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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

What to Expect from the Patriots Offseason

Rob+Gronkowski+of+the+New+England+Patriots.

Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.

Following a heartbreaking third Super Bowl loss, endless questions surround the future of this New England Patriots’ dynasty. Why didn’t Malcolm Butler play? How much longer will Bill Belichick coach? Is Josh McDaniels returning instead of going to Indianapolis? Is Rob Gronkowski really thinking about retiring? The list goes on, but we’ve really never seen this organization in the midst of this much turmoil since Belichick took over 18 years ago. Even with all the drama, there’s no team out there that could handle these issues better than the Pats.
Let’s start with Belichick. A lot of people think he may have lost some of the locker room because he benched Butler and supposedly cost the team a sixth ring. It absolutely is peculiar that Butler didn’t see the field except for a play on special teams, but we’re talking about Bill Belichick here. He’s not losing the locker room, and he’s not letting angry fans determine when he stops coaching. He’s going to leave on his own terms, which looks like it will be after next season.
Now that McDaniels decided to turn down the Colts job and return as the offensive coordinator of the Patriots, it should be safe to say that he will be the next head coach of the team—it’s just a matter of when. This move is one that should keep Brady happy, ensures the future of the team—which is great for the fans and the Krafts—and also gives Belichick less stress next year. The bottom line is that keeping McDaniels here is the best chance the Patriots have at sustainability post the Brady and Belichick era.
Now to Rob Gronkowski, the most surprising headline of them all. After all the injuries he’s had to deal with, most recently being the concussion, no one would blame him if he decided to walk away from the game. He’s had a great career when healthy and has given his all to the team, but we still shouldn’t buy it. When asked about retirement, he said: “I don’t know where you got that from but I don’t want to get into that right now”, which easily could be to get leverage over Belichick and the Patriots. There’s no question he’s maybe the most dynamic weapon in the NFL when healthy, yet he doesn’t get paid nearly like it. Threatening to retire is the only attempt at a contract sweetener that he has left.
There’s no doubt that the Super Bowl loss was shocking. The way it happened was even worse, giving up 41 points to backup quarterback Nick Foles. However, things could have gotten a lot uglier than they did. It was expected that both coordinators were gone, and at one point in the year it was even rumored that Belichick would walk away. As it stands today, the Patriots have only lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Although this is definitely a blow to the team, Belichick is a much better defensive coach than offensive. With McDaniels returning, there really shouldn’t even be much of a difference in scheme next year on either side of the ball.
Despite the rocky road this year has been, look for New England to persevere and be right back in position for their sixth Lombardi Trophy next season.