New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick caused consternation among fantasy football fans on Saturday afternoon. He and the team activated running back Sony Michel from Injured Reserve. This roster move opened the door for the former first-round draft pick to play on Sunday against the Houston Texans and irritated some football fans.
The reason for some of the reactions was that running back Damien Harris has been on the upswing. The former Alabama star was rarely used during his rookie season — only rushing for 12 yards — but slowly worked his way into the rotation in 2020. He has posted three 100-yard games and scored his first career touchdown. The next game on the schedule is against the Houston Texans, one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, but now fans are expressing concern about Harris' usage.
Everyone right now towards, Bill Belichick pic.twitter.com/XE6iRgdnkV— The Fantasy Football Schmucks (@FFSchmucks) November 21, 2020
"If he gets snaps over Damien after what we’ve seen then Bill is officially in tank mode," one fan commented. Several others agreed with similar tweets about Harris and his number of snaps on Sunday. They expressed the opinion that Belichick would only "mess up" the offense by using Michel during a game against the woebegone Texans defense.
The concept of "tanking" has been a common theme when discussing the Patriots in 2020. The team has struggled to remain competitive in several games due to issues on both offense and defense. The Patriots sit in third place in the AFC East with a 4-5 record, which is a major surprise to the fanbase. Some have proclaimed that the team is just bad while others have theorized that Belichick is purposely "tanking" in order to draft Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Belichick has previously addressed the season's struggles while speaking to reporters. He actually provided a very simple explanation. According to the head coach, the Patriots just don't have the talent to compete in 2020 or the available funds to bring in players that would drastically improve the roster.
"Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million," Belichick said. "I mean it's obvious we didn't have any money. It's nobody's fault. That's what we did in the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in an AFC championship game. This year we had less to work with. It's not an excuse, it's just a fact."