Could Patricia be the latest Belichick disciple to fail?

Time for bit of pure rumour mill action here!  There’s been a bit of buzz around various commentators that there’s a bit of unrest within the Detroit Lions dressing room around rookie head coach Matt Patricia.  There were murmurings in pre-season that training was too hard, he was running the team in to the ground.  I am loathed to make wild accusations after just one meaningful game, but it was a big loss, at home, to a rookie quarterback.  Watching the game, it looked like the Detroit defence almost gave up, especially when Isaiah Crowell scored a 62 yard TD.

It’s a well commented fact that the coaching tree of Bill Belichick has never been that successful.  As of today, the record of those who have worked under Belichick and gone on to a head coaching career of their own is as follows:

Romeo Crennel – Cleveland Browns & Kansas City Chiefs and a record of 28-55

Al Groh – New York Jets and a record of 9-7 (he left after a year to take up the head coach role at his alma mater, the University of Virginia

Josh McDaniels – Denver Broncos and a record of 11-17

Eric Mangini – New York Jets & Cleveland Browns and a record of 33-47

Nick Saban – Miami Dolphins and a record of 15-17

Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions and a record of 29-51

Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans and a record of 32-36

Now, of course Nick Saban has gone on to coach Alabama to a number of championships and possible one of the greatest college dynasties.  However, when it comes to the NFL, Belichick’s disciples pale into insignificance when you compare them against Belichick’s own mentor, Bill Parcells who can boast a number of Superbowls collected by coaches he’s worked with.

So what’s the issue then?

We all know that Belichick comes across as a moody, gruff, belligerent bastard, especially in his press conferences.  We’ve heard (recently) from players that the environment Belichick cultivates within the Patriots organisation isn’t one of enjoyment.  “Do your job” being the mantra but in spite of enjoying the game, indeed when Amendola signed with the Dolphins in the summer, tight end Gronkowski hinted at the lack of enjoyment with a tweet to his ex-teammate saying, “Be Free, be Happy”.  Read into that what you will.

The thing is, Belichick can get away with it because Belichick has five rings as a head coach and another two as a defensive coordinator with the Giants.  He’s like Alex Ferguson was at Manchester United.  Do it his way and win or get the hell out.  Ferguson was famous for getting rid of players such as Stam, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy and even Roy Keane when they didn’t agree with him.  Belichick is not very different and there are a number of instances of him carrying out similar actions with his players dating back to 2003 when he released Lawyer Milloy, surprising many.

As I said, that works for Belichick because he’s got the track record to get away with it.  It likely won’t wash for those coaches who don’t have his track record, notably at the moment, Matt Patricia.

Patricia also comes across in a similar manner to Belichick, but the issue is, he hasn’t got that same track record.  Yes, he was defensive coordinator with Bill, but it doesn’t mean anything to the players he’s managing now.  He has to prove himself, on his own two feet.  Or he needs a roster rehaul and bring in more of his own players who buy into how he wants to do things.  One thing is clear though, if he doesn’t get the players onside quickly this will be a long tough year for the fans at Ford Field.



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