[LOCKED] 2019 AB Watch: Non-legal Views Only

Status
Not open for further replies.

DrewDawg

Dorito Dink
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
36,599
Feels more like Randy Moss part 2 than any of the other signings. My only concern is that guys can’t get enough touches with how good the offense is going to be... so he may be unhappy.
Just imagine when the Patriots are throwing to AB, up 34-3 this Sunday and when Brady is asked about it he says "We're just trying to get AB work with the starters" as the game finishes up 48-6.
 
Apr 24, 2019
283
Even if AB is double teamed, he can still be productive. We know this bc BB has given him all kinds of attention in the past, double teams and schemes, and at times he ate the Pats up. From this Lombardi article in The Athletic...

In the opening game of the 2015 season when the Patriots faced the Steelers in Foxborough, Brown was targeted 11 times, catching nine for 133 yards and a touchdown. The whole time he was doubled and still got open. He was a beast, and the Patriots had no answer to slow him down.

https://theathletic.com/1196662/2019/09/09/from-the-gms-eye-bill-belichick-will-be-brutally-direct-with-antonio-brown-and-thats-why-it-just-may-work-out/

Edit typos
 

SeoulSoxFan

Dope
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
19,200
Even if AB is double teamed, he can still be productive. We know this bc BB has given him all kinds of attention in the past, double teams and schemes, and at times he ate the Pats up. From this Lombardi article in The Athletic...

In the opening game of the 2015 season when the Patriots faced the Steelers in Foxborough, Brown was targeted 11 times, catching nine for 133 yards and a touchdown. The whole time he was doubled and still got open. He was a beast, and the Patriots had no answer to slow him down.

https://theathletic.com/1196662/2019/09/09/from-the-gms-eye-bill-belichick-will-be-brutally-direct-with-antonio-brown-and-thats-why-it-just-may-work-out/

Edit typos
They talk about how AB can break double teams & how a slight wrong step can result in a big gain:

View: https://youtu.be/Rh_9nbBHLWk
 

SeoulSoxFan

Dope
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
19,200
Title updated as AB is officially signed.

Reports say his 1st practice as a Patriot (so weird to type that) will be on Wednesday.
 

azsoxpatsfan

Member
SoSH Member
May 23, 2014
484
Just imagine when the Patriots are throwing to AB, up 34-3 this Sunday and when Brady is asked about it he says "We're just trying to get AB work with the starters" as the game finishes up 48-6.
you think we're gonna score less than the Ravens?
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,138
Mansfield MA
Is anyone else concerned about the cap next year? Between the Brady new deal and the Brown contract, they have tacked on $19 million to the 2020 cap with absolutely no corresponding benefit. And it could go as high as $23.5 million if Brown earns his incentives.

That is a huge cap charge to be carrying forward without having your QB signed. It’s not particularly Patriot like to borrow $20 million for one year.
Even with that $19 MM, they still have an estimated $45 MM in cap space, though with only 45 players under contract (and some other key pieces, like Devin McCourty, unsigned). There are also some opportunities to free up space with cuts, restructures, or extensions, as players like Hightower, Bennett, Gostkowski, Jason McCourty, Harmon, Guy, Burkhead, Andrews have decent salaries and not a lot of guaranteed money.

From a broad strategy perspective, I think there are two things happening here:
1) They had less flexibility with the 2019 cap than usual. Normally you'd tinker with the QB's salary to clear cap space, but Brady's at an age where giving him a long extension doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense. Devin McCourty is in a similar boat, and arguably Hightower, too. They got what they could from Brady and more by restructuring Gilmore and Cannon, but they had less flexibility than usual, so they employed different strategies than usual.
2) They are being a little undisciplined in the short term, but they have been very disciplined in the long term. They let Flowers and Brown walk, an offseason after letting Butler and Solder walk, an offseason after trading Chandler Jones and letting Logan Ryan walk, etc. They don't have many burdensome long-term deals. Additionally, the 2016 and 2017 draft classes were both kind of disasters, with Joe Thuney really the only candidate to even get a big extension. So if they need to eat a cap crap sandwich, they're going to be in a good position to do so. They can take some of their medicine in 2020, and probably even push some into 2021.
 

mulluysavage

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
612
Also loved it, interesting though, do we have evidence that the Pats different rules for different players? Is this the strategy they use? Or is it more like they are straightforward with players and mum with the press, so there's no two-facedness like is mentioned in the article with other teams.

