The Patriots Way Branches Out
The New England Patriots are the marquee franchise of the NFL in this generation. One of their largest calling cards during their two decades of success is stability on top, with the trio of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady staying put for the whole run, as well as some important pieces like Josh McDaniels, Dante Scarnecchia and Brian Flores. A recent trend, as the Belichick disciples started to branch out, is other franchises making a special effort to bring in free agents from the Pats to help out their team, and they are for sure getting paid. Let’s take a look at the motif and reasoning behind this trend.
Belichick has been around the league long enough to see a lot of his previous proteges take charge in leading teams now, be it former coordinators like Matt Patricia and Brian Flores, to former players in Mike Vrabel. There are also a good number of Patriots free agents being signed for slightly above market price past few years. Namely a disgruntled Malcolm Butler, Trey Flowers and two left tackles in Nate Solder and Trent Brown.
The quickest explanation is the culture. As a head coach, they can obviously start from the top down, but it will seriously help by bringing in people that have been around the Patriot culture on their own. The price tag will become a question, as those type of players are way more touted for now. On top of that, there are also concerns with the inherent culture itself. The Patriots are all about “Do Your Job” and maintain the level of consistency and that is drilled into the heads. However, the problem is that not everyone gets access to the big picture and hence, not being able to get a nice grasp of what is going on thoroughly.
The other drawback is the quality of coaching and that is best exemplified by the signing of the linemen. Dante Scarnecchia is a Hall of Fame-level position coach right now, and his impact can be seen from the improvement in line play since his return in 2016. Given, a huge factor was Brady getting rid of the ball within the blink of an eye, but his blocking schemes are truly something special. The Giants and the Lions decided to pry away the bodyguard of Brady two straight years in a row, but they might not be able to retain their levels of play, much like some other Patriot's free agents, just because the level of coaching is subpar. Most of those teams might also lack organizational stability that was instrumental to the Patriots’ success as they have recently undergone coaching change and are currently implementing a new culture.
It is understandable that the lack of success can be somewhat of a blanket statement and a lot of factors come in play, but one thing that is in common is that the Patriots culture gave those players an opportunity to secure the bag.
Ryan Lam is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.