Mac Jones drew mixed reviews at Alabama’s Pro Day on Tuesday, as the star quarterback missed a few throws that NFL coaches and scouts would have liked to see him complete. But the big question from the workout is this: Was Bill Belichick disappointed with what he saw?
Jones overthrew a few receivers on deep passes. After one of the errant throws, cameras immediately cut to Bill Belichick. The New England Patriots coach was seen shaking his head.
Of course, Belichick’s head shaking may have had absolutely nothing to do with Jones’ throw. The coach was talking with his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, at the time. There’s no way of knowing what the two were discussing, so the timing may have been a total coincidence.
In any event, Jones didn’t appear to bring his A game. That wasn’t his only overthrow of the day, and he had several passes that were off-target. No one was expecting him to compete with the insane throw Zach Wilson made at his Pro Day (video here), but there was definitely some disappointment with Jones.
The Patriots are one of several teams that have been linked to Jones, although a new report claims a team in the top five is eyeing the star quarterback.
The New England Patriots have shown a lot of players how highly they think of them with their free agent spending spree this offseason, but Jalen Mills is not letting his new contract go to his head. The veteran defensive back seems to be in disbelief that he now gets to play for arguably the greatest coach of all time.
Mills, who signed a four-year, $24 million deal with the Patriots, told reporters recently about the first interaction he had with Bill Belichick. He said he was totally starstruck when he walked out of the cafeteria at Gillette Stadium and Belichick greeted him.
“I literally turned my back to him and I screamed out loud, like, ‘This is coach Belichick.’ Excuse my language, but like, ‘This is f—ing Coach Belichick.’ Like, I screamed it loud,” Mills recalled, via Justi Leger of NBC Sports Boston. “And then I turned back around and he was still just like monotone, like regular, just still having a casual conversation with me, when I’m freaking out, and I was like, ‘My fault, Coach. One more thing, I gotta cut you off. I don’t want to disrespect you, but Coach, you’re a legend to me. I’m happy to be here.’ He was like, ‘Same, man. Happy for you to be here. Can’t wait to get going and coach you up.’”
Mills is 26, which means he was around 7 years old when Belichick won his first Super Bowl with the Patriots. Mills also alluded to that.
“This is a guy who I’ve been watching since before I even started taking football serious,” Mills said.
A lot of players have been in the same position when they get to New England and meet Belichick and, previously, Tom Brady. The Patriots were dominant for so long that many of their current players grew up watching their dynasty as young children. Mills’ reaction to meeting Belichick was a great reminder of that.
While Mills may be in awe of Belichick’s accomplishments, he’ll quickly learn what an underrated sense of humor the legendary coach has.
Bill Belichick undoubtedly played a role in helping Joe Judge land the New York Giants’ head coaching job last year, but now we have an even better idea of just how strongly the New England Patriots coach endorsed his former assistant.
Judge worked as an assistant under Belichick for eight years before the Giants hired him. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian O’Connor of the New York Post, Giants co-owner John Mara said some of the characteristics he sees in Judge are the same ones displayed by Belichick and Tom Brady when they were dominating the NFL together.
“You always know where Joe is on the practice field, just like you did with Bill and Tom,” Mara said. “His attention to detail is very impressive to me, and those are characteristics Tom and Bill had as well.”
According to O’Connor, Belichick delivered a very straightforward message to Mara last year when the Giants owner asked for the scouting report on Judge. A source told O’Connor that Belichick told Mara, “He’s better than the last two guys you hired.”
Mara would neither confirm nor deny that Belichick said that, which probably tells you something.
The two coaches Belichick would have been referring to were Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo. Shurmur went 9-23 in two seasons with New York. McAdoo went 13-15 over two years. Those results shouldn’t be difficult to top, and Judge already has a 6-10 season under his belt.
We already heard last year about one big way Belichick may have helped Judge land a head coaching job. It sounds like the future Hall of Famer is extremely confident in Judge, which was clearly a factor in the 39-year-old getting the job.
The New England Patriots have spent by far more money this offseason than any other since they hired Bill Belichick more than 20 years ago, and that must have felt just as unusual for team owner Robert Kraft as the rest of us.
