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#pounditFriday, September 24, 2021

Bill Belichick

ESPN’s Paul Finebaum accuses Bill Belichick of ‘getting lazy’

Paul Finebaum

ESPN college football personality Paul Finebaum delivered quite the hot take on Bill Belichick.

Finebaum was a guest on an ESPN Radio program on Friday morning. He talked about Belichick, who extended his trust in Nick Saban by drafting former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round on Thursday.

Finebaum said he thinks Jones is a “very good quarterback,” but he also accused Belichick of “getting lazy.”

“I’m also a little concerned with this rather lazy, ‘Well, Bill Belichick knows what he’s doing!’ Um, really? Have you guys watched the New England Patriots in the last couple of years? … He’s made some dubious coaching hires, starting with his son. He’s made some disastrous draft picks,” Finebaum said.

“I’m more concerned for Bill Belichick’s future in New England than I am Mac Jones’ future in New England. Because I see a coach who was a perfectionist, who did everything right all those years, who was untouchable, and I see him getting lazy late in his career.

“Nick Saban has never changed. … He’s still the same guy he was 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. Bill Belichick is not!”

That is quite a hot take from Finebaum. Belichick has one 7-9 season and now all of a sudden he’s lazy? Give me a break. The guy has had his issues drafting at times, but that didn’t stop him from winning.

We’ll see how he does the next few years. But if he doesn’t do well, it won’t be due to laziness, but more likely because he doesn’t have Tom Brady anymore.

Maybe one day Finebaum will end up apologizing for this take like he did with Lane Kiffin.

Bill Belichick says Patriots already have a starting QB

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots finally landed a quarterback fans can be excited about during Thursday night’s draft, but Bill Belichick immediately made it clear that Mac Jones has a lot of work to do before he can think about earning a starting job.

Belichick told reporters after the first round of the draft that Newton remains New England’s starting quarterback. He said both Jones and Jarrett Stidham will have a chance to “compete” but that Newton is the team’s starter.

Of course, there is a long way to go before the start of the regular season. The Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to a team-friendly deal, and the belief all offseason has been that he was more of an insurance plan than anything. He’ll benefit from having a year under his belt in the team’s offense, and Belichick will definitely give him a fair crack at earning the starting job. But if Newton does start in Week 1, he will likely have to play well to remain in that spot.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it clear recently that he does not feel Newton got a fair shot in 2021. If Jones needs a year to develop, Newton could serve as a bridge quarterback of sorts for Belichick.

Cam Newton is back with the Patriots! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Cam Newton Patriots shirt. You can buy it here.

Hilarious video of Mac Jones walking like Bill Belichick goes viral

Bill Belichick Mac Jones walk

The New England Patriots decided that Mac Jones was their quarterback and drafted him No. 15 overall on Thursday. Jones already seems to have some similarities to Bill Belichick.

Well, at least the two have a similar walking style.

Check out this great video that puts Jones’ walk side-by-side with Belichick’s:

Business. Purpose. Swagger.

Belichick and Jones. It’s a combination to come for years.

The video of Jones walking came on draft night. The video of Belichick came from this clip a few years ago.

Bill Belichick’s dog Nike looks ready to crush the NFL Draft

One of the highlights of the NFL’s virtual draft last year was the appearance Bill Belichick’s dog made, and it looks like the little guy is ready to dominate the war room again this year.

Belichick’s dog Nike has his own Instagram page, which is likely run by the coach’s longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday. On Wednesday, the pooch was shown making his “final preparations” for the first round.

ESPN had live cameras set up during the draft last year to capture the setups for every NFL team’s coach and general manager. That meant Belichick had a camera on his setup in Nantucket, Mass. When it came time for the Patriots to make their first pick, Nike was sitting at the table rather than Belichick.

The Patriots have gotten some great mileage out of Nike’s draft appearance, as they even sent a great tweet about it during their free agent spending spree. We can probably expect that to continue during this year’s event.

Bill Belichick reportedly ‘hates’ new NFL number rule

Bill Belichick

The new NFL rule relaxing restrictions on jersey numbers passed with broad support this week, but there are definitely a vocal few who didn’t want to see that happen.

Among them, apparently, is New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Belichick “hates” the new rule. In addition, the Patriots were one of only four or five franchises to vote against its adoption.

Belichick’s stance puts him in alignment with his former quarterback, as Tom Brady outlined his opposition to the rule after it was adopted. We don’t know Belichick’s reasoning, but it’s easy to envision that it’s similar to Brady’s.

The good news for Belichick is that there are reasons to believe that there won’t be a lot of initial changes to numbers. Eventually, that will fade once players start to switch teams, though.

Bill Belichick flirted with other NFL teams after 2017 season?

Bill Belichick

Last year Tom Brady did what many never thought he would do: he left the New England Patriots. Yes, Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 seasons with the Pats. And then he went out and won the Super Bowl in his first season with his new team.

But before Brady left the Patriots, did Bill Belichick think about leaving? That’s what one reporter suggests.

ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham spoke with Harrison Vapnik for an interview that was published on Monday. In the interview, Wickersham talked about the clash between Belichick and Brady that he infamously wrote about in 2017. Wickersham says that after that season, Belichick talked with the New York Giants, Washington, and Miami Dolphins about coaching jobs.

