Much like Tom Brady, who we’re obviously about to talk about because, well, you’re at a place called Pats Pulpit, naturally, Rich Eisen’s a unicorn in his given field of expertise. The takes he’s been dishing out for almost 25 years and counting are never too hot, never too cold, and always facts-only and posers-leave-the-hall authentic. That, and the part where his blistering 40-yard-dash time has raised over a cool one million dollars for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, of course.
And he’s here to tell you that even after everyone except the New York Football Giants reportedly got an A+ draft grade and outbid each other on the ELITEST of free agents this spring, the road to the Super Bowl still rolls through New England, not only because they’re (obviously) the defending world champions, but there’s also this guy:
.....who, you may have heard, if you were goofing off on the internet while you were supposed to be working this week (and you were), has been over at UCLA slinging the rock to some fresh faces. And by that we mean some kids old enough to be his sons.
That laser focus on perfection, to the point where Brady’s practicing with dudes that, as those March Madness commercials so fondly remind us, “will mostly go pro in something other than sports” got Rich’s blood flowing and we got the following sermon that, personally, I’d take over church 7 days a week and twice on Sundays:
(we’ve helpfully transcribed it all for you below in case you’ve suffered the worst fate known to man: FORGETTING YOUR HEADPHONES)
“Let me say this, please. If you don’t think this guy is going to show up as a 42-year-old and do things that no 42-year-olds have ever done, just so he can say that he’s doing things as a 42-year-old that no one’s ever going to do again, if you don’t think that that is a significant motivation for him, you are out of your freaking minds. And everybody in the AFC East that’s got their quarterbacks of the future, the Jets and the Bills, and hopefully for Josh Rosen’s sake, the Dolphins, everybody is going to have to go shoot at the king, up there on his New England iron throne, and if you don’t think he wants to be back-to-back at age 41 and 42 so he can sit here and say, that he’s doing things that no 41 and 42 year old has ever done, and no 41 and 41 and 42 year old will ever do again, you are out of your freaking minds.
He is just going to absolutely show up in September and say ‘come shoot at the king’. And Belichick drafted brilliantly, with the rest of the crew there with Bill. And what they did, is what they have done, is they’re getting running backs back there, they’re just going to try and beat you with matchup games coming out of the backfield so Tom can get rid of the ball fast. And he’s going to get rid of the ball to the right people, in the right matchups, and you go beat him. And if you’ve set your defense up to beat him that way, he’ll just beat you with somebody else.
So, I’m excited for Browns fans, I’m excited for Chiefs fans, with the exception of what’s going on with Tyreek Hill. I’m waiting for him to be released, quite frankly, to be quite honest with you. I’m excited for all the AFC fans coming out of the draft. Because you’re all sleeping on the Patriots again.”
The man has seen this movie before.
So aside from the satisfaction of “To be the man, you gotta beat the man” that we have going on here, Rich also subtly hints at a point that seems to be getting way oversimplified to the point of sounding like a John Madden-ism after this past season: the whole running back situation and how the Patriots can scheme to beat you.
We’ve heard it for going on, what, 8 months now? The eyeball-test “well they’re running the ball more now!” because Sony’s getting the carries and the scores, right? Since I’ve already jumped on the roof and yelled that the 2018 Patriots run/pass ratio was more or less identical to almost every season this decade, we won’t rehash THAT again, but all these do-it-all backs and different kinds of weapons that the Patriots love play exactly into one of the main strengths of the Erhardt-Perkins system New England’s offense is based on. What strength is that? When you’ve got a slew of dudes that
A) know all the assignments on any given play, and
B) can and will line up anywhere on that play (think like when they audible James Develin or James White out wide),
If everyone’s on the same page eyeballing the defense and does their job, that defense 9 times out of 10 is a Thanksgiving turkey waiting to be carved as soon as the ball gets snapped
Or, to put it another way, the exact opposite of *certain* coaches who will not be named because we all know who they are that go in every week like “We’re going to run OUR offense”....which usually ends up with them playing golf after New Year’s.
Hit the books and the tape, Jarrett Stidham - this is what you’re walking into. No pressure.