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The "Burnout" factor

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFanInVa, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All the usual suspects aside (McDaniels, BB, Brady, Pioli, the Krafts, the O Line, injuries, the game plan, etc.,) I personally am not freaked out by a 6-3 start. What lends the chicken-littles credence, however, is the uncharacteristically "open" nature of some of the Pats' own comments this year (at least, as I've heard them.)

    Obviously, we've heard from Seymour, who mentioned being "outcoached," and mentioned he wasn't getting enough reps. We've heard from Brady, who's criticized the "sand pit," (though he had the grace to wait until the field turf decision was announced,) and IIRC made some minor disparaging remarks when Branch did get let go. At least in the Brady case, he's always started with himself when it was time to pass blame around, in fairness.

    Then there's the whole Posture Watch contingent, the people (notably announcers) who want to decide Brady's state of mind based on body language. Not to mention the recently dubbed "Felger-Killin Corey Dillon."

    Here's what this post is not: A slam on any of these guys for feeling frustration. Here's what this post is: an open question on the possibility of a "burnout" effect -- coming to terms with the fact that they've bought into the system lock, stock, and barrel, and that they're expected to behave as always, when the team is not dominating, and when the front office -- for all their business acumen -- tends to treat personality and loyalty as nonexistent.

    The FO is right, of course -- that is the state of the sport at the moment, and they had a great deal of success by realizing that fact early, making ruthless cuts when players were unaffordable luxuries. Bledsoe. Law. Patten. Now WillieMac, Adam, Branch, and Givens. It's likely Pats players know they're right. But that doesn't stop it from having a mental effect.

    So here's the question: just as the Pats have always played as more than the sum of their parts, could we be seeing a disruption that you could phrase as the removal of that synergy effect? As in, the individual talent level is still high, but the ability to adapt has gotten ablated away until individuals are just emotionally raw?

    Or as has been posited elsewhere, is Bridget Moynahan just necessitating too many late nights and possibly performance enhancing substance use with some sort of game day side-effects on Brady's part?

    Okay that last part was totally tongue in cheek... (mmmmm... Bridget Moynahan... tongue in cheeeeeek...) Uh, as was that last last part. But the question is serious:

    We know the Patsfans posters are showing frustration (yeah yeah especially newbies...) But is the team showing burnout effects?

    That said/asked - whatever's broke will look fixed if/when we win the next two. So goddammit don't start chicken little hating back at me.

    PFnV
  2. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    This is possible..I think we all look to connect the dots and find the missing pieces. ALl of that is possible...but there is so much we do not know...and what we do not know will in fact give this whole issue weight or not. All of what you said is true..about Seymour, Brady....Vrabel and TroyB all have said other things as well..but I don't know if this is really all true or not. Is the fact that more is out there this year a sign of what is going on inside?? What if it's not necessarily MORE, but that more is out there...and that in past years there's been just as much or more dealt with internally..just that the
    windows and doors were shut tighter???
    The proof may be in the pudding..the way the last 7 games are played and how much momentum this team has going into the playoffs. Football is an emotional game and whatever is said, the last two games were full of frustration; games that were close full of could have beens/should haves/whys and if onlys.....if you think the newbies are frustrated..I think BB and the coaches and players are more so exponentially.
    There may be a "burnout effect"..or some x factor in the chemsitry of it all that is not there..but as much as one looks at the last two games, one must not forget the Vikings and Bengals games. and not be looking at it from the aftermath of their collapses but with what it looked like on the other side..the impossible trip to Cinci and the Vikes, almost unstoppable in the Dome. These were two very impressive wins.
    In balance, I still feel this team is a work in progress that will evolve more in the next games. If the team comes together and gains momentum like last year, a playoff run may be very possible. If the team sputters and does not, then one and done may be what the team will do in January..or even worse, see a Mangini led Jet team take them down. I don't think that is probable, but worst case senario..and in the minds of many...VERY possible.
    It's great to speculate and connect the dots and find the missing pieces, but I think so much is unknown, it may be impossible to nail it all down. More is out there this year and with back to back losses..totally unexpected, it all may add up to some sort of negative mirage or maybe that balck cloud IS really a storm. Time will tell.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  3. SVN

    SVN Rookie

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    more than burnout its the pressure this team faces day in day out since the last 4-5 yrs...Everyone expects nothing less than a SB,nothing less than BB outsmarting people and i dont mean us fans but every media outlet every analysis ask,"can pats win SB again?"...
    Playing at such a high level for such a long time with constantly changing personnel takes its toll on everyone...Even the 49ers in the 80's went through 2-3 yrs downtime before Rice came in and they won a couple more championships...Right now dynasty is judged in terms of championships not in terms of how long someone can sustain a winning team over a length of time and certainly that pressure can get to anyone...they are human
  4. Tunescribe

