New England Patriots great Willie McGinest went to Reddit to answer questions from fans across the world. Naturally, most of the questions revolved around his time with the Patriots.
The best question on the day was about the Patriots release of Lawyer Milloy prior to the 2003 season and how the players in the locker room actually felt. McGinest gave a great response:
It did make us think in the locker room. He was one of our best players, he was a little brother to me. There was some uneasiness after he was let go. Belichick brought us into the meeting room and said we all loved Lawyer. But he had to make a lot of tough decisions, but ultimately he had to do what was best for the team. It wasn't personal. Bill cared for Lawyer.
We also ended up beating the Bills by the same score the last game of that season. Us starters were out of the game because we were beating them so badly, but when the Bills were in the redzone, we were all put back in just because we didn't want them to score any points.
Milloy's release led to the "the players in the locker room hate Bill Belichick" trope that we like to throw around from time to time.
This is also a great example of how the team enforced the Patriot Way and why my tracking garbage time doesn't matter. The defense doesn't care about the point in the game- they don't want to allow anything on the board. This rings true to how McGinest said the defense reacted to Drew Bledsoe's injury in 2001:
Our attention went straight to defense. We didn't want to harp on the injury too much. Our main goal was to just keep the other team out of the endzone.
One play at a time.
A Steelers fan asked McGinest about how Belichick separates himself from the other coaches in the league:
He has an innate ability to find guys that work so well in his system and understand their strengths and weaknesses. The other thing that he does so well that other coaches can't do... is he can go on the offensive side of the ball with OC Daniels and game plan against opponents defensive weaknesses. He gets the best out of people!
We tend to take away a lot of the credit from Matt Patricia, to heap it on to Bill Belichick, but I don't think it'd be far off base to say that Belichick's influence covers every aspect of the team.
McGinest answered which current player reminds him of himself (Jamie Collins!), and the hardest guy to tackle (Barry Sanders!), and the funniest guy in the locker room (Matt Light!), but the most revealing answer was how McGinest said that he'd cover Rob Gronkowski:
I would do great! I would just jam him at the line.
It's brilliant! And it's unfortunate that McGinest had to share the secret to stopping Gronkowski with the rest of the league. It seems that only the Giants have perfected the Gronkowski defense:
Hi, my name is Rob Gronkowski and I wish officials would call penalties on the defense. pic.twitter.com/NOSAGBy2qO— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) November 19, 2015
I'm sure we'll just see more of this moving forward. Thanks, Willie.
Check out the AMA here; it's worth a read.