The NFL world is starting to notice Bill Belichick’s biggest flaw – .

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The NFL world is starting to notice Bill Belichick’s biggest flaw – .


Bill Belichick was one of the most forward-thinking head coaches in the NFL during his Hall of Fame career. Until now, apparently.

As analytics play an increasingly important role in team decision-making, Belichick has suddenly become the most conservative coach in the league. According to the Boston Globe, there have been seven instances throughout the season where Belichick chose not to enter in fourth place when scans said to do so. They’ve been there only three times this season – twice in garbage time at the end of the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to the Saints.

Two of the decisions were losers. Belichick chose to throw a 56-yard field goal in the fourth and third in the rain against the Bucs, which resonated with the amount. Against the Cowboys, he kicked in overtime on another fourth and three, allowing Dak Prescott to roam the field for a winning touchdown.

It’s a stark contrast to Belichick’s coaching story, which was primarily tied to Tom Brady. His Patriots were in the top 10 in eight fourth down attempts from 2000 to 2009, a time when coaches went much less often than they do now. It looks like the rest of the league has moved forward, it has retreated.

Bill Belichick trains against the Cowboys
Getty Images

Maybe he doesn’t trust rookie quarterback Mac Jones yet, but whatever the reason, people have noticed.

“The head coach’s conservatism is actually holding this team back,” ESPN personality Mina Kimes said on “NFL Live.”

“His lack of faith, frankly, in the rookie quarterback. You see them opening the playbook a bit, but you have to see them making more decisions… He just saw his quarterback make one of the best plays of his entire season so far, which goes to Kendrick Bourne (against the Cowboys). How not to believe in his ability to bring down the fourth?

The Patriots are 2-4 and are set to be excluded from the playoff race just six weeks into the season. They could arguably be 4-2, if Belichick had chosen to be aggressive in those Tampa Bay and Dallas games. It’s one thing to trust your defense – New England are currently 11th in the league in defensive DVOA – but it was against the Buccaneers and Cowboys, arguably the two best offensives in the league.

It will be interesting to see if he changes course as he gains confidence in Jones. So far, being conservative has not worked.

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