The Patriots have typically emphasized building through the draft and retaining their own players, but this offseason was a lot different. They had numerous holes to fill and more salary cap space than almost every other team, so Belichick decided to shell out $130 million in guaranteed money. Kraft admitted to Albert Breer of The MMQB that the spending spree was “exciting.”
“Look, we want to win. We’re spoiled. We got used to winning all the time. And that’s our objective. … It was a chance for us to recharge. We’ve never done anything like this in all the years I’ve owned the team. So what we did, as we were competing for new players, normally in free agency, you’ll have 10 or 12 teams going after it. Here, we had two or three.”
Kraft made sure to point out that games aren’t won in free agency, however.
“Look, we’re not going to know till the fall — we always used to make fun of the people who won the headlines in March — but here I believe we really improved our team,” he said.
There is no question the Patriots have improved their roster. They may have had the worst collection of skill position players in the NFL last season, and they addressed that by signing the top two tight ends on the free agent market in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They also bolstered their receiving corps by giving big contracts to Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
Defensively, the Patriots signed top pass-rusher Matt Judon, cornerback Jalen Mills and nose tackle Davon Godchaux. They also brought back linebacker Kyle Van Noy with a very savvy Belichick move.
Kraft is no doubt hoping for better results in 2021 after a 7-9 season. He also just watched Tom Brady win a seventh Super Bowl, and the decision to part ways with Brady was almost certainly Belichick’s.
If all the money the Patriots spent doesn’t produce some immediate results, Belichick will have plenty of questions to answer. Some of those questions may come directly from Kraft.
Rob Gronkowski and Bill Belichick have a history of winning together in New England. And apparently they had a good relationship too.
Gronk appeared on “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” and was asked the last time he spoke with Belichick. Gronk revealed that they last talked when Belichick generously showed up to the tight end’s Super Bowl event last year.
“It was at the Gronk Beach party,” Gronkowski said of his last conversation with Belichick. “That was super cool of him, when Coach (Belichick) came to the Gronk Beach party. All my friends, they were flipping out that he was there. That’s what was really cool, that my friends were flipping out. They were like, ‘Yo Rob, you got Coach Belichick here!’ They were like ‘Let’s take a picture with him.’ They were all going up to him to take a selfie and you could tell [he was like], ‘Why the heck did I come here?'”
That’s awesome, and it’s nice of Belichick for being a good sport.
That party was in February 2020. Gronk was retired at the time, and the Patriots had gone 12-4 and lost to the Titans in the playoffs.
Who would have figured that a year later, Gronk would be celebrating a Super Bowl win with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Patriots would miss the playoffs?
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have done it! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.
H/T CBS Sports
The New England Patriots have been the talk of free agency since the legal tampering period began on Monday, and even LeBron James is shocked by the moves Bill Belichick has made.
After the Patriots added Hunter Henry to their star-studded free agent class on Tuesday, LeBron tweeted a funny reaction. The Los Angeles Lakers star said he’s bugging out over the spending spree just like everyone else.
LeBron is a big NFL fan, but he mostly supports the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. Though, he did once run into Bill Belichick (literally) during a game. You can see that video here.
The Patriots have signed Henry and Jonnu Smith to give themselves two legitimate pass-catching tight ends. They also added star pass-rusher Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills and nose tackle Davon Godchaux.
If you want to know just how aggressive Belichick has been this offseason compared to years past, this wild stat should give you an idea. It makes sense that LeBron is just as surprised as the rest of us.
The New England Patriots came into the offseason with more salary cap space than almost every team in the NFL, and they have wasted no time using that to their advantage. Bill Belichick has already made several major splashes in free agency, which is something that has rarely happened in his two decades with the team.
The Patriots made four big signings at the start of what is known as the “legal tampering period” on Monday. They agreed to deals with pass-rusher Matt Judon (4 years, $56 million), tight end Jonnu Smith (4 years, $50 million), defensive back Jalen Mills (4 years, $24 million) and nose tackle Davon Godchaux (2 years, $16 million). As of Monday afternoon, New England had spent $146 million on free agent contracts this offseason.
