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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bill Belichick

Reporter hints at more discord between Belichick, Pats stars

Bill Belichick

The NFL season coming to an end may not mean the end of the supposed power struggle within the New England Patriots organization.

NBC Sports Boston’s Mike Giardi tweeted on Thursday that Bill Belichick has been making some of the top Pats players like Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady “miserable.” He also says a lot of the issues revolve around the Alex Guerrero problems.

Guerrero is Brady’s trainer, who has been a storyline for the Patriots over the past several months. Reports have said that there is discord between Belichick/the Patriots and some of the team’s players over Guerrero. Players like Brady and Rob Gronkowski prefer to train, work out, and seek treatment from Guerrero, while the team would rather have players do these things with the team.

Last month, a different reporter even said the Patriots tried to impede him from writing a story about Gronk training with Guerrero.

Giardi ended up predicting that Gronk will end up receiving more compensation from the Pats. It could be that all the buzz about retirement was intended to get him a raise.

Stanford safety Justin Reid describes a Bill Belichick interview

Bill Belichick

Stanford safety Justin Reid shed some light on what it’s like to be interviewed by Bill Belichick at an interview with the New England Patriots.

Reid said it was certainly an honor to meet the iconic coach.

“It’s like, you walk into the room, and it’s like, ‘Ah, Coach Belichick is here.’ It’s an awesome feeling to have the head coach,” Reid said, via Doug Kyed of NESN.

Belichick is known for being quite prickly to the media, but Reid said he takes on a different persona behind closed doors.

“He’s a totally different guy that he is (in front of the media),” Reid said. “He’s actually a really, really good guy.”

Unsurprisingly, the interview with the Patriots involved a lot of talk about scheme and strategy.

“It was cool. I know they heard about kind of how intelligent of a player I am, so they wanted to quiz me to see what I knew,” Reid said. “They brought up some film and asked me what I was doing in this coverage, what were some of the linebackers doing in the coverage. What I was thinking, what I saw, some formation alerts, some formation tendencies, things like that. Just to get a feel for how I saw the defense, and I feel like I left an impression.”

See? Belichick does do amiable sometimes. We just almost never get to see it.

Kyle Shanahan: Belichick shut me down first time I asked about Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

An interesting story from Kyle Shanahan illustrates just how much of a 180 Bill Belichick did on Jimmy Garoppolo.

The San Francisco 49ers on Thursday signed Garoppolo to a massive 5-year contract that will make him the highest-paid player on a per-year basis. They are obviously quite pleased with what he did for them in his first six games with them, and they know they’re lucky to get him.

In an article by Albert Breer on TheMMQB.com, Shanahan says he was shut down by Belichick upon asking about Garoppolo in March.

“And I remember asking Bill [Belichick] personally down at the combine about Jimmy, and very quickly he told me that wasn’t a possibility. So we moved on from that. He told me he wasn’t going to trade him,” Shanahan recalled.

The quote isn’t too big of a surprise considering ESPN’s Adam Schefter was adamantly reporting the same: Belichick was not trading Garoppolo. But that makes the trade all the more surprising.

The Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the 49ers in late October, just before the trade deadline. The deal came out of nowhere, and a report said that Belichick essentially gave Garoppolo to San Francisco without shopping him for the best return. And despite all information pointing to the contrary, reports say Patriots owner Robert Kraft did not force Belichick to trade Garoppolo.

Report: Bill Belichick meeting kept Josh McDaniels with Patriots

Josh McDaniels

It turns out that Bill Belichick was reportedly a big factor in Josh McDaniels’s decision to pull out of the Indianapolis Colts job at the last second.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Belichick promised McDaniels in a Tuesday morning meeting that he would be more active in mentoring his offensive coordinator, including spending more time on the Patriots’ roster construction and handling of the salary cap. McDaniels viewed this as “extremely valuable,” a source told Reiss, even if he wasn’t given iron-clad assurances that he will be Belichick’s eventual successor.

McDaniels also appreciated the stability that the Patriots offered, which would allow his children, the oldest of which being 12, the chance to stay in the same school for the foreseeable future.

Reiss notes that McDaniels had been ready to take the Colts job as of Tuesday morning, but the Belichick meeting swayed him. He also says that, had McDaniels had all this information during the entire interview process, he’d have likely handled things differently. That last bit certainly lends some credence to the theory that owner Robert Kraft was trying to stick it to a rival after letting this go on for a while.

