It’s normal for the media and fans of the New England Patriots to question Bill Belichick the general manager. For the last three seasons he was unable to surround Tom Brady and Cam Newton with legitimate offensive weapons. He missed on the draft with guys like Duke Dawson, Sony Michel, and N’Keal Harry. What is rare to hear is questions about Bill Belichick the coach, outside of benching Malcolm Butler for Super Bowl 52, there hasn’t been a lot to criticize. But, with the Patriots now sitting at 2-5, Belichick is being scrutinized more than he ever has before, and when it comes to underusing emerging star Chase Winovich, it’s difficult to defend Belichick’s decisions.
Chase Winovich came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, for the first four games of the season, Winovich was a candidate to be the DPN Commentary player of the game in all four games, winning the honors week 1, when the Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins. The last three games against the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, and the Buffalo Bills, Winovich has been on the field on average for 20.9% of the Patriots defensive plays, and was basically benched against the Bills, only playing 8.6% of the snaps.
The Patriots are known to play situational football, and that seems to be the main reason that Winovich hasn’t been able to find himself on the field.
“Just been situational, he’s a good player,” Bill Belichick said. Just some weekly decisions based on game plans and so forth”
Belichick is referring to Winovich being used almost exclusively in the pass rush, because the Patriots are one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, Winovich finds himself on the sideline watching teams run the football down the Patriots throats. Third and shorts are not obvious pass situations, and when a team like the Buffalo Bills who were ranked the 29th worst run offense in the NFL put up 190 rushing yards, and average 5 yards per carry, it’s not going to give Winovich many opportunities to play.
Winovich didn’t record a tackle in the Buffalo games, but when he was on the field he was dominant. He and rookie Josh Uche made Josh Allen’s life miserable when they were on the field, and it is indicative that Belichick and his defensive staff need to find a way to get both players involved more, even in the run game.
The Patriots run defense is playing so poorly, it’s not like giving Winovich more opportunities to play is going to somehow hurt the defense. Ja’Whaun Bentley has been one of the Patriots worst run defenders, he misses open field tackles, he was bullied by the Bills Zack Moss, and Jimmy Garoppolo was able to out muscle him for five additional running yards that allowed the 49ers to convert a 3rd and 8, and yet he finds himself on the field for most of the game, So since the defense is playing so poorly, and the Patriots are not even sniffing the playoffs right now, what’s stopping Belichick from getting Winovich involved in every aspect of the defense, let him learn, and see what he’s got.
The Patriots have a great opportunity to build upon the duo of Winovich and Uche, but if Bill Belichick pigeon holes them, and doesn’t allow his young talent to grow, especially in a season that doesn’t really matter anymore, Bill Belichick the coach could blow a prime opportunity to mold two great defenders that Bill Belichick the general manager drafted.Tags: 49ers, Bill Belichick, Bills, Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, New England Patriots, NFL, NFL News, Patriots, Patriots News, Zack Moss Last modified: November 6, 2020