You may recall that the Giants hired Pat Shurmur, the Dolphins stuck with Adam Gase, and Washington kept Jay Gruden for 2018. The Giants and Dolphins eventually hired coaches off of Belichick’s staff (Miami with Brian Flores and the Giants with Joe Judge). Belichick played a role in helping Judge get the Giants job. Rumors about Belichick talking with those teams never emerged, so it’s possible they were just consulting with him and not talking with him about leaving. But considering what was going on at the time, this is very interesting.

The Patriots were unsure whether to keep Tom Brady or proceed with Jimmy Garoppolo. They stuck with Brady, traded Garoppolo during the 2017 season, and tension remained between Brady and Belichick. Here is a recap of the bombshell piece Wickersham published about the Patriots power struggle in early 2018.

There were some rumors last season about whether the Patriots would consider trading Belichick. Maybe it’s not so far-fetched to think he flirted with other teams in 2018.

Bill Belichick has interesting quote about Patriots’ draft plans

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots are at an interesting spot in the NFL Draft, holding the No. 15 pick. That means the team could theoretically move up a few spots if it wanted to without giving up an unbearable haul of future picks.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is not known for tipping his hand, but he did offer an interesting comment on the team’s thinking surrounding the draft pick.

For whatever it’s worth, the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers hold picks 12 and 13. Belichick probably wouldn’t telegraph those intentions so obviously, though.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the Patriots potentially moving up for a quarterback. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels showing up for a high-profile pro day didn’t do much to quiet that. However, there’s also some growing thought that Cam Newton might be a point of confidence for the team. The Patriots, like every team, have a responsibility to prepare for a number of different scenarios. Drafting a quarterback isn’t out of the question here.

Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft share great statements on Julian Edelman

Bill Belichick

It’s not too often that you hear Bill Belichick open up his heart and publicly give one of his players glory, but he did so with Julian Edelman this week.

Edelman on Monday announced his retirement from the NFL. He did so with an emotional video message (you can watch it here).

Belichick, who coached the Patriots throughout Edelman’s entire career, complimented the former receiver with some very nice words.

“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all,” Belichick said in his statement. “Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances. For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”

Edelman won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII.

Here is the statement team owner Robert Kraft issued about Edelman:

“Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history. There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before. Julian not only did that as a seventh-round draft selection, but he is retiring with the second-most career receptions in franchise history and as a three-time Super Bowl Champion, including his last as Super Bowl MVP. No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite. Over the past 12 years, I have enjoyed watching him grow as a player, as a person and as a father. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Julian, which might be the only place where he is more popular than here in New England.”

Edelman is second in Patriots history with 620 receptions and second in NFL history with 118 postseason receptions. He departs the Patriots a year after Tom Brady left. Edelman’s retirement decision is not too surprising given what we knew about his knee injury.

Ex-Pro Bowler says Bill Belichick is on ‘warm’ seat in New England

Bill Belichick

A former Pro Bowl player offered some ridiculous analysis recently.

LaVar Arrington was a guest on “First Things First” on FS1 and talked about the New England Patriots. He said that coming off the season the Pats had, Bill Belichick has something to prove this season.

Arrington acknowledged that his comments might sound “crazy” to some, but he said things are getting “warm” for Belichick.

“Having the type of season that they had last year can make you rethink a whole lot of things that you did in the past. That seat is warm for Bill Belichick,” Arrington said, via NESN. “And that might sound crazy for some people, but Bill Belichick has to have a good season this year. And you know why? Because there are whispers — ‘It was Tom. It was always Tom. It couldn’t have been anything else but Tom.’ And Bill Belichick has to show before he gets too far away from Tom Brady leaving that it was not Tom Brady; that it was, in fact and indeed, the system of what Bill Belichick built in New England.”

What Arrington says isn’t crazy, it’s just that his terminology was wrong.

It’s incorrect to say that Belichick’s seat is warm. That would imply that he could be fired if the Patriots don’t perform well next season. That is not happening. Belichick has won six Super Bowls and can remain in New England probably as long as he wants. However, Arrington is correct in saying that there is pressure for Belichick to win next season. Nobody in New England enjoyed going 7-9 last season. The uncharacteristic offseason they had seemed to be proof of this. Belichick might want to adjust his draft strategy this season too.

Lane Kiffin explains why Bill Belichick’s pre-draft approach stands out

Bill Belichick

Many have asked over the years what makes the New England Patriots different from other NFL teams in terms of their long-lasting success. Lane Kiffin is giving one hint as to why that may be.

Kiffin revealed in an interview with “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday that few NFL coaches actually reach out to their college counterparts for inside information on players they’re scouting. The exception is Belichick, who the Ole Miss coach said calls about prospects who aren’t even expected to go in the first round.

“I know there’s guys like Belichick that have personally — I remember a guy in like the third round the night before the draft, him calling me to ask my opinion on him. Not even a first-round pick,” Kiffin said, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk. “So some people do it and I think a lot of people don’t.

“The really good ones like him, he’s so smart. I remember it was a tight end — he was like, ‘OK, I remember you had Zach Miller 10 years ago with the Raiders or whatever it was. How do you compare him to him?’ That’s how smart he is, to be able to remember who you had and players you were around and compare them to. That’s why he’s so great at that.”

There is talk that sometimes Belichick’s approach can definitely backfire on him. Obviously, college coaches want to see their players do well and get drafted high, so their opinions have to be weighed alongside everything else. Still, Belichick’s approach probably pays dividends sometimes, and the knowledge he can acquire from it might give them the inside track on some players that others might not have.