While McDaniels hasn’t been named coach-in-waiting, it certainly sounds like the Patriots would like such an arrangement to happen. They’re just not marrying themselves to it.

Bill Belichick acquaintance believes coach still has ‘multiple years’ with Patriots

Bill Belichick

When Josh McDaniels made the stunning decision to back out of his agreement to become the next head coach of the Colts, the assumption immediately became that he is the head coach in waiting with the Patriots. That may be the case, but what if Bill Belichick is nowhere close to retiring?

Several credible reports have indicated that Belichick will be back in 2018. Beyond that, no one really knows how much longer the 65-year-old intends to coach. But for what it’s worth, an acquaintance of Belichick told The MMQB’s Peter King at the Super Bowl that he believes Belichick has “multiple years” left in New England.

A source close to the story said late Tuesday night that, as part of his agreement to stay in New England, McDaniels got no written assurance that he will succeed the 65-year-old Belichick when he walks away from the job. No one knows when that will be. Belichick will coach at least this year, and at the Super Bowl last week, one longtime Belichick acquaintance said he thought Belichick would coach multiple years in New England, despite the reports of discord between him and Kraft.

King believes it is safe to assume that McDaniels will be offered the Patriots head coaching job if he is still on the staff when Belichick moves on, but it’s impossible to predict when that will happen. If Belichick sticks around for, say, five more years, who’s to say McDaniels won’t have gotten another head coaching offer by then and follow through with it this time?

You could make the argument that McDaniels will have a tough time landing a head coaching job outside of New England after the stunt he pulled, but quality head coaches are tough to come by in the NFL. If a team believes he’s the man for the job, the ugly Colts mess won’t be a deal-breaker.

We have already heard multiple reasons why McDaniels supposedly changed his mind about Indy, and they go beyond him wanting to be the eventual replacement for Belichick.

Report: Bill Belichick never gave Malcolm Butler reason for his benching

Bill Belichick may have had an understandable reason for not allowing Malcolm Butler to play a single defensive snap in the Super Bowl, but it seems clear that the Patriots coach could have done a better job of communicating it to the team.

After their 41-33 loss to the Eagles, New England players gave inconsistent answers about whether or not they knew Butler would be benched. Eric Rowe, who started in place of Butler, said he found out right before kickoff. Devin McCourty indicated that he knew on Saturday night, which could mean Belichick told his team captains but not the entire team. But what about Butler himself?

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Belichick informed Butler before kickoff that he would not play, but he did not give the star cornerback a reason for the decision. Sources told Howe that everyone — players included — has been left guessing after Belichick claimed the decision was strictly related to football, which led to tension in the locker room.

While Belichick has said Butler was not benched for disciplinary reasons, reports indicate the 27-year-old broke a team rule related to curfew and had some other issues throughout the week. Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show” on Tuesday that Butler broke curfew in Minneapolis. Former Patriots offensive lineman Dan Koppen, who is now Giardi’s colleague, told Giardi that curfew is one rule Belichick takes seriously and will not make exceptions with.

If you’re looking to blame either Butler or Belichick for the cornerback not playing, you may have trouble justifying pointing the finger at just one of them. Assuming Butler did break a team rule, you can understand why he didn’t play. However, there would be no reason for Belichick to not explain that to the team if that’s what happened, as the move had a huge impact on the game and may have been the difference between winning and losing.

The way Butler ripped Belichick after the game made it seem as though he was not guilty of violating any team rules, but that could be because Belichick didn’t offer him an explanation. Again, it feels like someone — especially the guys who were preparing for the biggest game of the year — should have been given one.

Bill Belichick calls questions about whether he will return in 2018 ‘ridiculous’

Bill Belichick

It’s day one of the offseason and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is already fed up with questions about his future.

Belichick was bombarded with questions about whether he’d be back for 2018 on a post-Super Bowl conference call Monday, and he called the repeated questioning “ridiculous.”

Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, Belichick said a month ago that he’d be back. He doesn’t help his own cause with evasive answers to the continued questioning, but that’s just the way he is. In his mind, he’s answered the question once. There’s hardly any need for him to litigate it over and over, especially when he’s going to be focused on fixing what went wrong in the Super Bowl itself.

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