And is it more like players have different rules for different teams, ie, buying into a straightforward team that wins, vs using whatever leverage you have to get off a BS team that isn't that great?

I'll second Instaface - thanks for sharing this. Farris' insight couldn't be more dead on. Seems like the Pats' scheme flexibility on the field is matched by the coaches' flexibility off the field. Another piece to the puzzle of why the Patriots are the Patriots.
 

lambeau

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 7, 2010
1,138
Connecticut
I don't think TB12 spreading the ball around need be a big concern.
2007 Rec/Yards:

Moss 98/1493
Welker 102/1173
Stallworth 46/697
B. Watson 36/389
Faulk 47/383

Gordon had 40 receptions last year.
Dorsett, Thomas, Harry, Gunner and Meyers are depth.

With regard to money, the incentives will be tough to reach--AB has never had 16 TD's.
On the other hand, how do you double AB and leave Jules and Gordon alone? And who can't AB beat 1:1?
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
8,963
Also loved it, interesting though, do we have evidence that the Pats different rules for different players? Is this the strategy they use? Or is it more like they are straightforward with players and mum with the press, so there's no two-facedness like is mentioned in the article with other teams.

And is it more like players have different rules for different teams, ie, buying into a straightforward team that wins, vs using whatever leverage you have to get off a BS team that isn't that great?
My interpretation of everything I've read about Foxboro culture, including all the documentaries etc, is that they set very simple high-level rules, and expect that the day-to-day actions of players will be done in harmony with those. They don't spell out every last little rule, and they don't make petty, tyrannical rules. Instead, their high-level rules cast a vision for how their organization operates, and you're judged holistically.

(couldn't find any pictures of the actual "When you come here" sign in Foxboro, but that's reportedly the exact text per multiple article sources)


"Do your job:"
- Know what your job is
- Work to get better at every bit of minutiae about your job
- Be clear about what's not your job and focus your time on what is

In Brown's case, if he's studying the playbook hard and reduces his error rate to the Patriots average, nobody is going to care if he's wearing his cleats into the facility

"Work hard": nobody has ever accused Brown of doing anything but this.

"Be attentive": this is part of doing your job, and I'm assuming that him checking his bank balances or social media during meetings would not fly. And doing so during the monday meetings run by BB himself would be a humiliating experience likely not to be repeated. That said, the first time he sees Tom mocked on video, he may (let's hope) realize that shit gets real at those meetings and you can't disrespect BB's time and knowledge at them.

"Put the team first": This is really the core concept behind the entire Patriots culture. If he has to be somewhere else for a good goddamn reason, the team will not only excuse it, they will cover up his absence and keep it all internal. If he oversleeps Jonas Gray style, he's in deep shit. If his social media posts or press conferences give away information that "fuels the hype", or which "speaks for [those other than] himself", he's going to be in deep shit. If he comments on things that are irrelevant to the team but fun or otherwise interesting to him, nobody is going to care. Every public appearance by Brown, big and small, will be evaluated through the lens of "is he putting the team first". For stars such as himself, that means he can likely take some time to do sponsorship and endorsement stuff, but not in a way that affects his practice time or the team's preparations in any way.

Belichick gave detail on his management philosophy in his CNBC interview. “It’s not all about talent. It’s about dependability, consistency and being able to improve. If you work hard and you’re coachable, and you understand what you need to do, you can improve.” All of Brown's teammates who have spoken up have said a lot about his work ethic, him leading by example. Coachability, I guess we'll find out - that was the issue with Haynesworth, ultimately. But Belichick has dealt with and gotten through to far bigger headcases than Brown, in years long before he had his current reputation. You'd generally bet on him to figure out the right way to coach the guy.

