Why are some players on fire in New England? Patriots don’t want players who are “OK to play 8-8”
The New England Patriots are famous for bringing players with high expectations just for them to thrive. Whether it’s a highly drafted rookie or a veteran free agent, some players come to New England and just never put everything in place.
The wide receiver position is notoriously tricky for some guys. From Joey Galloway in 2009 to Eric Decker in 2018, the Patriots have a long line of receivers who have fallen short of expectations.
But why is it so difficult for some guys but doable for others? That was the question asked of Tom Brady during an appearance on WEEI’s OMF show. A post route is a post route wherever you go. What’s the difference in New England that gives guys trouble?
Brady didn’t touch on the X’s and O’s. He says it boils down to two words: trust and “reliability.”
What does it mean? It means not to be a guy who is okay with an 8-8.
“When I think of confidence and reliability, I don’t think of it as being on a team where you’re 8-8,” Brady said. “I think of the confidence and reliability of a championship level team.
“I think there are a lot of players who – it might be OK to go 8-8, they’ve been involved with teams that are 8-8 or less than that, 4-12, 2-14”, Brady continued. “They can make plays. But it’s one thing to play on a 2-14 team. It’s another to play consistently on a team that is 14-2.
That’s a broad way of seeing it, but sums up how the Patriots tend to describe their approach. According to Brady, the level of detail and consistency of a playoff team is different than that of a losing team.
(It’s not that Tom Brady knows much about losing teams. The last time he was on a team that fell below 0.500 was his rookie season in 2000. He didn’t. part of a team that has won less than 10 games since 2002.)
Many players arriving in New England comment on how different the culture and standards are. There is no wiggle room there. Players who fail don’t stay long.
“I think we need a very, very high level of consistency and reliability,” Brady said. “If you don’t bring that, I think other people can fill those roles.”
Brady wanted to clarify one thing: this line of thinking doesn’t strike any particular player. Instead, he said it was more to the credit of the guys who built this culture in New England. You can see the results of their confidence and reliability on the biggest stages.
“Watch the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl,” Brady said. “Who’s in the game? This is who the team trusts the most. If you think back to our Seattle game. If you think back to our game against Atlanta. If you think back to the Eagles game. If you think back to the Rams game. Who was in the field? This is what everyone felt, in the greatest moment, gave our team the best chance of winning.
The final test for the Patriots will be whether their new wide receiver options – Mohamed Sanu and injured rookie N’Keal Harry – live up to and live to their potential in this offense. We have a few optimistic results matches from Sanu so far. As for Harry, we’ll have to wait until at least Week 10 to see what he looks like live.