Patriots

Brady remembers sideline spat with O'Brien: 'He kind of let me have it'

Brady remembers sideline spat with O'Brien: 'He kind of let me have it'

Bill O'Brien spent five years with the Patriots, including two as the quarterbacks coach (2009-10) and one as the offensive coordinator (2011). But what he may be most remembered for in New England is one particularly fiery sideline spat with Tom Brady

It was a "Teapot" moment for the Texans coach, who will re-visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. That's what Brady and backup Brian Hoyer nicknamed O'Brien for his quick temper, and it would be hard to imagine a moment when O'Brien was hotter than in the fourth quarter of a 2011 win over the Redskins. 

The Patriots were up a touchdown and knocking on the door to score again when Brady was picked off in the end zone. When he got back to the sideline, Brady told intended receiver Tiquan Underwood that he had to make a better effort to come back to the football since he had been under-cut.

But when O'Brien saw Brady talking to Underwood, he unloaded. Perhaps it was because he didn't like Brady's throw. Perhaps it was because Brady missed Wes Welker for an easy touchdown on the play before, throwing behind his wide open slot receiver. 

Either way, Brady and O'Brien then engaged in a shouting match that required Hoyer, receivers coach Chad O'Shea and head coach Bill Belichick to break it up. 

"He kind of let me have it. I deserved it," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show. "It was kind of a dumb throw. I deserved it. I kind of chirped back, and he didn't like it. I was kind of fiery at the time, too.

"We cooled off pretty quick. That's Billy's style. Billy's gonna let you know if he doesn't like something that you did. He handles it in the right way, in a way that you really respected. You know he's fiery, you know he just wants to get the job done. We cooled off. We ended up winning the game [when] Jerod Mayo made a great interception to end that game. By the time we got to the locker room we were good.

"There are a lot of emotions in this game. You wear them on your sleeve, and sometimes you just fire off. That's just the way it goes."

Brady said he remains friends with O'Brien and that they touch base from time to time. By putting in the "grunt work" of a lower-level assistant and quickly working his way up the coaching ranks in New England, O'Brien earned Brady's trust and respect. 

Though he generally roots for O'Brien's success, that stops this week as the two prepare to face off later this week with their seasons on the line. It will be the second time O'Brien has been to Gillette Stadium this season with the Texans. Back in Week 3 they fell to the Patriots, 27-0, with rookie Jacoby Brissett getting the start at quarterback. 

Brady said that Patriots players will have no problem getting themselves motivated for this one, though.

"This is a day-to-day league," he explained. "It really doesn't matter last time we played 'em or last year. Because things change so much with a game and a game plan and players. Coach talks about all the time it's not who you play, it's how you play, and we need to play well . . . " 

"You put together the process and a winning formula, and then you go out and execute it. If you don't execute it, you lose. I don't think you take anything for granted, I don't think you mail in your preparation. I think we go about it the exact same way same way we've gone about it all year, which is we put teverything into it. 

"We empty the tank in our practices which we always do, and then you come out at the end of the week with confidence and show everyone out there that we're prepared, and we can play because we're playing a really good team. We're playing a team that's earned this opportunity."

Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Here's why a lot of Patriots recent draft picks have Senior Bowl experience

Bill Belichick was there. Josh McDaniels was there. The Patriots had a large contingent down in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl practices (the game will air Saturday on NFL Network at 2:30 p.m.), which should come as no surprise.

Just look at how the Patriots have drafted of late. 

In 2019, they selected Jarrett Stidham, Byron Cowart and Jake Bailey -- all of whom participated in the Senior Bowl. They also signed undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers, who played in the game. 

In 2018, they grabbed Isaiah Wynn in the first round, Duke Dawson, Ja'Whaun Bentley and Braxton Berrios after they'd competed in the Senior Bowl.

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Three of their four draft picks from 2017, plus two undrafted rookies, were in the Senior Bowl. 

From 2013-16, they brought aboard 20 Senior Bowl participants as rookies.

"The great thing about the Senior Bowl is that you're seeing some of the best players," Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said last spring. 

"There have actually been some underclassmen who have been incorporated into that mix. So you're seeing them against good competition and it's a different dynamic or different situation that they've been placed in. You're kind of taking them out of their environment that they've been in and kind of giving them something new and seeing how they handle it against good people."

The small-school players -- or the players who are asked to do something they didn't do much as collegians -- are the ones who have an opportunity to really land on radars during Senior Bowl work. For the Patriots, who constantly harp on the benefit of having seen players work against great competition on a regular basis when they hail from an SEC program, seeing some of the best in the country work against one another matters.

"It’s one thing if they do it against a lower-level team," Caserio said back in 2016, when asked about the Senior Bowl. "I mean, look, not all teams are created equal. Not all conferences are created equal. That’s just a fact. We can’t control that. So when you can see them actually play against really good players or good players that are at a comparable level of competition that they’re going to see every Sunday, that has to be a part of [the evaluation], no question."

The next year, the Patriots took two Senior Bowlers from smaller programs: Youngstown State's Derek Rivers and Troy's Antonio Garcia. 

"Where [the Senior Bowl] probably helps a little bit is players on a lower level that maybe haven’t competed against the same level of competition," Caserio said back in 2017. "Obviously, they’re making a big jump. . . Garcia was down there. That’s going to be a big jump in competition because this is what they’re going to be playing against. 

"With all due respect to whatever conference Youngstown State is in, there’s not a lot of NFL players in that conference. I mean, that’s just the way that it is. You’re going to have to see him against NFL competition, which the Senior Bowl is usually a pretty good indication of that because you’re talking about the top seniors in the country. It’s a part of the process. You’re not making a decision based off of that, but maybe a player who doesn’t have as much experience against that level, you’re going to see how he fares, and then you just kind of continue to move forward."

Some small-school prospects who may have caught Belichick's eye this week? 

Dayton tight end Adam Trautman was already considered one of the better tight ends in the draft class and seemed to only help his stock.

Safety Kyle Dugger -- who hails from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University -- impressed. Ditto for Division III offensive lineman Ben Bartch out of Saint John's, who saw rushers from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss and other high-end programs and reportedly held his own.

Perhaps the most recent success story out of Senior Bowl week for the Patriots wasn't with a small-school prospect, though. It might've been with Shaq Mason, a guard coming out of a run-heavy system at Georgia Tech. The Patriots simply hadn't seen him do much in the way of pass protection for the Yellow Jackets.

But Mason got to the Senior Bowl, took to the coaching he received, and the Patriots took notice. 

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"The thing I’ll say about Shaq," Belichick said after drafting Mason in 2015, "is just watching him at the Senior Bowl, I mean it was only one week, but he made a huge improvement just in those, whatever it was, four or five practices, whatever it was down there. His stance is different. You could see each day progressively how he was taking to the coaching down there and his footwork and his hand placement and his body position. I know it was basic. It wasn’t like it was a big scheme thing at the Senior Bowl, but just doing things on a daily basis better than the day before, looking more comfortable doing them. And it was different than what they did at Georgia Tech."

Big school. Small school. Everyone had something to gain in Mobile this week. And that includes the Patriots. That's why -- with more time off this year than recent years -- they were well represented down there.


 

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

The New England Patriots reportedly have made an addition to their coaching staff.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, they've hired ex-Los Angeles Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

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Fisch's official role with the Patriots offense is to be determined. But now that there's an opening at wide receivers coach with Joe Judge joining the New York Giants, Fisch could be a candidate for the job.

He brings plenty of experience to the table having coached Denver Broncos wide receivers in 2008 and Michigan receivers from 2015-16. Fisch also coached Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks in 2010 and was the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2013-14.