Patriots

Boston coaches explain what makes Bill Belichick, Patriots successful

Boston coaches explain what makes Bill Belichick, Patriots successful

Bill Belichick has enjoyed unprecedented success as head coach of the New England Patriots for the last two decades, leading his team to six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances over that span.

It's the kind of success Belichick's fellow Boston coaches can only dream of accomplishing. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy can't help but marvel at the 67-year-old's ability to get his teams to buy in each and every season.

The trio appeared on "Dale & Keefe" as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Wednesday to discuss what makes Belichick and the Patriots so great.

Stevens led off by talking about Belichick's squad seemingly always being on the same page.

“The thing that stands out when you go over and watch the Patriots do workouts and sit in meetings and sit in film is they are on one page. They are in one direction. His message, although has thousands of complexities within each scheme defensively and offensively, his message is concise. It’s ultimately not only well delivered, but well received. You can tell that thing is a juggernaut. That is a train moving in one direction. They know what they need to do to be successful. I don’t think it’s brain surgery the way that I have seen it from up and close and afar is they don’t beat themselves. There are a lot of things in a football game that ultimately lead to that and they are the best at them.”

Cassidy noted the culture that has been established in Foxboro since the day Belichick took over as Patriots head coach.

“He has a 53 minimum players and then the practice squad and we’re dealing with 12-22, so a little bit easier for us to probably work our way around the room and get our message individually 1-on-1. The Patriots have been the best at establishing culture — this is the way we’re doing it. We’re going to get it right and if you’re not on board that is fine, we’ll get someone else. It’s worked for them very well.

"Credit to Bill and credit to ownership. It starts at the top and the players have bought into that direction. We have it with (Patrice) Bergeron and (Zdeno) Chara. We’re very lucky. I am one of the most fortunate guys in the National Hockey League to coach true pros like that. Coming in at a young age I appreciate that. I am sure Brad has his guys that he leans on and Alex the same. Everyone is blessed or not of establishing that culture and have guys that will follow it. He’s done a great job — him and Tom (Brady) obviously, the two faces of the franchise. It has been terrific."

Cora raved about the Patriots' discipline and noted that on the rare occasion they do lose, it usually isn't due to silly mistakes.

“For me it is the preparation and the way they go about it on Sundays. It’s just like, ‘We’re going to play this way and if you beat us, you beat us. We didn’t beat ourselves.’ You can go back to yesterday -- man on second no outs and we had a mistake running the bases. That’s on us. We were undisciplined on that play and probably cost us the game. With them, I have been watching this team for 5-6 years, it’s like, 'Wow' at how precise they are. It’s almost perfect. When they lose a game it’s not because they were sloppy or undisciplined, it’s just the other team that Sunday was just better than (them).”

Cora, Stevens, and Cassidy have done a fine job with their respective teams, but there's no doubt Belichick has set the standard high for them and everyone else who coaches one of Boston's storied franchises.

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2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at cornerback

2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at cornerback

When it comes to drafted defensive backs, the Patriots have largely taken athletes who have tested very well — whether it was at the combine or at their pro days.

But this year, it's harder than ever to know exactly where certain prospects fall on the athleticism spectrum.

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With a drastically different schedule at the combine, laid out for prime-time television, many players opted to skip certain portions of the athletic tests. Others skipped them altogether, thinking they'd have a chance to record numbers at their pro days. 

Now that those pro days are wiped out, we're dealing with less information than usual at this time of year. Still, we can try to peg Patriots fits based on their heights and weights, their college résumés and the programs from which they hail. Here are the corners we've tabbed this offseason as "prototypes" for New England.

Click here for the gallery.

Ex-Patriots exec Scott Pioli tells great Tom Brady story from Super Bowl LI

Ex-Patriots exec Scott Pioli tells great Tom Brady story from Super Bowl LI

Scott Pioli has experienced the incredible joys of winning a Super Bowl and the frustration of losing a Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady.

Pioli was a front office executive with the New England Patriots from 2000 until he left to join the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. The Patriots won three Super Bowl titles in four appearances in Pioli's time in Foxboro, and he helped build the rosters that were so successful over that period.

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He also was an assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons from 2014 to 2019, and it was during this time he witnessed the best game of Brady's career. Unfortunately for the longtime NFL exec, it happened against his Falcons. We're of course talking about Super Bowl LI, where the Patriots miraculously pulled of a 34-28 comeback win in overtime after trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter.

Pioli made an appearance on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" midday show Tuesday, and he told a great story about how high-ranking scouts and front office people from the Falcons were feeling quite confident at halftime with Atlanta leading, 21-3. Pioli, based on his many years watching and working with Brady, knew better than to celebrate too early. And he wasn't shy about letting his coworkers know that. 

Listen to his Brady story in the video below:

The joy on the Falcons sideline quickly evaporated as Brady led the Patriots on five consecutive scoring drives in arguably the greatest performance in Super Bowl history. The Falcons have yet to recover from this heartbreaking loss. After losing in the NFC Divisional Round the following the season, Atlanta has missed the playoffs in back-to-back years. 

The Falcons scouts, execs and other employees who celebrated early got a painful reminder that, unless time has run out, you cannot let up at all when Brady is on the opposing team.