I think history has shown that the Patriots literally don't care if you're a bit eccentric, if you're a big personality, if you're an introvert, etc. In one of the documentaries they talked about all players needing to put football first in their life, or nearly so - they make exceptions for family and religion but nothing else. If Brown makes it clear that he puts football first, in words and deeds, they're not going out of their way to embarrass him or make any drama to the media. I mean, can you imagine Belichick having a press conference to announce "it's time for Antonio to decide if he's all-in or all-out"? BB would sooner light himself on fire than publicly criticize a player, particularly his own players. Can you imagine Brady throwing him under the bus the way Roethlisberger did? Never in a million years. Deflect praise, claim and accept blame - everyone in a leadership role there has taken management 101.

You take away the things other people did to Brown to make it about themselves and their ego, or to deflect blame, or about something other than the team... and you're not left with very many situations of his own making that have caused drama. Is he sensitive, maybe easily needled? Does he hold grudges? Sure. I wouldn't hire him onto a customer service team. The same was clearly true with Terrell Owens, to hear this guy tell it. But you can't tell me Brown's new quarterback isn't the same way - from "I know everyone thinks we suck", all the way back to his first year as a starter, not to mention college. They know how to use snubs and criticism as fuel down in Patriots land. It's not a distraction or a disqualifier, it's an accelerant.

Long story short, there's plenty of reason to think he'll be fine, even if there are nevertheless areas of concern.
 

DrewDawg

Dorito Dink
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
36,599
I just hope AB gets a ride in with Tom the first time there's a snow storm.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
20,619
Saskatoon Canada
I don't want this to be a "look at me" post, but maybe it is. This summer I coached in the Cebl pro basketball league in Canada, and our team ended up champions. I come from a high school and college background, so even these lower level pros had to be handled differently. There were numerous (almost daily) behaviors that would get guys kicked off a high school or college team, and the head coach didn't over react, and some of these guys eventually left the team., but other guys that had questionable actions were stalwarts of the run to the title.

We even had a guy force his team to release him, then come to us start and we beat that team in the championship game. I completely see the POV of the team that released him, but he was fantastic for us. Are we better coaches? Maybe, but probably not. He had a second chance with us, and I am pretty sure he realized his agent could sell (to teams in Europe, etc) and difference of opinion with one team, but not two.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
19,015
"He’s coming off a season of 104 catches, 1,297 yards, and 15 touchdowns. " - Volin

So the contract incentives of 105 catches, 1,298 yards, and 16 touchdowns are all 1-ups of last season's output - I knew those random-looking numbers had to mean something. that's an interesting way to frame your incentives, Mr. Brown.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
21,585
Hingham, MA
"He’s coming off a season of 104 catches, 1,297 yards, and 15 touchdowns. " - Volin

So the contract incentives of 105 catches, 1,298 yards, and 16 touchdowns are all 1-ups of last season's output. that's an interesting way to frame your incentives, Mr. Brown.
There's a reason for this (and it has been explained). NLTBE incentives don't count against this year's cap.
 
Sep 1, 2019
15
It may be that AB is not so much high-maintenance as high-intelligence, and one who does not suffer fools gladly. That doesn't excuse all of his history, but it may in part explain it. Being in the environment of Belichick and Brady could have a transformative effect. I'm optimistic that it will. I actually have more optimism about it than I do about Josh Gordon staying clean and lasting the season (and I really am rooting for Gordon to succeed...).
 

Joe D Reid

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
3,214
Alameda, CA
It may be that AB is not so much high-maintenance as high-intelligence, and one who does not suffer fools gladly.
I think that's one way in which BB really is a players' coach--he seems to treat guys like adults. That extends to avoiding typical football coach rah-rah "dominate the day" motivation stuff. I feel like the slogans are the strategy for a lot of coaches, whereas BB does his prep, comes in and says "Do these 6 things and we'll win" and turns out to be right most of the time.
 

