Patriots handling of players is under criticism

Is the Patriot Way the right way? Wes Welker and others don't think so

8/8/13 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Aug 3, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass before a scrimmage held at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsOnly a few months after leaving the Patriots in free agency, wide receiver Wes Welker is opening up about his former team, his former coach, and why he left New England to join the Denver Broncos.

Welker says that the overbearing nature of head coach Bill Belichick was one of the reasons he parted ways with the Patriots.
 
"It was just kind of hard. One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him . . . But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is. When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think. I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?"

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:
Here's the truth: The Patriots do owe the public, because they and every other sports team in America take from the public, profit from the public, sell their name to the public. The Patriots sell their players not just as athletes but as people whose names fans should wear proudly on their backs, and it is the coach who takes the credit for his acumen when his find dances in the end zone or, as Hernandez did, makes a $50,000 charitable donation.

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.

Jul 24, 2013; Foxborough, MA, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick arrives for a press conference at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY SportsTeams 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.
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8/8/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

What I wonder is what are they supposed to say about the Hernandez situation? No matter what concerns they had about him, murder probably isn't going to cross one's mind. It's why I can't criticize Pats or Urban Meyer for not seeing it coming, because who would?

Also, I'm not sure Belichick is even that much worse than any other coach, if at all. I consider all football coaches at that level to be obsessed borderline sociopaths. Belichick just doesn't bother trying to hide it.

8/8/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Jess wrote:
I'm not a fan of the Patriots by any stretch of the imagination but the fact that they did the jersey exchange I think more than fulfills their "responsibility" to the public (not that I think they're in any way responsible for the Hernandez mess.) Bryant is crazy.

And I think it's always been quite obvious to even the most casual fan just how overbearing Belichick is. Makes for a good coach though...even if he is a jerk.

or is the upset ex employee wrong,.. guess it all depends on how one see a glass with sand in it,,,

8/8/13   |   Jess   |   34625 respect

I'm not a fan of the Patriots by any stretch of the imagination but the fact that they did the jersey exchange I think more than fulfills their "responsibility" to the public (not that I think they're in any way responsible for the Hernandez mess.) Bryant is crazy.

And I think it's always been quite obvious to even the most casual fan just how overbearing Belichick is. Makes for a good coach though...even if he is a jerk.