New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick might be unsure what the future holds, but he realizes now certainly isn’t the time to get sentimental.
Belichick has patrolled the New England sideline for the past 24 seasons, but doubts have doubled that he’ll return for a 25th as the Patriots prepare to face the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, Mass.
NFL Network reported last Sunday that Patriots owner Robert Kraft has yet to speak with Belichick about a potential return in 2024. Belichick getting fired is unlikely, but a mutual decision to part ways is still a possibility, per the report. The tandem that makes up the Patriots’ power center met two days after the season last January, when Belichick emerged to make changes to his coaching staff.
This might not be the offseason Kraft opts to change course. Belichick (333 victories) plans on coaching next season as he chases Don Shula (347) for the all-time wins record, raising the question of whether he can find the right fit elsewhere.
For now, Belichick maintains he’s only focused on beating New York (6-10).
“I’ll deal with that some other time,” Belichick said of reflecting on his time with the Patriots. “Right now, I’ll just try to get the team ready for the Jets.”
The Jets have split their past four games following a five-game skid, most recently falling 37-20 to the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 28.
Trevor Siemian completed 32 of 45 passes for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his second start of the season for New York, which has never fully recovered from losing Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1.
Siemian will start again on Sunday against the Patriots (4-12).
Like Rodgers, running back Dalvin Cook, another offseason addition, was supposed to provide a jolt to the Jets’ offense after rushing for at least 1,000 yards in each of the past four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Cook struggled to make an impact in New York, rushing for 214 yards on 67 carries. He was released on Wednesday.
That could lead to opportunities in the backfield for Breece Hall, who has already been heavily utilized. In addition to leading the team in rushing (186 carries, 816 yards, four TDs), Hall is also second on the team in receptions with 74 for 579 yards and four TDs.
“Earlier in the year, coming off the (torn ACL last season), we were trying to be judicious how we used him,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “We ramped him up, there was a lull in the middle, to get him more opportunities on third down, find ways to get the ball in his hands.
“He’s really starting to hit his stride.”
Quarterback Zach Wilson, tight end Jeremy Ruckert and center Jake Hanson are all in concussion protocol and missed the Jets’ practice on Wednesday. Rodgers (Achilles) and guard Wes Schweitzer (calf) were limited.
New England will attempt to bounce back from last Sunday’s 27-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but it could be without offensive tackle Trent Brown and cornerback Myles Bryant. Both missed Wednesday’s practice due to illnesses.
Tight end Hunter Henry (knee) and safety Jabrill Peppers (hamstring) were among 10 players the Patriots listed as limited.
–Field Level Media
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