Red Averages

owes you $50
SoSH Member
Apr 20, 2003
5,257
Pats trading DT to the Jets (??!) for a 2021 6th round pick, according to Schefter.
So D Thomas, who was a free agent a week ago and re-signed with the Pats.... will instead play for the Jets. I assume he signed off on that given the quick turnaround/veteran status. Otherwise... not a great look.
 

HowBoutDemSox

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 12, 2009
4,050
Pats trading DT to the Jets (??!) for a 2021 6th round pick, according to Schefter.
Is that the first trade with the Jets of Belichick’s tenure? I think at some point they were the only team in the league he hadn’t traded with since coming to New England.
 

TheoShmeo

Skrub's sympathy case
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
12,890
Boston, NY
I guess a 6th rounder for Thomas is a decent return. But that deal might look pretty good for NY if Thomas is healthy and can stay that way.

Still, the unstated premise seems to be that BB doesn’t view the Jets as any kind of threat or Thomas as very likely to make a big difference for them...or both.

AB and Gordon have asterisks around them. Jules isn’t young. But the sort of organizational depth that would allow any team to trade an upside talent like Thomas to a team it will be playing twice in the upcoming season is....amazing.
 
Last edited:

DrewDawg

Dorito Dink
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
36,599
I just don't think BB wanted to bury a veteran--he was likely going to be the inactive guy each week, and perhaps they had that discussion. DT likely wants to play, show he's healthy and maybe earn a bigger deal next year.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
17,005
Funny (at least to me) article on probable reason Pats haven't given AB a number yet: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/patriots-may-soon-have-to-deal-with-their-first-antonio-brown-issue-and-it-has-to-do-with-his-number/

From that article:

Although having Watson give up the number would be the easiest solution, it might not be that easy and that's because the NFL has some strict rules when it comes to changing your jersey number. According to the NFL rulebook, players are not allowed to switch numbers once the regular season has started.
* * * *
"Special exceptions to this rule may be considered by the NFL Football Operations department depending on the circumstances (e.g., player traded to another team)," the rule states.
The example used in the rulebook is a player being traded, and of course, Brown wasn't traded, he was added as a free agent. Basically, this means that if a number switch is going to happen, Brown is going to have to plead his case to the NFL Football Operations department.
The one reason why Brown might be able to win his argument is because both he and Watson still haven't played in a regular season game yet. Brown wasn't on a roster in Week 1 and Watson is serving a four-game suspension.
That suspension could actually throw a wrench into things and that's because the Patriots aren't actually allowed to contact Watson while he's out, according to NFL rules. During his suspension, Watson also isn't allowed to participate in any football-related activities with his teammates OR have discussions with them about football. What's not clear is whether or not talking about a jersey number would constitute talking about football, which would violate that rule.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

posts 18% useful shit
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2010
10,729
So D Thomas, who was a free agent a week ago and re-signed with the Pats.... will instead play for the Jets. I assume he signed off on that given the quick turnaround/veteran status. Otherwise... not a great look.
He probably expected more playing time, then AB happened. This was probably done as a favor to him, hence a trade to a team they normally wouldn't trade with.
 

lambeau

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 7, 2010
1,138
Connecticut
We are fortunate to have backups as young and talented as Dorsett, Harry, and Meyers.
I bet BB let DT's agent find a good situation of his choice out of vet respect.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
22,018
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that when some reporter asks AB about his number the response will be some variation of "it doesn't matter, I'm focused on playing football"

I get the sense that he wanted to be with a contender and that this was part of (though I suspect not anything close to all of) what was going on with the Raiders.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
26,916
AZ
Even with that $19 MM, they still have an estimated $45 MM in cap space, though with only 45 players under contract (and some other key pieces, like Devin McCourty, unsigned). There are also some opportunities to free up space with cuts, restructures, or extensions, as players like Hightower, Bennett, Gostkowski, Jason McCourty, Harmon, Guy, Burkhead, Andrews have decent salaries and not a lot of guaranteed money.

