It’s Monday and the start of the work week, but here’s a quick rundown of today’s top stories as we get back into it.
Belichick Called Gronk Out In Front of Team Last Season – Reading a lot of the reports this offseason about Rob Gronkowski’s frustrations with the team haven’t provided much insight, but it looks like there’s one report that corroborates some of what we’ve heard in regards to the reported friction between the tight end and head coach Bill Belichick.
According to the Boston Herald, there was an instance early last season where Belichick reportedly chastized Gronkowski in front of the team for being a TB12 client, which backs up the report by Seth Wickersham that ran during the season about there being tension among players other than Tom Brady working out with Alex Guerrero outside of the team’s own strength and conditioning staff.
There have been several reports about there being frustrations among the “planet players”, with Gronkowski and Brady being among those who aren’t pleased with the current environment. We saw Gronkowski’s post to Danny Amendola following his decision to sign with the Dolphins this offseason, which included the phrases, “Be FREE” and “Be HAPPY”, while not really understanding the reasoning behind it. He’s also said that he’ll be back as long as Brady is here, which also raised an eyebrow among those who were trying to figure out what could have been going on behind the scenes that caused it to get to this point.
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It was a honor playing with ya the past 5 years @dannyamendola Thanks for all the hugs and memories! Stay lit, Be FREE, Be HAPPY. Your hard work, the way you play at your size, the pain you fought through, the hits you take and get right back up talking shit back. I appreciated it all. Congrats. Enjoy Miami kid.
If the Herald report is true, and Karen Guregian is generally not one to put things out there if they aren’t, it explains Gronkowski’s unhappiness and the rumors around his frustrations. The veteran tight end is rumored to be mentally worn down but reports indicate that despite his talk of retirement, he’s planning on being out there this season.
Meanwhile, photos of Gronkowski this offseason seem to show that the tight end is thinner than he was during the season, but Guregian reports that Gronkowski is only down about 5 pounds from the 265 pounds he normally plays at and is expected to be back up to his playing weight, “if not a few pounds heavier” by the time camp begins.
Thankfully, the fact he’ll be on the field in 2018 should be all fans really care about at this point given all the whispers and controversy that continues to swirl about this topic. What we do know is there definitely seems to have been enough to back up much of what we’ve heard, and the only question now will simply be whether or not they can put it behind them and set their sights on another Super Bowl run.
Bielema has been helping the Patriots & brings plenty of knowledge in the college world.
Patriots Looking to Continue Success From Bielema – While the NFL Draft certainly isn’t an exact science, the Patriots seem to have had some success when it comes to trusting the judgment of former college coach Brett Bielema.
Bielema, who coached both the Wisconsin Badgers and most recently, the Arkansas Razorbacks, has reportedly been spotted at the combine with the Patriots staff while also wearing the team’s gear at USC’s pro day and he’s been busy seemingly helping the team scout players heading into the upcoming NFL Draft.
Mike Reiss of ESPN points out that when it comes to selecting players within Bielema’s programs, they’ve nailed them, including James White (Wisconsin, 2014), defensive end Trey Flowers (selected out of Arkansas in 2015) and most recently, Deatrich Wise Jr. (selected out of Arkansas in 2017). He also points out that the good thing about bringing in someone like Bielema is the fact that he brings in a different perspective along with his familiarity with these prospects since he’s either coached or competed against many of them.
That’s good news for a team that despite a large number of picks is obviously better served to hit on more than they miss. Each of the three players mentioned each has become an impact player on the team and that’s exactly what they obviously hope for since Belichick and the Patriots certainly can never have too many of those on the roster.
It’s an interesting perspective on the process and it’s been good to read about some of what goes on behind the scenes, along with the work and due diligence that is done when it comes to this process. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks who ultimately ends up on the roster heading into training camp and hopefully, each becomes a productive player since an infusion of youth is vital to any team’s future, including a perennial contender like New England.
