Morning Sports Update

‘Bill’s at his best when everybody doubts him’: Michael Lombardi backed Bill Belichick’s approach

"I laugh at people who say Bill doesn't know anything about offense."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during a press conference on Aug. 29, 2022. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Red Sox lost to the Twins 10-5 on Tuesday. Boston will try to avoid the series sweep tonight in the finale against Minnesota at 7:40 p.m.

Also tonight, the Revolution host the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m.

Michael Lombardi’s view of the Patriots’ play-calling: Speaking in an interview with the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, former Patriots front office executive Michael Lombardi was asked why he thinks Bill Belichick made the decision to change the team’s offense.

Lombardi, who was a Patriots assistant in 2014-2015 (and was previously an NFL front office executive with the Browns, Eagles, and Raiders) noted that after a 20-year run with one quarterback (Tom Brady) and a string of offensive coordinators (including Josh McDaniels and Bill O’Brien), New England’s offensive system was too expansive. In Lombardi’s view, a new emphasis has been placed on making the playbook more approachable.

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“I think Bill’s intention was always to get back to where he could get the younger players to play quicker,” he explained.

As for who will run the offense, Lombardi said he thinks it will eventually be Belichick himself.

“I think this is much bigger than who’s calling the plays, I think this is about who’s the voice of the offense, and I think Mac probably needs Bill’s voice more than anybody,” Lombardi continued. “This is not a disparaging word to [Matt] Patricia or [Joe] Judge. I just think the only guy that really will have the ability to run the offense effectively for the year will be Bill.

“I laugh at people who say Bill doesn’t know anything about offense,” Lombardi added. “Oh really? Ask any offensive coordinator if he doesn’t know anything about offense. He understands the game completely.”

Lombardi concluded that he thinks the Patriots offense is a “work in progress” but that he’s “sure they’ll get it fixed.”

“I think Mac, when I watched him last week, I think Mac’s going to be a really good player,” said Lombardi.

As for Belichick, Lombardi noted that the longtime Patriots coach has tended to thrive in adversity.

“I think Bill’s at his best when everybody doubts him.”

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On this day: In 1990, the Red Sox completed a deal with the Astros to acquire relief pitcher Larry Anderson in exchange for first baseman Jeff Bagwell.

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Anderson, then 37, pitched well for Boston in the remaining games of the season. He posted a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings out of the bullpen. The Red Sox won the American League East, but were swept in the playoffs by the Athletics.

Of course, the deal is notable in retrospect because of Bagwell’s eventual career achievements. The Boston-born infielder was then a minor leaguer, but had won the Eastern League MVP playing for the Double-A New Britain Red Sox. In 136 games, he hit .333 (leading the league in hits and doubles).

Though Houston initially hesitated on the deal because of Bagwell’s apparent lack of power (he hit just four home runs in Double-A), they were eventually convinced by local scout Stan Benjamin, who told Astros management that it was more due to the dimensions of New Britain’s home venue.

“Babe Ruth couldn’t hit home runs in that ballpark,” he reportedly told Houston.

The Astros eventually came around on Bagwell, the deal got done, and a potential local hero was dealt away from Boston.

Bagwell went on to win Rookie of the Year (eventually an MVP as well), record nine seasons with at least 30 home runs, and finish his career as a Hall of Famer.

1990 Jeff Bagwell Trade

Daily highlight: Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old from Spain, won his US Open first round match on Tuesday, which also included an incredible “tweener” shot to save break point.

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