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Reload vs. Rebuild


(Michael Wagstaffe / Yahoo Sports iilustration) 


By Jay Hart

There’s always more than one way to get from Point A to Point B. It’s just that one tends to be quicker than the others.

You can take the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and it’s pretty and all, but man, that drive is a grind that will wear you out for 10-plus hours. Or you can hop on the 5, sit in an In-N-Out drive-thru line for 20 minutes, and still get up there in around six hours.

This is a roundabout way of getting into a comparison of how two different organizations are handling their rookie quarterbacks. In the PCH camp you have the Chicago Bears, who are committed to the 10-plus hour drive to reach their destination. On the flip side is Bill Belichick, who has no time for stupid scenic overlooks no matter how beautiful they might be.

Belichick and the Patriots cut Cam Newton Tuesday, a ruthless football-is-a-business move that leaves no doubt — inside the Foxborough walls or out — that the future of the organization is now in the hands of Mac Jones. They believe in him and themselves enough to get on with it without messing around any further.

Meanwhile, Matt Nagy and the Bears are pussyfooting around the timing of when to start their rookie QB. Going with Andy Dalton in Week 1 may be a ploy to steer Justin Fields clear of the Rams two Sundays from now, but it still shows weakness, if not in Fields then in the team they’ve built around him.

For 20 years the Patriots lived with the luxury of having a constant under center. When he finally left, it took them all of one year to hone in on a replacement and just a few weeks to commit to him. This isn’t to say that Jones will have them in Los Angeles come February, but it’s also not as if the Patriots view 2021 as a rebuild.

That’s the big difference between New England and Chicago. The Patriots, with all those Lombardis, still operate with a sense of urgency. The Bears, with one trophy from way back in 1986, are always building towards next year. At some point, the respective mindsets get ingrained in the culture, and the culture becomes who you are.

And who the Patriots are is an organization that doesn’t want to waste any time getting to where it wants to go, while the Bears are constantly running around in circles.

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