As for Bielema, one interesting note is that according to the Arkansas Times, he recently put his house in Fayetteville on the market, which is stunning and is described as a “Magnificent two level European style Estate on 2 Acres” and is 6309 square foot Manor that features 5 garages, 2 fireplaces, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, wet bar, exercise room, heated saltwater pool among many of the amenities. The home is listed at $1.97-million if you’re interested.
Brady, Edelman already back at work – Reiss also reported on Sunday that both Brady and Julian Edelman have been back at it, with the two spotted recently getting some work in together.
According to Reiss, the two spent Wednesday at the Empower Field House throwing with Edelman running routes as they start preparing for the upcoming season. The offseason workout program is set to begin on April 16th but it looks like it’s just been business as usual for the two, which is good news after they each missed out on having a full season together following Edelman’s knee injury during last year’s preseason that cost him the 2017 season and subsequent Super Bowl run.
It’s a positive sign on the Edelman front, as coming off of a torn ACL it seems like he hasn’t been dealing with any setbacks. Thankfully, for now, all signs appear to point toward him being ready to go when training camp opens in a few months.
Patricia will address his new team for the first time Monday. (USA TODAY Images)
Patricia Wants to Bring a Family Atmosphere to the Lions – We’ll close out this morning’s on this note, with an upbeat report about former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is set to address his team for the first time on Monday.
According to the Lions’ official site, the message from Patricia is going to focus on the fact he’s looking to focus on “the relationship part of this game”, with the idea of putting together a tight-knit group that is focused on playing smart, tough, and fundamentally sound football.
“I think it’s just going to be who I am and what the team should be,” Patricia said via DetroitLions.com, speaking on what the first message to his team will be. “I think it’s important for them to understand who I am as a person and how I feel about this game and how passionate I am about this game.”
“How much I believe in the relationship part of this game. This is family. That will hopefully all be conveyed through my conversation with them the first time I get a chance to talk to them.”
How things unfolded here last season tells you a lot about the relationship many of the Patriots’ defensive players had with Patricia, whose group struggled mightily in the early part of last season before ultimately settling in and becoming one of the top groups in the NFL in terms of points allowed down the stretch.
One thing worth noting is the fact we’ve seen in the past how early season struggles can sometimes derail team’s seasons as players start questioning the calls and schemes, yet Patricia never lost the locker room. In fact, they came together even more so in the face of adversity and it was one of the better stories last season, with the exception being what happened against the Eagles in February. However, Patricia was somewhat hamstrung in that game since they were without Malcolm Butler on the field, but his overall body of work during his final season in New England was commendable, despite the fact they didn’t achieve the desired outcome.
GM Bob Quinn told reporters during the league’s annual meetings that Patricia’s history of success on the field carried plenty of weight for the players they added in free agency, and that guys are excited to get to work.
“I think when the players sit down and talk to Matt, they get a real connection with him very early on,” said Quinn. “As you guys have gotten to know him a little bit, he’s a very personable guy. You sit down, and he tells you what he envisions the team’s going to be like this year, next year, and the future and then your role.”
“Guys get excited. Guys watch the Patriots, who have won a lot of games over the years. So, I think guys kind of see what he’s done with players and say, ‘I can do that, or I can do that better.’ So, I think it’s helped.”
For now, Patricia is excited to get started and credits his Italian heritage and his love of teaching and building relationships as the driving force that got him out of engineering into the football world, and now he’s looking forward to building his new family in Detroit.
“I was raised in an Italian household, so one phone call and it’s 30 people at a birthday party,” Patricia said. “I enjoy that atmosphere. That’s the way to me that – in addition to teaching – I left engineering to get back into football because I just think this is the one game that really preaches that. Preaches kind of that unity that team that family atmosphere.”
“I’ve just always found that the more I invest in people and people invest in me, the harder I think you work for them and the harder they work for you. That’s important to me. Again, I enjoy those relationships a lot. They are very important to me. I definitely want to have people around me that are family.”
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Notebook