Realistically, this is kind of refreshing when you think about it. An offseason of THEY HATE THEIR COACH is by far more relaxing than spending the summer talking about losing a first-round draft pick over having cameras in the wrong place in the stadium. Or losing a first-round draft pick because weather. Or learning the ins, outs, and corkscrew turns of the NFL appeals process as it relates to “conduct detrimental to the game” as opposed to “equipment violations”, or the U.S. District Court....or watching Peyton Manning win a Super Bowl for that matter, so there’s always that.
So what started a couple weeks after the Super Bowl with Eagles tackle Lane Johnson taking a victory lap - which, by all means, go for it, if you can beat the GOAT, you’ve earned it - now we’re up to Cassius Marsh getting himself cut on purpose and another Eagles offensive lineman is getting his shots in.
Only this one’s playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon a little bit - Philly guard Brandon Brooks never played for Belichick, although he did play for former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in Houston, which, ipso facto, gives Brooks plenty of expertise on the subject.
(Editor’s Note: does it, though? Cause if so, everyone who played for Josh McDaniels in Denver and Charlie Weiss at Notre Dame and Eric Mangini in New York and Nick Saban in Miami would like a word)
Speaking after the Eagle’s OTAs on Tuesday, Brooks unloaded his we-are-never-ever-getting-back-together on the Patriots organization, by way of playing under O’Brien. From our pals (hey, this isn’t THEIR fault) over at Bleeding Green Nation:
“It’s crazy that people haven’t known this,” said Brooks. “It’s been this way for like a decade. You’ve seen— Reggie Wayne did it. He retired. He went there [to the Patriots] for a training camp and retired. Shit is not fun there. I was under the same regime in Houston [with O’Brien]. I almost retired. Shit was miserable, every day. Every day.”
“I came in [as a rookie] under [Gary] Kubiak, who was just an older version of Doug [Pederson], then I went to O’Brien, who was Belichick, and then I came back to Doug, who’s like Kubes, so for me, man, shit was great. Like, I cannot tell you how much better this is than it was down there. Like, it’s just night and day. What does [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] say? Happy workers make more productive workers. When you’re not having fun, man, those grinding, those hard-ass nosed days ...”
BAH GAWD IS THAT LANE JOHNSON’S MUSIC??
Brooks got cut off by fellow Pro Bowler and All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson.
“All the media wants to talk about is rings,” Johnson started. “Rings. I’m going to get this ring and never wear it one day. I’m going to put it away in a box. The only thing you’re going to remember from your playing days, you’re not going to remember the scores. You’re going to remember the people you played with and how you felt. And that’s the truth.
“All these guys talking about ‘I’ll take the rings.’ OK. You can have your rings. You can also have f***ing 15 miserable years.”
You know how things tend to pop into your head after a full holiday weekend of sun, fun, food, and...um, more fun? Turns out it was just about 9 years ago that New England was going through another rebuild of sorts, and Bill sending four guys home that were late for a meeting because of a snowstorm turned into Adalius Thomas unloading on the team with - wait for it - almost some of the same criticism we’re hearing now. Weird.
“That’s one thing about Mother Nature, you can’t control that,” Thomas said. “You can’t run people over getting to work. There’s nothing to apologize about. I don’t know what else to say. You leave home, cars sitting there, it’s not The Jetsons, I can’t jump up and fly. What the hell am I supposed to do? I don’t want people to think I just didn’t show up and didn’t have a reason. That’s not true. That’s not true at all.”
So what did Thomas do when he was sent home for showing up late?
“He’s the head coach, he makes the calls, you have to abide by it,” said Thomas. “I was told to go home, I went home . . . put my toes up in the air and relaxed.”
Asked whether he’d be motivated by the move, Thomas continued his rant.
“Motivation is for kindergartners,” Thomas said. “I’m not a kindergartner. Sending somebody home, that’s like, ‘Oh he’s expelled’ . . . That’s ridiculous. Motivation?”
“The Patriot Way, it’s a hard way to live if you ask me,” Bruschi, also a former standout at the University of Arizona, told azcentral sports during a recent conference call. “...Always under constant pressure.”
”I could give you an easy answer of, all for one and one for all, things like that, a little bit hunky-dory, but it’s not really. It’s hard. It’s a hard way to live with your coach that’s always putting pressure on you, a fan base that constantly puts pressure on you. You’ve got to love the pressure and live for the pressure to play in New England. That’s the way it is.”
It’s always been an “us against them” fight, added Bruschi, who won three Super Bowl titles during his 13-year career with the Patriots that spanned from 1996 to 2008.
”Yeah, you’ve also got to know you’re also getting pressure from outside sources,” he said. “And they feel it inside that locker room sometimes, that everybody out there doesn’t want them to win. That’s the way we felt.”
Aaaaaaand that brings us full circle to what the newest Patriots Hall of Famer Matt Light told everyone a couple weeks after the Super Bowl. It works for some people, not so much for others, the same way some people could dead-lift 300 lbs after hearing a Ray Lewis speech and some people would hear the same thing and think something like:
It almost makes you miss the days when all people were saying was they weren’t here to kiss Belichick’s rings.