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Patriots Mythbusting: Belichick Never Gave Brady Weapons

It’s crazy what can drum up inspiration nowadays, isn’t it? How many times do you hear a rapper/artist/musician say they came across a quote/movie/beat and it inspired them to create something? Seems like that’s where the best works of art come from actually. The unexpected nudge that pushes you to do something great. Well, like those rappers/musicians/artists, I’ve been inspired ladies and gentlemen. And it all stems from this tweet:

Additional Context…

Quick background if you don’t know who Joseph Vincent is: he is the creator of countless amazing Tom Brady pump up videos and, after perusing his Twitter, it’s safe to say he’s what we call a “Tom Brady Stan”. I don’t say that in a bad way either, but I do speak the truth. You know who I’m talking about. The people who refuse to place and blame or criticism at the feet of their football God.

It’s important to know who we’re talking about so you can start to understand the reasoning behind the above tweet. It wasn’t done just just to shoot some facts out to the Twitter World. Oh no no no. It’s a subtle-but-obvious shot at one Bill Belichick. But, if we’re being honest, what would you expect from a Tom Brady Stan. In the divorce of the Mega Powers Brady and Belichick, the result was a fan base divided. Sides were chosen and shots have been flying ever since. But I am downright exhausted with this “Belichick never gave Brady and weapons” argument. It’s insulting, blasphemous, egregious and downright bananas.

What Mr. Vincent (and everyone else who takes this angle in this debate) seems to forget, is that you can add offensive weapons without using the draft. Players are available via free agency and trade as well! It’s a wild concept, but it’s one that Belichick used in conjuncture with the draft. I understand that showing the entire picture doesn’t fit with the narrative being pushed, but that’s why I’m here. So let me first take a look at this list he posted. Out of the 18 players he listed, there’s a few you can immediately throw out and say “Yeah…that wasn’t a good pick.”

Drafting WR’s:

PK Sam, Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, Jeremy Ebert, Devin Lucien, Josh Boyce, Jeremy Gallon and Braxton Berrios were, for all intents and purposes, swing and misses. Bethel Johnson was fast as lightning, but tallied only 450 yards in his 3 years here. Chad Jackson is a big time black eye since the Pats traded up to snag him. Aaron Dobson showed a bit of promise, as did Kembrell Thompkins, but nothing noteworthy. That’s 12/18 guys right off the bat that didn’t pan out. But I believe context is important in every discussion, so let me add some the Joseph must’ve forgot to.

Oh, and N’Keal Harry was arguably a Top 5 worst draft pick in Belichick’s history here. Rake him over every coal you can find for that one.

However…

Of those 13 players, there was one first rounder, 3 second rounders, 2 third rounders, one fourth rounder, one fifth rounder, one sixth rounder, three seventh rounders and an undrafted player (Thompkins) which doesn’t actually count as a ‘drafted’ guy, so Vincent’s list is actually wrong. Taking a WR in the 1st/2nd round means you think they’re going to produce. So for the Harry, Johnson, Jackson and Dobson picks Belichick deserves to get raked over the coals. It’s tough to place a ton of blame on a 3rd rounder who doesn’t pan out, but Tate and Price couldn’t been pushed to the side for another impact guy. I’ll accept a small level of criticism there. But to crucify Belichick because his 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounders don’t pan out seems a bit harsh. You’re essentially taking flyers on those players anyway.

But still, missing on 13 out of 18 receivers in the draft is a sore spot. And it’s one that fans, media and Belichick himself have already acknowledged. That’s why I’m always confused when this criticism gets brought up every year. We all know Belichick is elite. But as good as he is in almost every other aspect of coaching, he’s equally as bad at drafting WR’s. That’s not a secret. But again, like I mentioned, drafting a wideout isn’t the only way to get your QB ‘weapons’.

Drafting TE’s:

Ben Watson, Daniel Graham, Gronk, and Aaron Hernandez were all drafted at tight end to help Brady. Not to mention running backs like Sony Michel, Shane Vereen, Damien Harris, and James White that all were all drafted and produced in Brady’s tenure here. You add that with receivers who were good picks like Deion Branch, David Givens, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell and Jakobi Meyers, you start to see that pitiful argument deteriorates.

Free Agency/Trades:

The issue I have with taking the ‘draft’ side of this strawman is that not everyone uses the draft to acquire receivers. In an offense as complex as the Patriots, it’s almost more beneficial to try to pick up a veteran or, at the very least, someone who is in the league and has some experience in a pro offense. And that’s where this Belichick criticism starts to flounder even more.

Players like Randy Moss, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, Chris Hogan, Mohamad Sanu, Brandon Lafell, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Reche Caldwell were all brought in via trade/free agency. With the exception of Sanu and Lloyd, every ‘weapon’ here produced for Brady. Some (Welker, Moss, Amendola) were even crucial cogs in the offense. So again, to insinuate Belichick never ‘gave Brady weapons’ is an ignorant statement.

In Conclusion Part 1:

Now, don’t get me wrong, Belichick could’ve given Brady better weapons to operate with. That’s not for debate. But that’s also the case with almost every offensive unit in the league every year. That’s not specific to Belichick nor should it be a heavy critique. You can always get better options, but running a team isn’t just about getting offensive weapons. Let’s not act like Belichick didn’t ‘help’ Brady by giving him a Top 10 defense in almost every year he was here. When the defense can suppress another teams firepower, your offense doesn’t need to be loaded to the gills with star weapons.

The one thing you can’t blame Belichick for is lack of trying. Almost every year he attempted to bring in a piece for Brady to work with. There was obviously varying levels of success, but people seem to look past the wins and go straight to the losses. That’s where I would say your Belichick hate is showing and to temper it back a bit. Criticize the outcome of the decisions, but at least a decision was made. The ultimate trump card on this entire thing is the level of success Brady/Belichick had during their time together. 9 Super Bowls appearances in 20 years is pretty good. Add to it over a dozen deep playoff runs and I’m left asking what more you wanted? 15 Super Bowls? That’s not realistic.

In Conclusion Part 2:

There’s a reason that this level of success has never and likely will never be seen again. To achieve this level of dominance is unheard of and it upsets people. So when you look to for criticism, you’re pushed to arguments like this one. And seeing Brady play at such a high level with the Bucs makes more people think “Hey yeah, wait a minute, Belichick really didn’t give Brady any weapons did he!?” All while completely ignoring that Brady is currently playing with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. The guy has a loaded deck, what do you expect?

In Conclusion Part 3:

I’ve rambled long enough here, so let me wrap it up. If you find yourself saying “Belichick never gave Brady any weapons”, just stop. Brady had ‘weapons’, your argument is that you wanted him to have more/better ones. And while that may be somewhat valid, I’d say things worked out pretty well as they were constructed so you’re picking a nit’s there. You could say Belichick never DRAFTED weapons for Brady, and in that, you’d be partially right. The track record isn’t great with receivers, but without guys like Branch and Edelman, whose to say the Dynasty goes on in the way it did?

At the end of the day, Bill Belichick gave Brady ‘weapons’ every year he was here. Receivers, tight ends, running backs, stable offensive lines and great defenses all helped Brady get to where he got. Without the ingredients Belichick provided, Brady wouldn’t have cooked his masterpiece in New England. And that’s a fact. It’s not a coincidence that when it was all offense and all Brady, the team didn’t win Super Bowl’s. But that’s a topic for a different article.

(Featured Photo Credit www.foxnews.com)

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Mike Sullivan (@msully5433 on Twitter)

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