Boy, for a guy who leaves no doubt about his disinterest in New England Patriots fans' wishes, Bill Belichick is doing a great job of appeasing the masses in the early to middle stages of this offseason.
Ever since the aftermath of the disappointing 2009 season, when Dean Pees resigned as defensive coordinator of an unimposing and mistake-ridden unit, the criticisms from Patriots fans and the media have been clear.
The team needed to focus on defense, it had to address the pass rush and Belichick had to spread out his responsibility. Belichick surely does his best to wall himself off to public opinion, but this year, you would think he's holding a suggestions box outside of Gillette Stadium, and checking it diligently.
There wasn't that annual head-scratcher in April's draft, where Belichick overlooks an obvious position of need to secure a value pick at one with more depth. Instead, the Patriots' draft went by the books.
A pass-rusher, a player type Belichick has typically shied away from on draft day, went first. Then the team picked a linebacker for its thin corps. Then there was a safety, another pass-rushing end, a corner and another corner. A seventh-rounder was used on a receiver, but for the most part, it was all defense, all the time.
Tavon Wilson in the second round was the most perplexing pick, but it was at least at safety, a position the Patriots needed help in right away.
Then there was the news from last week, that Belichick was handing the defensive coordinator duties to de facto coordinator Matt Patricia, whose responsibility had been steadily rising over the past two years. For the first time since 2008, New England has the standard trio of a head coach, an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator.
It's hard to complain about anything around Foxboro these days. The team is coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, the defense has been addressed (and will likely continue to be) and the coaching situation is at its most stable point in years. Patriots fans, Belichick may not hear you, but he's doing work on your to-do lists.
Even the supposedly nasty, mis-handled Wes Welker situation is working out for Belichick. Turns out, Welker is all signed up under the franchise tag and ready to go for this next season. So much for a long, bitter holdout.
In fact, if Belichick keeps to his form so far, Welker could have a nice, long extension coming his way shortly. It's just been that kind of offseason so far around Patriot Place.
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