
patriots 2 seasons of 10 wins or less (both 10 win seasons)
Colts 2 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win season)
ravens 5 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win season)
Steelers 5 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win season)
Packers 5 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win seasons)
Saints 5 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win seasons)
Seahawks 6 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win season)
Bears 6 seasons of 10 wins or less (one 10 win season)
49ers 6 seasons of 10 wins or less (zero 10 win seasons)
Broncos 6 seasons of 10 wins or less (zero 10 win seasons)
Giants 7 seasons of 10 wins or less (two 10 win seasons)
eagles 8 seasons of 10 wins or less (three 10 win seasons)
Cardinals 9 seasons of 10 wins or less (two 10 win seasons)
So even after 3 superbowls in 4 years the Patriots have still never had a single season with less than 10 wins.
Not one organization that has played in a superbowl since 2004 can say that. NOT one.? Other than the Patriots.
How do they win so much? They must have talent. I know BB and Brady and great but we just agreed you can't win without talent. People can not have the argument both ways. This is NOT to say BB as a GM is "the best". I do not think there is anyone who can quantify that or say that any GM is this or that as any sort of fact.
However, you do not win at that rate, or have an undefeated regular season, or make it to two more superbowls without doing very well for yourself in the team building department.
To put a final stamp of my two cents on the subject let's look at the two superbowl losses.
In each case the game was able to be pretty much be sealed away by arguably some of or the most talented players on the team.
2007 Harrison and Samuel, at the time beloved by Patriots fans and widely accepted as excellent players. Samuel by simply holding on to a pass thrown into his hands and Harrison by simply pulling a mans single arm away from his body while using both his arms to do so. Both failed miserably. This was NOT a lack of the GM not having talent on the team. It was a epic failure by exceptional talent in the biggest moment.
2011 Brady and Welker have a broken coverage play and only need to complete an easy pitch and catch to most likely seal the game. Brady either grips that ball too tightly or gets too excited and rushes it. He throws a horrendous pass and Welker, although needing to twist in the air and slam to the ground upside down, has his hands on it and can not maintain possession from the impact. Both players arguably the single best players in the league, at the time, at their respective positions. Again, that was NOT a lack of the GM not having talent on the team. It was a epic failure by exceptional talent in the biggest moment.
To be clear, I am NOT saying those things are the reasons for the losses. Only that they were game defining moments of the games that were failed by the best of talents not the weakest of talents. Remember what I said, you can not win without your best players playing in the bigs games AND playing exceptional.
I honeslty do not know how anyone of sane mind can not look at the data, difficulties of sustainability in a parity/salary cap era, etc and come to the conclusions that BB as a GM is awful, stinks, or even just average. He's clearly proven otherwise. Even if you only wanted to say he was the 10th best. That still seems better than average to me and a heck of a lot better than awful, stinks or even the worst.
This is a good past Low Football IQ. I think you are absolutely correct that no team could win as much of the Pats without being talented. Coaching and schemes are very important in football, but talent still wins games. And the Pats are very talented. Brady, Mankins, Gronk, Welker, Wilfork, Mayo, Talib, and even (as a Special Teams guy) Slater are elite players in the league. Other guys like Vollmer, McCourty, Chandler Jones, Ghostkowski are knocking at the door. And BB has lots of good mid-tier players, some with potential to be better (Vereen, Ridley, Solder, Edelman, Hightower, Nink, maybe Dennard, and probably some others).
