When Mike Vrabel and Matt Patricia were announced as the men tasked with establishing new regimes in their respective cities this offseason, each publicly maintained the status quo. In their introductory team press conferences — events which typically provide little more than an opportunity to conduct a rousing 15-minute session of cliché bingo — each pledged, more or less through vague platitudes, to bring a ‘new attitude’ and establish a culture of championship success.
For both men, the new mindset and methodology they are striving to impart upon their new organizations has the same roots — a system of core principles and processes that have been ingrained into their football psyches through years of tutelage under Bill Belichick. In New England, success has thrust a moniker upon this system — distilling it into a concentrated, marketing-friendly slogan: ‘Do Your Job’ — and the more recent sobriquet: ‘The Patriot Way’.
According to a conversation new Tennessee Titan’s cornerback Malcolm Butler had with SI’s Robert Klemko, the Patriots-esque organizational mindset that first year head coach Mike Vrabel is working to install is in full effect. It’s one that Butler is all too familiar with.
“It’s the Patriots system, one of the greatest systems in the NFL,” Butler told Klemko, speaking on the Titan’s system. “You can tell Mike played for Belichick because you can see some of the similarities. They’re about winning the way New England is about winning.
“One thing I saw early: Mike will put you on blast. He don’t care who’s around. He’s going to say what’s right. He might be a bit looser than Bill Belichick, but they’re both great guys. A man caught a ball on me—honestly I don’t know his name yet—but Mike let me hear about it. ‘Don’t get stuck on top of the routes like that! Make a play!’ Nobody cares where you come from or what you make. Everyone’s equal. And you can tell from the head coach all the way down to the interns, everybody wants to win.”
Detroit Lions star cornerback Darius Slay — a colorful personality known for his even more colorful sound bites, also spoke with Klemko while attending a new cornerback summit hosted by veteran Richard Sherman. Evidence of Matt Patricia’s new policies were on display, as the gregarious Pro Bowler showed caution when asked to remark on this offseason in Detroit.
“Lawd Jesus, not the Lions.” Slay said. “I ain’t fin to have Patricia calling me. He already done warned us man! They’re strict.”
It’s clear that the apples falling from the Belichick head coaching tree aren’t falling very far.