Patriots

Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

josh-mcdaniels-matt-patricia.jpg

Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are looking at losing both coordinators, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, to head coaching jobs in the near future. When it happens, that will prompt questions. What's next? How will this impact the on-the-field product? What about the culture?

The short answer: As long as Bill Belichick is around, the Patriots will be the Patriots. The expectations. The culture. The schemes. They all remain. 

"I mean, I believe so," said Patriots captain Duron Harmon. "The culture is built. The culture is built. This is two decades of winning. A winning franchise. Coach Belichick is going to make sure whoever is in the defensive room is going to be the right guy to display the message and the picture that he wants his defense to play with. That goes through the defensive coordinator, whoever he hires."

That's not to say that filling the coordinator job on either side of the football will be easy. Consistency at those positions has value, whether it's in how new players pick up the system, or how certain fundamentals are taught. 

"Whenever you're trying to get something done professionally, to be able to have consistent leadership and foundation upon which to build is important," Patriots captain Matthew Slater said. "A consistent message, understanding what you're trying to get done. And we're fortunate not only with Josh but obviously Coach Belichick and the rest of our coaching staff.

"That consistency with the character of the coach, with the message of the coach, with what he demands of you is important because it helps set a standard. And then when players come in you say, 'OK this is what's expected of me and anything less is not going to be good enough.' " 

Harmon acknowledged that the consistency of having one coordinator in place for several years -- both Patricia and McDaniels have held their titles since 2012 -- can help. But, as just Slater pointed out the consistency coming from the team's head coach, Harmon explained that everything starts with Belichick.

"It's important," Harmon said of having consistency on staff. "Not only is it important coming from the defensive coordinator, but it's important coming from the head coach. Coach Belichick does a great job of always portraying the message he wants, and how he wants his team to play, and it goes through the coordinators and then to the position coaches and then to the players. I think the consistency is not always built straight from the defensive coordinator. I think Coach Belichick does a great job of doing that as well."

It won't be an easy job to replace McDaniels and Patricia when they leave, particularly since the favorites to be their successors could in theory leave with them. But as long as Belichick remains, so too will the standard he's set. 

Rob Gronkowski's cameo at Syracuse-Duke game has Twitter buzzing

Rob Gronkowski's cameo at Syracuse-Duke game has Twitter buzzing

Who needs a beach vacation when you can watch college basketball in central New York?

Rob Gronkowski apparently had that same thought, as the New England Patriots tight end showed up to the Carrier Dome in full Orange regalia Saturday night to watch Syracuse battle No. 1 Duke.

Gronkowski hails from the Buffalo area -- he grew up in nearby Williamsville, N.Y. -- hence the allegiance to Syracuse, about 150 miles east on I-90.

The 29-year-old rolled in with a crew, too, as his brothers joined him in courtside seats for the high-profile matchup.

It looks like Gronk even got his own custom jersey for the occasion, a No. 4 jersey with "Gronkowski" on the back.

The star tight end doesn't have direct ties to Syracuse, as he played his college ball at Arizona. But the Gronkowski clan still has a connection to the Orange, as his father, Gordon, played football at Syracuse.

Gronkowski still hasn't decided whether he'll return for the 2019 season, and it appears he's still enjoying his time away from football with some nice quiet family time.

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Is Robert Kraft "biggest name" charged in prostitution case, after all?

Is Robert Kraft "biggest name" charged in prostitution case, after all?

Those waiting for the other shoe to drop in the Florida prostitution scandal may be stuck holding their breath.

ESPN's Adam Schefter prompted massive speculation Friday by mentioning on "SportsCenter" he was told Robert Kraft is "not the biggest name involved" in a Jupiter, Fla., bust that resulted in the New England Patriots owner being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution.

The list of "bigger names" than Kraft, the owner of arguably the most visible franchise in North American sports, isn't a long one. So, who the heck was Schefter referring to?

Turns out those close to the investigation are wondering the same thing.

From Deadspin's interview with Palm Beach County state attorney's office spokesman Mike Edmonson:

Deadspin asked Edmondson about a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying he’d been “told that Robert Kraft is not the biggest name involved down there in South Florida.” Edmondson responded: “Nobody around here has any idea what [Schefter] is referring to.

Police released a list Friday of 25 people facing charges for their alleged involvement in a human trafficking ring run out of several Florida day spas. Kraft was the only notable public figure on the list, but police added they've identified at least 100 men suspected of paying prostitutes for sex as part of their months-long investigation.

That means it's still possible another high-profile figure gets connected to the scandal. But according to Edmonson, it's also possible we've already seen the biggest bombshell.

Kraft strongly denied any illegal activity in a statement Friday afternoon, but a warrant for his arrest is expected to be issued Monday, so we likely won't have closure on this case for some time.

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