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    If there is such a thing, it would point to need for a regime (coaching) change, wouldn't it? I highly doubt it, based on the mere fact that these are very young men in their twenties and early thirties who are pampered athletes making huge sums of money. They should be resilient by nature and, if emotionally mature (which is never a given since they don't live in the "real" world like you and I), should be approaching their jobs professionally. Think about it: Even if they go all the way to the Super Bowl, they still get essentially five months off every year to "decompress" (save for mini-camps and off-season conditioning requirements). If any of these kids feel burned out, they don't love what they do and are in the wrong job.
  5. Patfandango

    Patfandango Rookie

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    Some good points but I don't think burnout is an issue. There is enough turnover that includes hungry veterans (Seau and now Testaverde) that come here with leadership skills and want a ring. I think this has been a deliberate strategy over the years (Cox, Harrison, Dillon etc). The vets have been more vocal this year but I think that Seymour and to some extent Brady are trying to step up to fill the void left by Willie. Hobbs is just vocal and his comment on being mentally fatigued in the 4th quarter was troubling. I also think we all tend to forget how much of a struggle other years have been during the season (except perhaps 2004 when we were just overpowering). I think were progressing and there have been some hard lessons this season that warns this team that playing less than their best jeopardizes victory. Let's see how the playoffs go. I like our experience in T shirt games.
  6. satz

    satz Rookie

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    I do not know where you guys get your info.I was PVN every day and the WEEi shows on comcast on demand [its free] .Anyway , hobbs was nearly in tears when he said it was his fault the pats lost to the JETS .I have seen him talk smack a few times before but this is the first time he took the blame and did not look happy.
    seymour is seymour he is all cool and the people who speak in the locker room not happy or look frustrated .

    I think seeing someone talk in video vs radio outputs a different vibe.i expect a good run from now and even if they do not win the SB as a fan i do support them as the future is bright.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  7. MoLewisrocks

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    Tell you what, I think in an organization where the system has always been credited for allowing a sum of the parts team (they can just plug in the next guy on the depth chart...) to achieve dynasty status, it's only natural for the players to feel that maybe in those seasons where the sum of the parts appear to be out of synch or aren't getting it done perhaps the system should be subject to as much criticism as the talent immediately is. After all, part of the system is a disciplined financial component that determines the level of talent that will be acquired or retained.

    Veteran players who remain here have bought in - though not quite as blindly as some in the fan base and media. They still believe players play and coaches coach and while the best talent cannot necessarily achieve success absent a viable system (See Redskins, Washington, 2002-2006), the most brilliant system cannot consistently succeed without a certain level of talent capable of executing within it (not to mention on occasion a boatload of luck and a hefty dash of karma - See Patriots, 2001).

    The system is relying on a higher percentage of players this season who have little or no foundation in the system than at any time since 2001. And the team was already coming off a season where loss of talent due to injury seemed to stress the system to the point it simply could not overcome it. In all honesty while we pulled it together late last season it was barely enough to succeed against weak competition. The FO made some moves in the offseason designed to upgrade or restock the roster, but they were unable to make some others and in the final analysis even lost a couple of players nobody was anticipating losing. The additions vs. the subtractions may have resulted in little more than a net wash to date due to inexperience in the system. And that may be grating on the veterans of the 2005 team who spent this offseason with avenging that season on their minds.

    There are coaching questions this season on both sides of the ball which is one more side than was being questioned by players and fans midway through last season. Are the players executing inconsistently or are the game plans unimaginative or insufficient or not agressive enough. Or is it because we lack personnel or are those personnel simply not performing as they should have been expected to - or are they not being put in a position to succeed. BB has lost a lot of his support system over the last three seasons - Weis, Crennel, Davidson, Mangini and even Saban who was his defacto scheme consultant through three superbowl runs. Is it possible the AFC teams we face as rivals are catching up to Belichick's schemes or his ability to adapt those is suffering from a talent drain of its own.

    Don Banks is on WEEI now and he's contending that within that locker room the acknowledged leading problem on offense remains lack of consistent execution of routes. And he too is questioning the apparent unwillingness or inability of the coaching staff to make adjustments to opponents whose game plans against us seem to be right on.

