Pats' biggest offseason win: Keeping coaching staff intact

Pats' biggest offseason win: Keeping coaching staff intact

Covering the NFL for almost 20 years allows you to make relationships with a bunch of people. So I thought I'd tap into some of those people as we gear up for New England Patriots training camp for a series of pieces about topics we've been kicking around.

OTHER TOPICS

The panel consists of one former Pats player still in the game, two scouts of AFC teams, one front-office member in the AFC, and one NFC scout. They all requested anonymity for obvious reasons (as the player said, "hey, I might want to end up back there!") I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had talking to these guys.

Today's topic: How do you judge the Patriots' coaching staff?

Scout 1: All the additions they made from a personnel side this offseason attracted all the attention, but the reality is keeping the coaching staff intact for another year was quite the coup. Buzz around the league was at least one of the [Josh] McDaniels/[Matt] Patricia coordinator duo would be gone. For me, it’s probably too early to give Patricia that kind of responsibility. I know as a league, we’re trending younger with some of the hires, but the more experience a coach can get, the better equipped he’ll be to handle the variety of situations that pop up. Look at Josh in Denver. Over his head. Now? One of the best coaches in the business, head coach or coordinator wise.

Scout 2: If any coach is going to have a chance to break out of [Bill] Belichick’s shadow, it’s Josh. The way they prepared [Jimmy] Garoppolo for [last year's season opener at] Arizona and then [the second game against] Miami were the stuff you put at the top of the resume. [Garoppolo] looked like a different player than the one we saw in the preseason. That’s because of the big brains on that OC. Any worries about what happened in Denver?  No. God no. He got a crack too soon. The [Jay] Cutler decision was polarizing. I think that’s part of why he’s waiting around now. Don’t jump at the first or second job. Find the one where some of the key pieces are in place. As for Patricia, that shirt (the Goodell clown shirt he wore on the plane home from the Super Bowl) was the kind of the decision that owners across the league might say, ‘Whoa.’ He got caught up in the emotion. He’ll have to answer for that in an interview if a team has done their homework but he can explain it away. If he’s the right guy, I’d imagine he’ll be able to get past that.

Scout 3: Patricia reminds me so much of Romeo [Crennel]. Not so much body language but those guys on the defense love him, just like they did with RAC. He gets the most out of each and every one of them. But will that translate to the next step? Maybe, maybe not, but the fact he remains on that staff, under Bill, alongside Josh, is terrific for them but not so much for everyone else. They don’t have to build back up. They’re already established. The players know that and their fellow coaches know that. Bill wins, again.

Ex-Patriot/current NFL player: They know their shit. They have the respect of their players. You know where you stand, how they’ll operate and how you have to operate and play to have success under them. As a player, not sure you can ask for much more. And let’s be honest, you see it all over the league, teams changing this coach, that coach, this coordinator or that one. You may think we as players don’t notice that -- and maybe some don’t -- but to me, that shit matters. You gotta get yours but you also better understand all organizations are not created equal. I got that in New England.

Goodell statement calls Trump's comments 'divisive'

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Goodell statement calls Trump's comments 'divisive'

In separate statements Saturday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith each criticized President Donald Trump's verbal attack on NFL players. 

Goodell's statement: 

The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.  Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.

 

And Smith's statement: 

Whether or not Roger or the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen. This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks. 

 

NFLPA president Eric Winston, a tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, also tweeted a statement critical of the President:

At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he encouraged NFL fans to walk out of games in protest. 

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump told the rally. 

He also lamented that football has become less violent.

“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.

McCourty tweets criticism of Trump's shot at NFL players

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McCourty tweets criticism of Trump's shot at NFL players

Patriots safety Devin McCourty tweeted criticism of President Donald Trump's harsh words toward NFL players who have been kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

McCourty shares a Twitter account with his twin brother Jason of the Cleveland Browns but put his DMac signature on this tweet. Devin McCourty was one of several Pats who didn't go to the White House this past spring to celebrate the team's Super Bowl championship with Trump. 

At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he encouraged NFL fans to walk out of games in protest. 

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump told the rally to loud applause.

McCourty and then-teammate Martellus Bennett raised clenched fists in protest after the anthem at the Patriots opening game last season and McCourty said he received plenty of criticism for it. 

“I got a lot of [backlash],” McCourty told CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran last year in the days following that protest. "You gotta remember, a lot of these people, they don’t know me. They like the way I play football and they like some of the things I do in the community but they don’t know me. I talked to my brother [then with the Tennessee Titans] because we have the same Twitter and the Titans got a bunch of calls from people saying they don’t respect [the Titans who made symbolic gestures] and they need to be gone. He said their community relations people said, ‘If you just knew them, your opinion would change.’ ”

Several NFL players and other athletes, most prominently former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of African-Americans by police.