Still, if you are an objective observer of the team, I don't know how you can deny that talent gaps have hurt the team in the playoffs starting in 2009. (2007 is different--in my opinion that was a very good team that caught a bad match-up at the wrong time, with an ageing and dinged up offensive line having to face a young and very talented defensive front playing its best.) The biggest issue through most of the last five seasons has been a very poor secondary. It's better with Talib in the mix, but before Talib it was awful. The stats in 2010, 2011, and the parts of 2012 without Talib don't lie. The defense gave up big pass plays in droves, often to very bad QBs (remember Orlovsky against them?). The team won because it scored points in droves too. The explosive O'Brien offenses (despised by many here, despite being very good) compensated for the poor pass defense. The problem on offense, however, has been limited weapons in the skill positions beyond Gronk and Welker. Take Gronk out of the game and the explosive offense tends to fizzle. That was the case in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The lack of a decent, larger outside receiver has been a continuing problem for the Pats since Moss started to decline in 2009 / 2010. If you pull Gronk out of the line-up, they really have no one in the passing game who wins one-on-one match-ups in tight coverage, nor have they had anyone who is a truly good downfield receiver who take the top off the defense when they need to force safeties back. The Denver playoff game this year was a perfect example--Denver's defense loaded up the box all first half, leaving just one safety back because they had absolutely no respect for our receivers. We lost the Denver game mostly because our defense couldn't disrupt the timing of the Manning-led passing game, but we were lame on offense because our receivers simply weren't good enough to force the Denver defense back from the LOS.
Over the past five seasons, you can point out other, less significant weakness in talent too, which also contributed to playoff losses: the LBs and DLs have not been consistently strong (with journeyman starters like Gary Guyton and Tully Banta Cain and Kyle Love and Derrick Burgess). And the offensive line has had weaknesses on the interior. Injuries, of course, make the situation worse, but there are underlying talent weaknesses that become more significant when key players who cover for those weaknesses (like Gronk or Talib) are hurt.
I'm not saying Belichick is a bad GM because of these weaknesses--every team has weaknesses--but let's not pretend the weaknesses aren't there. Talent wins games . . . and lack of talent loses them. It's undeniable that we've lacked sufficient talent in many of our playoff games since 2009. Injury (especially to Gronk) may have been the key factor in leaving us deficient in talent, but you can't totally ignore the problems building the secondary (lots of failed draft picks) or the lack of attention to the outside WR position (more a choice, I think).
Finally, just a comment on the playoff games themselves. While it's true the Pats lost a very close Super Bowl game in 2011, the fact that that game was close is, in my opinion, symptomatic of the talent issues when Gronk is out. I think that Giants team was a fairly weak Super Bowl opponent. Of course, any Super Bowl team is good, but the Giants were one of the weaker Super Bowl teams in years. They didn't have a particularly good record that year and fell apart right after the Super Bowl. The Pats made that Super Bowl with a lot of luck--having to face a lame Tebow-led offense in their first game, then getting very lucky to beat Baltimore in the AFC Championship game. In 2009, the Pats were blown out, with poor defensive plays and an offense that could do nothing with a heavy reliance on a declining Moss and the lack of a decent running game. In 2010, we had bonehead plays by secondary players who were drafted with high picks (Chung on the punt and Merriweather in the second half). In 2012, with Gronk and Talib out, we were absolutely manhandled at home by the Ravens. And last year, we beat a Colts team with a poor defense and then got destroyed by the Broncos.
A lot of people say we lost two Super Bowls because of one or two lucky bounces. But if a game comes down to just one or two lucky plays, then you really haven't played well enough to earn your victory. Seattle, for instance, could have withstood multiple lucky bounces against Denver and still won. Similarly, Denver could have withstood multiple lucky bounces by the Pats and won in the AFC Championship. Going back to the Pats Super Bowl victory against Carolina, that's exactly what the Pats did. They dominated on defense for three quarters and when things got crazy in the fourth quarter, they were able to survive the Panther's getting a few lucky plays and still win the game. When I look at the playoff losses starting in 2009, I see three games that were blowouts where the Pats had little chance. I see two games--Jets in 2010 and Giants in 2011--where the Pats were close, but against mediocre playoff teams. This isn't, in my mind, a terribly impressive set of playoff games. And in all those games I see the primary reason for the losses as gaps in talent which led to execution failures.
I certainly don't agree with what certain posters seem to think: that we lost because of the use of the shotgun or because we didn't run enough. Playcalling isn't the issue in my opinion. In the end, the teams that beat us were more talented, had more advantageous match-ups against us, and simply executed better.