Welker says that the overbearing nature of head coach Bill Belichick was one of the reasons he parted ways with the Patriots.
Sure, Wes. It's a little crazy. And perhaps Belichick is a little over the top, when you compare him to other NFL coaches and how they control what their players say. That having been said, the Patriots have a reputation for ignoring all the distractions around them and focusing on winning football games, and they've been pretty damn good at that.
Belichick's record with the Patriots is 151-57, for a rather ridiculous .726 winning percentage. No active coach has a winning percentage that high. Even if you include his seasons with the Browns, where coaches go to die, Belichick's .649 career winning percentage speaks for itself. It's 18th all time, and 5th among active coaches with at least 4 seasons under their belt.
Welker's not the only one criticizing Belichick lately. ESPN writer Howard Bryant wrote this interesting piece about Belichick and QB Tom Brady's unwillingness to speak out about Aaron Hernandez's murder case.
While Welker's criticism is relevant and possibly worth mentioning, since it affects the Patriots and their ability to sign (and retain) players, Bryant's take on the Patriots' leadership is completely off base, almost embarrassingly so.
Apparently, Bryant is upset that Brady and Belichick didn't spend hours rehashing their professional relationship with Hernandez, and take some sort of responsibility for the fact that he may have murdered several individuals, despite the fact that Brady and Belichick had nothing to do with the alleged crimes, and aren't responsible for babysitting Hernandez, a grown man, once he completes his duties with the team.
From Bryant's column:
Teams bathe in the fiction that they value character, can spot it and develop it; yet here, when character actually mattered, the great coach and his legendary quarterback looked as small as a hash mark. Had Hernandez saved a toddler from drowning instead of allegedly putting a bullet into a friend, the Patriots would have claimed him. The hero machine would have churned, applauding itself for giving the poor kid from the tough background a chance, first to take credit for the sunshine. But since Brady, who has "moved on," values only victory, then maybe the public should not care about his golf tournaments, charity events and foundations, the image scrubbings that are part of the hero game.
On one hand, he's right. If Hernandez had done something heroic, the Patriots would have shown pride that one of their employees did something great. Just like any other employer on the planet.
Teams SHOULD take pride and celebrate the positive things that their players do. They should honor those players, recognize the fact that they went above and beyond their duty and made a positive impact on the community. That should be celebrated, if and when it happens. I'm not saying the organization should take credit for one man's good deeds, but of course they should recognize it.
But when someone does something that reflects negatively on the team or does something deplorable and illegal, exactly what is the team's responsibility there?
Are the Patriots responsible for Odin Lloyd's death? Of course not.
Are they responsible for everything that every single one of their employees does in their free time? Of course not.
The Patriots addressed Hernandez's alleged actions. They fired him, when they cut him from the team. They showed their disapproval for what he was accused of doing. They even gave fans a chance to return Hernandez jerseys and swap them out with another player free of charge.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are a quarterback and a football coach, respectively. Their leadership applies to the New England Patriots, mostly on the football field. Once Hernandez was cut, it was no longer their duty to address what he did, nor would it be beneficial for them to drag it on.
Bill Belichick may not be a perfect coach or a perfect human being, but it has always been clear that there's one thing on his mind at all times, and that's winning football games. That has never changed. Nor should it.