    So if there is a burnout factor at work as a component in this teams performance this season, perhaps it's not related to individual desire to play championship football so much as frustration at feeling that that desire is being undercut to a large extent by circumstances out of the relm of the players control.
  8. ChockBlkr

    ChockBlkr Rookie

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    I don't think the players are "burnt out" on the base philosophy of the organization.
    The one consistent thing that I've noticed after every loss this year is that the players seem to be somewhat baffled as to why they really lost. Every player seems to feel that they did what was expected of them as far as their abilities could allow. I agree with them.
    I think that every player has a good working knowledge of the playbook and their own personal responsibilities. I think this is a very solid team talent wise, but as always, there are no "superstar" athletes on the team.
    It just seems, whether by design or not, that the players are very often being put into situations where an above average performance is required for them to be successful and more often than not, they haven't been successful. IMO this is causing the frustration that the players are feeling and it doesn't seem that the coaching staff is adjusting to problem.
    -
  9. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! Rookie

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    The stuff about the players complaining is being overplayed in the media and also at this site somewhat.

    Seymour repeated exactly what his coach said, word for word, after the loss. Nothing more. They got outplayed and outcoached. Exactly what Belichick said.

    Brady has been his usual self. People that say he just isn't himself need to take all the hits that Brady has taken, and then get up and play some more. Brady has yet to back down, although his execution has suffered under pressure. He is human, after all.

    The veterans may feel frustrated, but it is being overplayed in the media right now. These guys are not robots, and I'm gald that they feel frustrated when they lose.
  10. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    Agreed. Belichick has said this every time the team loses.

    I disagree. I have no numbers to back this up, but it seems that this is the most inaccurate Brady has been in his career - even on downs when he is not under pressure from the rush.
  11. patpatriot

    patpatriot Banned

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    "save for mini-camps and off-season conditioning requirements"

    Which actually means that they are still on the job for all but something less than 4-6 weeks a year. Now to time-off starved Americans, this may seem like "well what's the problem? I get *2 weeks* every year to decompresess. Permit me to humbly submit that playing pro football is a way more stress filled job than any of us except some military, fire, police, and day-traders face in their job experience. The possibility of burn out, especially when many have achieved their career goals 2 or 3 times) is very real.
  12. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    The "Burnout" factor...or maybe X factor

    What about calling this an X factor...butnout may be one part...why not call it X..for many things that add up to intangibles... I agree Brady has NOT had a good year..first time..but that is NOT ALl the problem...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  13. Tunescribe

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    "Still on the job" during offseason usually amounts to conditioning work for most rank-and-file players, nothing more. You think that's "stressful"? Certainly, these guys work EXTREMELY hard late July-early January, but you are way, way, WAY overestimating their stress level/potential burnout factor. Don't forget that these are athletically gifted, very young men paid huge sums of money to play a sport. They are pampered and usually have their outside lives provided for and managed for them off the playing field. I'm willing to bet that nearly everyone on this messageboard would jump at the chance to "endure" the stress of living a professional football player's privileged lifestyle. The only remotely possible chance of "burnout" I could fathom might be a quarterback like Brady, but even then I doubt it.
  14. PatsFanInVa

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    Tune, re: the potential for burnout vs. the pampered nature of the performers -- who is most likely to have an explosive (or even non-explosive) meltdown, a rock band or an accounting department?

    Who's more likely to "show signs of burnout," when discussed in a company newsletter, the junior exec on a desk job where he does safe, physically undemanding work 12 hours a day, or the guy working 12 hours a day on power lines or road paving or something, somewhere far from headquarters?


    I'm pretty certain the relatively spoiled life of the athlete is unconnected to burnout potential, or even directly correlated thereto... what made me choose the word has to do with the frustration factor really. Yeah, we could make the case that no pro athlete should ever have a down day, by some measures. By other measures we could take the attitude that we should thank our lucky stars we don't have to intimidate one receiver into performing by calling him a girl, and put a suicide watch on his opposite number.

    All and sundry -

    The Pats (as usual) are pretty much in the middle there. You're expected to act like it's a job, vet your public presence (so people don't ask questions like this one,) and generally act high-class, level-headed, cool, calm, and collected -- and for the most part they do. You can compare the events I'm referring to, to shows of frustration on other teams, and just laugh at the whole idea really easily.

    Thought it was an interesting question to get out there... but right now, I need to get out there, or I'll get to work late. More later.

    PFnV
  15. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not sure I follow you, especially in your last sentence. Frustration and burnout are two entirely different things; I see burnout as a deep mental/physical fatigue that ultimately hinders performance. Regarding the latter, I feel there's a bit of miscalculation/over-dramatization going on here, perhaps a little "projection," that appears unfounded. Let's not talk apples and oranges: what separates your rock band from the accounting department in terms of "explosive meltdown potential" is maturity, discipline, and a sense of professionalism. I spent time around pro football players in my earlier life as a sportswriter, and believe me, these guys are by and large kids missing the maturity level of someone in the "real world" who knows the TRUE pressure of supporting a wife and kids from paycheck to paycheck in a demeaning job with an @sshole boss. THAT is grounds for "burnout." Some NFL players are mature enough to realize how blessed they are and have the proper perspective, but most have never had a real job or had to build a life for themselves from scratch.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  16. PatsFanInVa

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    Long day, Tune. The last sentence was me saying we should thank our lucky stars we're not dealing with Terry Glenn (who parcells referred to as "she" in one of his classic press appearances,) and Terrell Owens (hence the suicide watch.) That was just to say, that the "episodes" with Brady, Seymour, Vrabel, et al., are far short of the worst case scenario -- players who just lose touch with reality.

