The Patriots as usual did a great job at Radio City Music Hall during the NFL draft last weekend. They always seem to get a player that is overlooked by other teams that fits just perfectly into their intricately designed offensive and defensive system in which each player on the roster is utilized in what they feel is the most effective way to help the team win championships.
Bill Belichick is considered by many to be the most cunning and effective head coach in the entire NFL and one of the best in history (unless you were a Browns fan in the early 90s). He always seems to get the guys he needs to help his team win during the draft helping the team stay under the salary cap while remain competitive. This was evident last year when got Rob Gronkowski in the second round of last year’s draft. Gronkowski went on to win All-Rookie and All-Pro awards in his inaugural season while leading all tight ends in receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
Anyone who watched the Pats during the AFC championship season last year understands that they need help with their pass rush. Their inability to get the quarterback made a few of their games a lot close than they should have been last year and is one of the reasons they couldn’t stop the Giants at the end of the Super Bowl last season. This is a need that had to be addressed early in the draft by the Pats and they did so by drafting Syracuse Defensive End Chandler Jones. Jones is athletic and big and will effective very quickly in his career for the Patriots if scouts are correct.
At least his movers won’t have to go far while moving him from upstate New York to Boston. He will have some things to get used to if he wants to be productive early in his career. Here are some things Jones and his rookie brethren should consider when starting their career for New England.
· Expectations – New England fans are used to two things: professionalism and success. It is important that any rookie playing for the Patriots stay clear of trouble and stay out of the media in any negative way. If they are a problem the fans of the team will be all over them and the team may even get rid of them.
· The Media – Due to their success over the last decade and their high profile quarterback, Tom Brady, the Patriots get maybe more media coverage than any other team in the NFL. This makes it imperative that rookies on the team know the right thing to say and stay focused on the task at hand while starting out with the team.
· The coaches – Bellichick and his staff have a specific plan in mind on offense, defense and special teams. It requires all players to do what is best for the team and sometimes sacrifice personal stats throughout the season to ensure that they win. If a player does not buy into this he will not be successful in New England no matter how talented he is.
Playing for a championship team is a rare challenge for a rookie. They are surrounded by veteran players that know how to win and can be a great asset to their development. But, also the fans and media expect a lot from them right off the bat because they are so hungry for a championship. The key to being a successful rookie in New England is avoiding the media circus that surrounds them and buying in to the team concept that they put forth.