Patriots

Former Patriots FB Heath Evans shares great Tom Brady/Bill Belichick story

Former Patriots FB Heath Evans shares great Tom Brady/Bill Belichick story

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not afraid to deliver harsh criticism to his players when warranted, even when the player on the receiving end is superstar quarterback Tom Brady. 

Former Patriots fullback Heath Evans, who played for Belichick from 2005 through 2008, recently appeared as a guest on the "Your Mom's House" podcast and told a bunch of great stories from his days in New England. A few of them involved Belichick holding everyone accountable and how that process starts at the top with Brady.

“The best thing about Bill is, there’s not a whole lot of people that can ‘mother-(expletive)’ Tom Brady in a team meeting room," Evans said. "When you're in New England, if you’re the superstar, you get coached harder than everyone else. And if you're the 53rd man on the roster or maybe the 35th guy on the roster like I was, then you're going to be on this staggered scale of your level of accountability and how hard you get come down on because he knows, ultimately, me at the 35th man on the roster is going to follow Brady at No. 1 on the roster, so if Brady’s not challenged and he’s not working and he’s not held accountable then you create this level of inconsistency. And so that’s a gift in itself.”

Evans had a specific story from the famous 2007 season about Belichick not being afraid to rip Brady.

"I remember it was '07, we smoked a team by like 50 points and Bill comes in and he's mouthing off at Brady about something," Evans said. "I'm trying to remember how it started, but he was like 'If you weren't so worried about you and Gisele's next GQ Magazine, maybe, just maybe you wouldn't have thrown that interception. What is this Christmas, it's October, Brady. Christmas come early or something? I could go to Foxborough High and get someone to throw that ball better than you.' So he's just going at him, you know?"

Here's the story in video form:

https://twitter.com/ftbeard_17/status/1127676510565949440?s=21

This story from Evans is one of several that have surfaced about Belichick giving Brady a hard time in meetings.

Former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett shared one on FOX Sports 1 show "First Things First" a few weeks ago, and he explained how Brady used his coach's criticism to fuel him to improve. 

Superstar players are not always welcoming of criticism, but Brady's ability to use critiques as motivation instead of letting them bother him is one of the many attributes of his greatness. 

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Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Tom Brady is set to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his 20-year NFL career. While the legendary quarterback could return to the New England Patriots in 2020, there's no guarantee that he will.

If Brady doesn't return, the Patriots will have a number of ways to address the quarterback position. They could target a free agent passer in one of the strongest free agent quarterback classes ever. They could spend a draft pick on one in a strong 2020 quarterback draft class.

Or they could roll with the only other quarterback option they currently have on their roster, 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.

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Stidham spent his rookie season backing up Brady and played a grand total of 15 snaps for the squad. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 14 yards and threw an interception in that action.

Despite his relative inexperience, Stidham would theoretically be the next man up at quarterback if Brady leaves. But moving forward, he isn't thinking a lot about Brady's impending free agency. He's more focused on what he can do to improve heading into his second year.

"Right now, I can't really think too much about [Brady's free agency]. I have to worry about what I need to do to prepare to enhance my game, to learn as much as I possibly can," Stidham said per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "That's the biggest thing I've focused on, making a big stride from Year 1 to Year 2."

That said, Stidham did call his time learning as Brady's backup "priceless" and said that Brady is "phenomenal" in all facets of the game.

"He's a phenomenal teammate, a phenomenal person, obviously a phenomenal player," Stidham said per Reiss. "There was just so much that I got to learn from him. He was obviously very open to me about stuff that he's thought about the game of football, and stuff like that. It was great. I can't speak highly enough of that guy."

Perhaps Stidham's time learning from Brady has served him well. After all, Patriots fans haven't seen him in action since Week 7 and Phil Perry reported that Stidham was impressing his teammates and coaches alike in late-December.

But is he ready to be a starter? The Patriots moves this offseason will surely tell us more about their thoughts on that.

The Patriots won't definitively know what Brady's plans are for 2020 until he puts pen to paper somewhere. In the interim, it's at least encouraging that Stidham is putting in the effort behind the scenes to improve after spending a year learning from Brady. 

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Tom Brady appears to have a kindred spirit as his career continues into his 40s.

Eminem name-drops TB12 on the track "Premonition" off the album "Music To Be Murdered By" which he released on Friday.

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The song takes on the critics of the 47-year-old rapper from Detroit and compares the critiques he gets to ones leveled at LeBron James, 35, and the Patriots quarterback, who'll turn 43 in August. 

Here's part of the song:

“Revival flopped, came back and I scared the crap out ‘em

But Rolling Stone stars, I get two and a half outta

Five, and I’ll laugh out loud

‘Cause that’s what they gave BAD back in the day

Which actually made me not feel as bad now, ‘cause

If it happened to James

It can happen to Shady

They do the same [expletive] to Brady

More people hate me than love me

This game will make you go crazy.”

It's not Eminem's first reference to Brady in one of his songs. In 2013's "Baby", he raps, "I'm what Tom Brady is to the Patriots of rap. Not a man, a weapon."

And it's just the latest Brady reference that has dotted hip-hop and rap since the mid-2000s when the QB led the Pats to the second and third of the six Super Bowl titles they've won. Other artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Kanye West have referenced him as a symbol of excellence. 

Brady told the Boston Globe last year before the Super Bowl he appreciates it.

 “That’s always really cool,” Brady said. “I’m a big fan of so many of those guys. I have a lot of friends [in music] that I’ve met over the years that are fans of what we do, too...I think that mutual appreciation or admiration is really flattering.”