With all the hysteria surrounding the Patriots after some viral comments from former players like Danny Amendola and the missed OTAs by Gronk and Brady, I think its time for a little market correction. And no this is 100% not an increasingly on edge Patriots fan trying to force some sunshine into your newsfeed…
Obviously with every hot take artist out there all we here is how Amendola called Bill Belichick an asshole, but conveniently leave out the fact that Amendola in the very next sentence goes on to laud the approach because it was what made them successful, which is why he respects Bill.
“It’s not easy, that’s for sure. He’s an asshole sometimes. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn’t like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him,” he said. “I didn’t like practicing in the snow, I didn’t like practicing in the rain, but that was going to make us a better football team and that was going to make me a better football player. It wasn’t easy, and he’d be the first to admit, at the [Super Bowl] ring ceremony, that it wasn’t easy playing for him. The silver lining was that we were at the ring ceremony.“
Now everyone is freaking out because Brady and Gronk missed the start of OTAs leaving out the fact that they’re voluntary workouts. Literally, they’re workouts, not practices:
Point of context on #Patriots guys attending or not attending off-season workouts: these are lifting/running sessions, typically by position group. If a “team leader” misses, it’s not as if he misses addressing the team or something. His small group may be only ones who notice.
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) April 16, 2018
Sure, guys may hear. But it’s not like it affects your day or anything going on w/ other workout groups. If a CB isn’t there, doesn’t matter to anyone working out in the LB group before or after. It’s a story people will talk about, doesn’t really have any affect in the building
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) April 16, 2018
And while I still don’t love the idea of Brady missing anything, its not entirely unprecedented. He’s missed some time in OTAs in 08, 09, and 2010. Lets not mention the fact that those were some of the leanest years for the franchise in the past 20 years….
The point of this blog is to offer a market correction. Lets right set exactly what draws players to this horrible place we call New England, even knowing full well how much of a psycho the guy twirling the whistle on his finger is.
Martellus Bennett recently announced his retirement after an injury shortened second stint with the Patriots. When Bennett was healthy he was an absolute stud and a huge factor in the Patriots winning another Super Bowl. Another shining example of a “problem player” coming to NE and somehow just “figuring it out.” That shit is not a coincidence folks. Bennett actually does a great job of illuminating exactly why this approach is so successful, especially for players that have not been in a similar environment previously.
“Bennett played for five teams in his 10 NFL seasons, but he says the Patriots are different, and that his time with the organization helped prepare him to run his own business. “It was the first team I ever went to where I got an employee handbook,” he says. “And I was like, ‘Wait, what? An employee handbook?’ It was the first place where you felt like, they’re running a business, you’re part of a business, this is your role in the business, this is what we expect from you.”
He adds that he observed a policy of transparency around the franchise: “The thing about the Patriots is the honesty around the building, from top to bottom,” he says. “Everyone is honest with everyone. If someone feels a certain way, they’re honest about it, Bill’s honest about it, he tells you exactly what he’s feeling. Some teams like to deal with issues with players in private, but everybody knows what’s going on, but then nobody knows the result of what really happened, so it creates gossip. With the Patriots, there’s not room for that, because everything is upfront.”
So the Patriots expect a ton from you. In return they are honest (if painfully so), transparent, clear in their expectations, and they lay out exactly what is required to do your job. That sounds simplistic, but its really not. Most businesses in this country don’t even run that way. Most businesses have a fundamental crack in one of those pillars, which creates ambiguity, confusion, resentment, and dissension. The Patriots have a rock solid foundation, which is why they are successful.
Then we have free agents who willingly elect to sign with the Patriots. But why? If so many guys hate it then why do they come here? Because they know by playing for the Patriots they will maximize every single ounce of potential they have as a player. For Jordan Matthews that was too good to pass up.
“I think probably the biggest reason [for picking New England] was I knew this was the best opportunity for me to grow as a player,” Matthews told reporters Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “I had some other teams that contacted me that I visited, but I knew just as a player and as a man — I’m recently married, about to have my first child — I don’t think I’m called to be comfortable. And I knew this would be a great place for me to grow, not only as a player but as a man in general.”
Does this guy sound like a Patriot from Day 1 or what? We continue.
“I feel like it’s so easy for us as people to say, ‘OK, what’s the easiest role, and what’s the path of least resistance?’ And then we look up at our lives and we’re 80 years old, and we haven’t done anything great. And so, In my life, in my self, I’m not looking for the easiest route to make myself look great. I want to always do what’s going to make it harder for me to attain any level of success, so that way, anything I can do has meaning.”
God I hope this dude makes the team.
So as I round the corner heading into 1,000 words my point to everyone reading this is just take a deep breath and RE-LAX. Have things been a bit more rocky since the Seth Wickersham article came out? Yes. Have we started hearing more about the TB12 power struggle, Tom vs Time questioning Brady’s future, and Gronk openly waffling on playing in 2018? Yes, yes, yes. Have we had to watch beloved guys like Danny Amendola sign for more money somewhere else? Yup. But this is the way its always been with the Patriots and for good reason.
So while it may be a Patriots homer kind of thing to say, but I’m going to sit back and let the team do its thing because thats whats gotten them 5 Super Bowls. Having Tom Brady lets the team cover A TON of their deficiencies, but reading those quotes from Martellus Bennett and Jordan Matthews just remind me that this organization is built to be more than just a football team. They’re a business operation.