While not all of that money is guaranteed, it is still remarkable when you compare it to the approach Belichick has taken over the last decade. The $146 million is nearly half of all the money the Patriots have spent on free agents combined in the past 10 years.
By the time the day ended, the Patriots did even more damage. They added receivers Nelson Agholor (2 years, $26 million) and Kendrick Bourne (3 years, $22.5 million) and defensive lineman Deatrich Wise (4 years, $30 million).
There are several reasons why the Patriots are spending more this offseason than usual. For starters, Tom Brady’s money is now off the books. While Brady consistently took less than market value, he still earned significantly more than what New England is paying Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham.
Of course, the Patriots also have more holes to fill than usual this offseason. It makes sense that Belichick is trying to use free agency to re-tool after a 7-9 season. In the past, his rosters have been so good that he could focus more on re-signing his own players than scouring free agency.
Time will tell if the aggressive and unfamiliar approach pays off. All we know is most Patriots fans are pleased with it, and the team even sent a hilarious tweet about the big splashes.
The New England Patriots have begun their offseason spending spree, and the best reaction to Monday’s big moves may have come from the team’s official Twitter account.
Bill Belichick made a pair of big free agent signings on Monday when the Patriots agreed to deals with star tight end Jonnu Smith and nose tackle Davon Godchaux. Shortly after the news became public, the team’s official Twitter account shard a photo with no caption.
You may recognize the photo from last year’s virtual NFL Draft. ESPN had live cameras set up to capture the setups from every team’s head coach and general manager, and Belichick’s dog may as well have made one of the Patriots’ picks. You can see what happened here.
If Belichick’s dog is the one who decided to address the team’s need for a pass-catching tight end and interior lineman, he’s going to be even more endeared to fans in New England.
Bruce Arians has been open about the fact that he does things a lot differently from Bill Belichick, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach insists people have misinterpreted some of his remarks.
Arians has seemingly boasted about giving Tom Brady freedom he never had in New England. In an appearance on Showtime with Ray Lewis this week, Arians was asked to shed some light on Brady’s motivation for winning a seventh Super Bowl. He found a very diplomatic way to say Brady wanted to prove he could win a title without Belichick. Arians also had high praise for the Patriots coach.
“I think his competitive spirit is so strong that he wanted to do it. He wanted to show people,” Arians said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I’ve never said anything bad about Bill Belichick; I know everybody tries to say I do. His record speaks for itself. He is probably the greatest one ever. But I think [Brady] wanted to try a different way.”
There’s no question Brady wanted to prove he could win without Belichick, and he did just that. What’s more debatable, however, is whether or not Arians has taken swipes at his fellow coach.
Arians made some comments during the postseason that clearly seemed critical of Belichick. A lot of people feel he basically lucked into having Brady as his quarterback and is now trying to take credit for handling the 43-year-old better than Belichick did. The reality is the Bucs had a much more talented roster than New England, which is one of the main reasons — if not the main reason — Brady chose Tampa Bay.
If you ask Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, neither of them is focusing on the other in their first season apart from each other. Former members of the New England Patriots who know both men well, however, think that’s not the truth.
Albert Breer of SI polled a number of ex-Patriots on the Belichick-Brady relationship. One of the questions asked was whether the two were keeping score and competing with each other, whether consciously or not. The answer was overwhelmingly yes, with perhaps the best take being offered by former New England linebacker Ted Johnson.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Johnson said. “I think [Brady]’s scratching an itch he’s had for a while; I really do. And so it’s very important for both these guys. Neither of them will say it directly. I think they are obsessed with trying to prove the other wrong right now. And I think you’re seeing it from Tom. He’ll never say it; Bill will never say it. But I think they’re both obsessed in their pursuit of proving they can win without the other.”
Rodney Harrison, another ex-Patriot, added that Brady is a master at “creating motivation” and was certain that the quarterback would use his exit from New England that way.
Brady had nothing but praise for Belichick earlier this week. It was likely genuine, and it’s doubtful that the two are constantly thinking of each other. That said, they are both intensely competitive people who will not like seeing the other do well without them. It’s just how they’re wired, even if it isn’t really malicious.