Patriots: Is Bill Belichick playing mind games with Tom Brady?

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick look on during warm ups before the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick look on during warm ups before the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Is it possible that Patriots HC Bill Belichick is playing mind games with Tom Brady with his latest Cam Newton comments?

A plethora of reports have emerged in the months following Tom Brady’s shocking decision to leave the Patriots in free agency that indicated his relationship with head coach Bill Belichick contained a lot more friction than fans were led to believe.

In The Dynasty, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Patriots’ historic dynasty, author Jeff Benedict noted that Brady was campaigning to leave New England following the 2017 season.

Furthermore, the two Patriots legends have seemingly been pitted against each other since Brady’s departure, as media members have been clamoring to know which one was more imperative to their two-decade run of dominance.

With all of this in mind, it’s plausible to speculate if Belichick is playing mind games with his former quarterback in recent weeks, based on exactly what he’s saying about Cam Newton.

For starters, Belichick has done nothing but rave about Cam Newton since he arrived for training camp. That’s not to say we were surprised that the six-time champion heaped praise on his new starting signal caller, but it was something about his comments that seemed to be a subtle dig at Brady.

Throughout the three-time MVP’s stint in New England, it was constantly regurgitated that he was obsessed with improving his craft — one of the most committed players that Belichick ever had the privilege of coaching. He was always the first guy to arrive at the practice facility and normally the last to leave.

Ironically enough, the 68-year-old HC has been attributing the same acclaim about Newton less than three months into their respective player-coach relationship. Folks, the former longtime Carolina Panther hasn’t even taken a regular season snap for the Patriots, and, according to Belichick, he’s worked harder than anyone he’s ever seen.

When’s the last time you recall Belichick divulging anything resembling that about his former signal caller?

That can’t just be a coincidence, right?

It’s been widely theorized that Brady left New England because he (and his wife, Gisele Bundchen) felt that everybody not named owner Robert Kraft didn’t appreciate him enough. Think about how rarely we witnessed Belichick go out of his way to praise the 14-time Pro Bowler. It was like pulling teeth for him.

We’re not saying the two future Hall of Famers don’t have great respect for one another, but we certainly wouldn’t put it past Belichick to try to plant himself inside Brady’s brain as he prepares for his first game with Tampa Bay.

So, what is it? Innocent, effusive praise for his new QB who really needs it, or a little, subtle set of jabs aimed at his old flame, too? Whether he intended it to tweak Brady or not, the media has picked up on this element of Belichick’s discourse.

And that’s probably enough.

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