Patriots

Bill Belichick praised the Patriots’ effort in 2021, and is already focused on turning the page to next season

“I think we need to, and will, go back and take a longer view of everything,” the coach said.

Adrian Kraus
Bill Belichick and the Patriots lost to the Bills on Saturday in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

The morning after a crushing defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the NFL playoffs, Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened a conference call with the media on Sunday with praise for the efforts of the entire organization.

“I have a lot of respect for the players and coaches and just in general the team, the support people. This group has worked extremely hard and they’ve given their best, we’ve all given our best, and it obviously didn’t work out for us the way we wanted it to last night,” Belichick said.

Belichick also said he would begin the process of turning the page to next season with player evaluations and other assessments.

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“I think we need to, and will, go back and take a longer view of everything,” he said.

When asked about his own desire to return for another season, Belichick indicated he would be back.

“I’d say that would be accurate,” he said.

The Patriots lost, 47-17, on Saturday after finishing the season 10-7. After losing four of their first six games, the Patriots surged back into playoff contention by winning seven straight. But after a late-season bye week in December, the Patriots lost four of their final five games, including two to the Bills.

“We’ll take a good long look, again, not just at one game but at all 18,” he said. “Last night’s game was the least competitive game that we played last year. Is that what we are or is that a bad night? We’ll see when we start playing next year, I guess.”

Quarterback Mac Jones, the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, headlined a group of new players who played key roles this season.

“Mac helped us a lot. I look forward to working with him next year,” Belichick said. “We all have things to work on, that goes for every player, and that’ll be part of the conversation with every player and for the coaching staff.”

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Running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive lineman Christian Barmore also received significant playing time.

“I thought in general our rookie class was a mature class, they handled things well,” Belichick said. “But, it was their first year, and hopefully they’ll learn and grow from it and be able to use the experience this year to move to a higher level next year.”

Belichick declined to identify any members of his coaching staff whom other teams may have requested to interview for coaching vacancies, but was prepared for the possibility of coaching staff turnover.

“However those situations turn out, generally speaking, that’s out of our control, so we’ll see what happens,” Belichick said. “If something happens, then we’ll adjust to it and react to it.”

He also praised his coaching staff and said it was understandable that other teams may be interested in their services.

“We have a lot of good coaches. It’s not surprising that other teams would be interested in talking to them, or other staff members – it’s the same thing with the scouting staff – we basically have that every single year,” Belichick said.

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