WEEI’s Andy Hart is hoping that Bill Belichick, famed head coach of the New England Patriots, will take a cue from Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, and spend some time cleaning house. Specifically, Hart wants to see Belichick part ways with veteran quarterback Cam Newton. He writes:
When Brad Stevens was promoted from head coach to President of Basketball Operations of the Celtics, Bill Belichick noted that his cross-town coaching contemporary had “helped” him over the years as their friendship grew via shared professional sports experiences.
As Stevens took over for a retiring Danny Ainge earlier this month, he ascended to a role similar to what Belichick has held for two decades in New England – top decision-maker.
And Stevens’ first move running the Celtics – trading point guard Kemba Walker to the Thunder late last week – might just be a transaction that could indeed “help” Belichick make a tough decision of his own.
Think about it.
Walker was an aging former star whose best days, time reaching All-Star status in Charlotte, are clearly behind him.
The thirty-something scorer is best known at this point for his bright smile and positive attitude, no longer able to play at a high level consistently.
Though Walker arrived in Boston as a palatable replacement for a departing superstar when Kyrie Irving bolted Boston for Brooklyn, he just never could really live up to the hopeful hype.
A balky knee derailed his contributions and his presence seemingly just didn’t fit with the future of the Celtics, failing to mesh with young, developing stars and franchise pillars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Huh, think this sounds somewhat familiar to Belichick?
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton arrived in New England as, at the time, a potentially productive replacement for fleeing free agent GOAT Tom Brady.
After reaching MVP status earlier in his career in Charlotte, he was the type of veteran alpha who might be able to stabilize the Patriots QB job even if his best days were behind him, fill the unfillable shoes.
Though he had some initial success, Newton swiftly showed that he was a shell of his former self. He was no longer able to play consistently at a high level, or even a competitive level, in his early 30s, a past shoulder injury seemingly leaving him unable to muster up NFL-caliber throws with any regularity.
Now, like Walker, Newton is best known for his big, bright smile and the positive, nickname-fueling energy that he brings to his team.
Much the way that Walker’s continued existence in Boston likely would have stunted the growth of Tatum and Brown while keeping the Celtics from returning to title-contender status, Newton remaining in Foxborough by definition will delay or diminish of the development of first-round rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
So what did newly-minted top Boston basketball dog Stevens do in his first few weeks running the Celtics? Now in full control, able to make up for Ainge’s regrettable reactionary deal to bring Walker to Boston, Stevens moved on from Walker. He did what’s in the best interests of the Celtics. He made a tough move.
He did what Belichick has done in the past with so many other players that didn’t fit or overstayed their welcome contributions in New England.
Here’s hoping that Belichick, now entrenched in the short, rare down time of the NFL calendar, was paying attention to his pal Stevens.
Let’s hope that rather than burying his head in the Nantucket sand, Belichick was taking notes as Stevens did what he felt he had to do to move what are now very much his Celtics in the right direction.
Just because a guy was once really good in Charlotte.
Just because a guy brings a smile to the job and a positive energy to the team.
Just because a guy has an impressive resume and at one point seemed like a good fit for the job.
Doesn’t mean he has to keep getting chances to prove that he’s indeed not the guy to get the job done.
At some point over the last two years coaching the Celtics, Stevens learned that lesson regarding Walker. As soon as he could do something about it, he acted swiftly, decisively and without emotion.
At the time Stevens was promoted, Belichick said, “I’m sure whatever the setup is over there, I’m sure he’ll enhance it and the Celtics will continue to be a strong, competitive team that honestly, they pretty much have always been.”
To reach that goal, Stevens realized that Walker had to go. Now.
If the Patriots are going to get back to being the “strong, competitive team that honestly, they pretty much have always been” they have to, as owner Robert Kraft declared this spring, solidify the quarterback position.
That means moving on from Newton.
Action Line: Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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