From a broad strategy perspective, I think there are two things happening here:
1) They had less flexibility with the 2019 cap than usual. Normally you'd tinker with the QB's salary to clear cap space, but Brady's at an age where giving him a long extension doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense. Devin McCourty is in a similar boat, and arguably Hightower, too. They got what they could from Brady and more by restructuring Gilmore and Cannon, but they had less flexibility than usual, so they employed different strategies than usual.
2) They are being a little undisciplined in the short term, but they have been very disciplined in the long term. They let Flowers and Brown walk, an offseason after letting Butler and Solder walk, an offseason after trading Chandler Jones and letting Logan Ryan walk, etc. They don't have many burdensome long-term deals. Additionally, the 2016 and 2017 draft classes were both kind of disasters, with Joe Thuney really the only candidate to even get a big extension. So if they need to eat a cap crap sandwich, they're going to be in a good position to do so. They can take some of their medicine in 2020, and probably even push some into 2021.
This is good -- it answers some questions I had that used to be easier to answer back when Miguel was running the regular website but are harder now.

One thing I don't understand very well is what happens with Brady next year if the Patriots decide they want him to play. Let's say they decide to have him play for $28 million. Can they use the void year trick again? Do they have to let him become a free agent first? Or does the whole $42 million ($28 million plus the $14 million that has been deferred) get put on the 2020 cap?
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
7,813
This is good -- it answers some questions I had that used to be easier to answer back when Miguel was running the regular website but are harder now.

One thing I don't understand very well is what happens with Brady next year if the Patriots decide they want him to play. Let's say they decide to have him play for $28 million. Can they use the void year trick again? Do they have to let him become a free agent first? Or does the whole $42 million ($28 million plus the $14 million that has been deferred) get put on the 2020 cap?
It's believed that Brady received a $20.25M signing bonus as part of the restructure, which is the only guaranteed money. If the contract is allowed to void, and Brady leaves or retires, the Pats would incur a $13.5M cap hit (the remaining of the signing bonus).

If Brady stays, it would likely be on a new deal, and there are likely some creative maneuvers that can be done, but I'm not sure how it would all work. The don't have to let him become a free agent, however. They can agree on the parameters of a new deal and have it in place the day the new league year starts.
 

dcmissle

Deflatigator
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 4, 2005
27,993
I just hope AB gets a ride in with Tom the first time there's a snow storm.
Yet another challenge. AB is chronically late, to almost everything. Team appointments, paid appearances, you name it, per someone I heard on the radio down here yesterday. This relates to the experience in Pittsburgh:


Man I so dearly want this to work out, but the various challenges are formidable.

I do believe BB has a little Jimmy Johnson in him with regard to sliding scales of tolerance. I’m confident he has very little Mike Tomlin in him. Late is late — and obvious for every other player and coach to see.
 

mulluysavage

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
612
Would the Dolphins be willing to play tomorrow night if the Pats spot them 14 points? Because I can hardly wait.
 

nattysez

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
3,826
Ben Watson apparently went on Fox News this morning and said he won't give up his number. I have no idea exactly what he said, so hopefully his statement was more nuanced than that.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
26,916
AZ
Ben Watson apparently went on Fox News this morning and said he won't give up his number. I have no idea exactly what he said, so hopefully his statement was more nuanced than that.
All just the opening round in the negotiation.
 

Cotillion

lurker
Jun 11, 2019
133
The whole number thing might be moot if the NFL sticks to its rules, and you are sure there will be owners in Roger's ear telling him not to go easy with AB's wishes to have in season number switch as it will be seen as rewarding a malcontent (who has already been rewarded too much by going to the Pats)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.