    Another "more later," I'm afraid. I'm feeling burnt out.

    PFnV
  17. PatsFanInVa

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    Hopefully, I'm not just plain using the wrong word, or indulging in hyperbole, but here's a quick check list of feelings that produce burnout, from a full article found at http://www.helpguide.org/mental/burnout_signs_symptoms.htm:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Burnout is associated with situations in which a person feels:

    overworked
    underappreciated
    confused about expectations and priorities
    concerned about job security
    overcommitted with responsibilities
    resentful about duties that are not commensurate with pay
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Note that there's no analysis of whether the person is realistic in his assessment. Showing signs of burnout has nothing to do with whether you're "right" to resent "only" one million dollars a year. It has to do with whether you feel (for example) resentment about duties not commensurate with pay.

    The Pats are certainly known for working hard; the negative face of that is a player could feel overworked, although I've never seen that puublicly expressed.

    Underappreciated? On a team that does not create superstars, in a town that whines when you go 6-3? Yeah, that could happen.

    Confused about expectations and priorites - I'd say there's a possibility of this one too, given the steady march of coordinators and coaches through the system.

    Concerned about job security - Oh yeah.

    Overcommitted with responsibility - I don't think that plays into it, in this case.

    Resentful about duties that are not commensurate with pay - We see this one every off season, when a Patriot or soon-to-be ex-Patriot is in contract negotiations. Oh yeah they love the team to death... but they have to feed their families. The Pats' pay philosophy usually results in them spending to the cap... but they don't seem to roll out the red carpet in most cases.

    I'm also not suggenting any one "fix" for burnout, even if it does play some part in the current state of affairs -- an assertion I would not be at all comfortable with, unless I know a lot more than I do about the players' mindsets. It might be best to ignore the possibility -- I mean, you want tough players, not self-help readers.

    Finally, look at the guy at the top of the page here. You can't see his face, but who does that look like?

    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/burnout_signs_symptoms.htm:

    PFnV
  18. Tunescribe

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    How did you come up with this notion that any of the Pats are "burned out" to begin with? I just don't see it. By this definition, you could argue that 90 percent of all players in the NFL are burned out. By the way, they must've changed the page you linked, the person at the top looks like Tuna Parcells in drag. :D
  19. PatsFanInVa

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    Well, I do have to say I came up with the "idea," "observation," or whatever, by taking what I've observed via the media this year versus previous years... and I am going from memory.

    But I do not remember as much specific reaction to other departures among people on the team, as I see now. I definitely don't remember Brady going to bat for any of them, as he seemed to do for Branch.

    I think I slung the word "burnout" out there because it struck me as a possibility, that even in a system characterized by change, at a certain point even relatively mature athletes will have a feeling that something's "not right" about the team's philosophy... not some grandly articulated manifesto, just a sourness. Or perhaps a general sourness as you watch the teams you win with disappear year after year. This includes Crennel, Weis, and Mangini as well, if you think about it... yes, somebody steps into each vacancy. But wouldn't you eventually feel the team had run out of depth in coaching, when you get down to a 27 year old OC... who (by Pats' standards,) just isn't winning?

    Now, I will stipulate that the damn team is 6-3, and that such feelings aren't necessarily right. They may, however, be there.

    Or, as another poster here just put it, we can just call it the X factor. We can say everybody has to get used to each other (including the offensive line, which is allowing buckets of sacks.) We can even say we aren't getting the breaks in one form or another, and are losing close games against pretty good - to- elite competition, as some others here say. I would say "X-factor," burnout, or what have you, is consistent with the less chipper attitudes we're seeing both on the field and off (the Brady Posture Watchers' observations, the Vrabel/Seymour "outcoached" comments [it's different when a player says it and you know it,] Brady's seeming sense of personal investment in Branch's fate.)

    It's all speculation... "burnout" is actually a good explanation from the team's point of view, because its one of the things that winning cures. Winning does not cure poor play calling, by contrast, if that's the problem. Just an example.

    Regardless of what we can say now, though, the one thing we have to say is it'll look different in a month. Let's hope it looks different for the better.

    PFnV

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