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.


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.

Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice


Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice

FOXBORO — It's safe to say Chris Hogan, David Andrews and Marcus Cannon won't play Sunday against the Dolphins.:


The trio was not on the field for the media portion of Friday’s practice, completing a week in which the three did not practice at all. Hogan has been out with a shoulder injury, while Andrews missed last week’s win over the Raiders due to illness and Cannon has been dealing with an ankle injury. 

Martellus Bennett was also absent, making it two straight days in which he did not take the field. Bennett, who was released by Green Bay this season amid questions of whether he would undergo surgery, is listed on the injury report with shoulder and hamstring issues. 



Belichick says there are more former Patriots throughout rest of NFL than other teams


Belichick says there are more former Patriots throughout rest of NFL than other teams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will see some familiar faces Sunday when they play the Dolphins and former New England interior lineman Ted Larsen. 

Then again, a suddenly interesting Bill Belichick noted Friday, the Patriots are used to seeing their players of seasons past end up elsewhere. In his estimation, the Patriots see their former players stay in the league moreso than most other organizations. 

“There’s 70-something guys in the league like that that have been here and are playing for somebody else, or whatever the number is,” Belichick said when asked about facing Larsen. “It’s a lot. Seventy to 90, somewhere in there, depending on how you want to count the practice-squad players and today’s waiver wire vs. yesterday’s waiver wire. There’s a lot of guys out there. It’s one of the highest numbers in the league.”

Asked to clarify, Belichick responded, “I think we have more [former] players that are playing on other teams than other teams [do], or one of them. I don’t know if we’re the highest. We’re one of the highest; I can tell you that. We’re up there pretty high, but it depends on how you want to count them: starters, roster players, IR, practice squad. You can run the list that you run and count them up how you want to count them up, but we’d be up there pretty high.”

Belichick loosely estimated that there might be an average of three former Pats per team in the NFL. Of course, the actual number varies from team to team, with the Colts’ roster essentially looking like a Patriots museum. 
Interestingly enough, the question of the total number was explored this offseason by Pats Pulpit, who determined in May that there were 91 former Patriots on other rosters.