Bill Belichick is in his 49th season coaching in the NFL, and his 24th as head coach of the Patriots. He is the only coach to win six Super Bowls. The Patriots didn’t have any Super Bowl wins before he came here.
Belichick has been on an undeniably great run during his time in New England.
But along with his greatness comes stubbornness.
“Bill is going to be Bill. He’s not going to resort to something he hasn’t done before,” former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk told Boston.com. “It doesn’t matter what. How long has Bill been coaching? Probably longer than you or I have been alive. Think about it. If you have a routine that you’re in, are you going to break that routine? He’s not going to break that routine no matter what.”
The Patriots have an issue at the quarterback position. Mac Jones, who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, was benched four times before the Patriots decided to start Bailey Zappe on Sunday. The Patriots started Jones 11 times in a row before finally deciding to try someone else.
Zappe didn’t have any turnovers in his first start of the season, but the offense didn’t score any points either. The Patriots are the first team since 1938 to lose three consecutive games while allowing 10 points or less in each game.
The Patriots have another option at quarterback in Malik Cunningham who has yet to throw a pass all season. He’s a “dangerous dude” with the football in his hands, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said last week. He’s a mobile quarterback who showed during the preseason that he can make plays with his legs.
But, Cunningham has primarily been working in practice as a receiver.
A motto that Faulk lived by during his time in New England was: “The more you can do, the longer you can stay around.” Patriots owner Robert Kraft once referred to Faulk as a Swiss Army knife because of his versatility as a runner and pass catcher. Faulk said the No. 1 reason he was able to stay with the Patriots so long was because he learned how to pass block and protect Tom Brady. Cunningham has demonstrated a similar approach so far, taking practice snaps at quarterback, receiver, and gunner on special teams.
So, does Faulk have any advice for the versatile rookie?
“Be patient,” Faulk said. “If it ain’t here, it’s going to be somewhere else. If you trust in God, it’s going to be somewhere. Business, you know?”
Rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte was playing for LSU when Faulk was on the staff as a running backs coach.
“He’s quiet, but needs to talk a little more,” Faulk said. “He’ll get it, he’ll figure it out. He’s still young. Really good athlete. Really good football player. For me, I think he came to the right place. He just has to embrace it and understand it sometimes.”
Boutte was inactive again on Sunday. He has played in three of New England’s 12 games this season.
“Take that. Learn that lesson. Understand that lesson,” Faulk said. “Don’t be emotional about it, because that’s us as a competitor. Why am I not playing? Why am I not doing this? Don’t get emotionally attached to that. Put your head down and keep working. Everything else will work itself out.”
Faulk didn’t sugarcoat how he feels about watching the Patriots these days. New England is 2-10 this season. The team’s performance has been “horrible,” Faulk said.
But, he still has faith in Belichick.
“He’s not going to break that routine,” Faulk said. “Now, for me? It needs to be broken at some point, for certain things. But, how can you argue with the guy? He’s done this. He’s brought teams together that you go back and look at and you’ll be like ‘how the hell did he get those guys to play together’?”
“I laugh at people when they talk about the Patriot Way,” Faulk added. “The Patriot Way ain’t nothing but guys understanding and adapting, and they just want to win. They want to win football games.”
Khari Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.