When it comes to respecting the opinions of those in the media when discussing the Patriots, there are only a few people that fans would say are worthy of listening to.
Although he is yet to move into that part of his career technically, Tom Brady has been sharing his thoughts on his former team in recent weeks, even talking about the potential of Bill Belichick coaching elsewhere next season.
His most recent comments came during an appearance on “Stephen A. Smith Show” on YouTube, where he defended Belichick, first and foremost. And he reiterated that he believes there hasn't been a slip in his coaching like most have concluded about him since the quarterback departed New England three years ago.
"I think he's an incredible coach. He's the best coach, in my belief, in the history of the game.
So, I mean, I don't know, the thought of him not being in New England is hard for me to think about. So I, I think he's— he prepares the team really well. And ultimately, you got to have a lot of people around you to succeed. You gotta have a lot of things in place for the organization to be successful.
I don't think he's probably coaching much different now than when we're undefeated in 2007. I'm sure he's preparing the team the same way. "
It's interesting to hear Brady mention the importance of having many people around to succeed. It has become a popular criticism of Belichick as of late, with many taking issue with his children being part of the staff or other coaches who have seemingly not performed well remaining employed.
It was the biggest issue last season, as Belichick re-hired the recently fired Joe Judge and brought an unqualified Matt Patricia to take over offensive play calling. Some of that was solved when Patricia took a job with the Eagles in the offseason, but Judge seemed to be promoted to assistant head coach, prompting many warranted negative reactions.
Other scrutiny has risen this year, mainly surrounding special teams because it has been one of the least reliable units on the team. That is more controversial for the Patriots than other teams, considering how long they were the most superior team in that area.
There's also the other part of having "a lot of people around you to succeed" comment. It can also apply to the roster. That is not something that Belichick should keep being excused for year after year, as he is the general manager and ultimately decides who to sign in free agency and who to pick in the draft.
He can't exactly complain about a poorly built roster or low-performing players when he is the decision-maker and brought them to New England.
Besides that, hearing Brady state he believes there is no difference in how Belichick is coaching is also intriguing. It's fair to assume he wouldn't publicly acknowledge if he felt the opposite were true, but there has seemed to be a difference in the legendary head coach in recent years, almost like the once smoldering fire within him has now become closer to a flicker.
Brady continued with his thoughts by acknowledging how tough the game is, which he has stated on numerous occasions since retiring, and said the head coach actually plays a small part once the game is underway. Considering how many would argue they are near the top of the list in importance, it's an interesting take, but he explained how the quarterback is essentially the most significant part of the team on game day, noting a good quarterback performance is most important.
"The results are different, but again, that’s why the sport is so challenging. There’s a lot of reasons why teams win or lose. The head coach is a very small part on game day. The quarterback plays a really big part on game day, not the entire thing, but because you touch the ball, you have a big opportunity to impact the game.
So if you get good quarterback play and that says nothing about the, you know, I’m just talking in general about football, you’ve got an advantage. If you play really good defense, you’ve got a great advantage. I mean, you need a good defensive coordinator. Ultimately it’s a lot of things coming together, why things work and why they don’t."
Some are speculating if Brady was shading Mac Jones with his take on the Patriots, as he continued to heap praise on his longtime coach despite the current narrative surrounding him and repeated the need for good quarterback play.
It is not something he has done in the past, as he's actually remained mostly complimentary of Jones when asked, but maybe this was his way of taking a stance on the debate of Belichick vs. Jones this year.
It could also mean nothing, and he's just stating a fact: good quarterbacks can cover up inefficiencies in other areas of the team, which he would know the most about.