The Fourth of July holiday has obviously put everyone in vacation mode as the Patriots and the rest of the NFL gear up for training camp at the end of the month.
Until then things have been very quiet in Foxborough as evidenced by this week's almost non-existent Ask PFW mailbag. Not too much to choose from this week but we figured a few posts were better than none so here you go.
Where would you place Bill Belichick among greatest coaches of all time? Even given the drama, and with some obvious pro-Patriots, I'd put him already at No. 1 or 2 easily with another Lombardi solidifying the top spot.
The run put together by the Patriots over the past two decades in unmatched in NFL history. Since Bill Belichick has been at the forefront of that success, winning not just in the regular season but the playoffs as well, I'd have a hard time finding any coach that I put above him in history. Belichick has shown the ability to morph into whatever kind of approach is necessary to win. Early in the dynasty the Patriots were defense-reliant and predominantly ran the ball. Then things changed and Tom Brady set passing records while the offense became the most dangerous in the league. And the team just kept winning. While I can't comment with experience on some of the older coaches like Paul Brown, who is often credited for many innovations that are still in use today, Belichick to me is the best to ever do it.
With all my gratitude I nevertheless think that Tom Brady is not behaving correctly as a leader of the Patriots. He has to set an example; if he is not able to do this, for whatever legitimate reasons, he should step down. Thanks as always, sincerely yours,_ Folger McFadden_
Folger is always our most formal poster. He's always so proper and polite. That said, Folger, I think you're overstating things a bit with regard to Brady. I share your frustration that he chose to skip the offseason work, but let's see how Brady's leadership changes (if at all) once training camp starts and the season gets underway. Again, I understand your feelings since Brady was not around all spring, but that doesn't mean he won't be ready to lead on and off the field once the season starts. I have too much respect for Brady to believe that he will be anything ess than fully committed to winning when it counts.
I remember reading that coach Belichick had two sons working on/with the team's coaching staff. I'm curious if that is the case and if either or both have a position of any consequence, if there has been any career growth to add to their resumes or if this is just a stop on the way to a different career in some other field?
Belichick indeed has two sons that are part of the coaching staff. Steve is the safeties coach and is entering his seventh season as part of the staff. This will be his third year coaching safeties after spending four years as a coaching assistant. His younger brother, Brian, is entering his second season as a coaching assistant after spending one year as a scouting assistant in the personnel department. I am not aware of either of their intentions long-term my guess would be that both intend to continue their coaching careers and are preparing for a life spent in the profession.
I just read Nick Foles' comments regarding his staying in Philadelphia. I wonder if he might have his eye on Brady's retirement. Even if he's not specifically aiming for that, if Brady were to retire after this season, do you think the Pats might make a run at Foles?
I've been saying for a while that the eventual replacement for Brady doesn't necessarily have to be a young draft pick. There are many examples of veteran quarterbacks becoming available and changing teams, and perhaps Foles would be an example of that in the future. If Belichick isn't sold on a young quarterback to hand the reins to, then maybe he'll look for a veteran placeholder to hold things down until he gets the guy he wants. Foles would make some sense, but I don't believe he's looking at the Patriots as a potential landing spot. He's obviously very comfortable in Philadelphia and chose to stay there, but I doubt he's looking at Brady and waiting to take his place. But stranger things have happened so who know?
I was looking at the defensive depth chart for next year and honestly if the defense can stay healthy this could be an elite unit. Obviously it's way too early to tell but I was wondering how you feel about the defense going into 2018.
The biggest key in my mind will be the health of Dont'a Hightower. If he stays on the field there should be an improvement. But I don't see elite potential for this group regardless of health. I don't think the pass rush is overly strong, and the depth in the secondary is an issue as well. I feel good about Stephon Gilmore at one corner but I'm not sure who will start on the others side with Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones and maybe Duke Dawson or another rookie like JC Jackson in the mix. I don't feel great about that. But I do believe this defense should be better against the run with Danny Shelton replacing Alan Branch, who had a disappointing season in 2017. That area should be a strength, and overall things should be better than last year. The test will come in the playoffs when/if the Patriots face an offense with a capable quarterback and the ability to put points on the board.
Any chance the Patriots use a pick in the upcoming supplemental draft? There appears to be some quality CBs available. Have the Patriots ever picked a player in the supplemental draft?
Usually there isn't much anticipation leading into the supplemental draft but this year could be different. There are some interesting prospects that will be available on July 11, including defensive backs Sam Beal of Western Michigan, Adonis Alexander of Virginia Tech and Brandon Bryant of Mississippi State. Beal is widely considered the best player available and he's expected to be selected. If that happens it would be the first supplemental pick used by anyone since 2015. The Patriots were reportedly one of six teams on hand for Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu's workout recently, so perhaps he's on the team's radar. Grand Valley State running back Marty Carter is also available, but if the Patriots use a pick it would most likely be on one of the defensive players. The Patriots have not used a supplemental pick in the Belichick era, but did so just before he arrived back in 1999 when New England took cornerback J'Juan Cherry out of Arizona State in the fourth round.