Patriots Talk: NFL Head Coaches Comment on Bill Belichick and Former Players
Last week, Bill Belichick was off checking out prospects at the Pro Days for the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators. However, the other 31 NFL Head Coaches were had other priorities. All were required to attend the annual NFL meetings held in Phoenix, Arizona.
Many were not surprised with Belichick’s absence as he has done this previously. However, The NFL coaches were not afraid to voice their opinions about Belichick and his numerous trade acquisitions this off-season. Among many of the notable head coaches was New Orleans Saints‘ [Head Coach] Sean Payton. He was a large story due to his deal with the New England Patriots regarding [cornerback] Malcolm Butler. Here is the full quote that he stated on the situation:
“We had a chance to visit with him. Currently, it’s my understanding he hasn’t signed his tender, so it was just that. We can sign him to an offer sheet, but I don’t think we’re going to do that and give up the 11th pick. In fact, I know we’re not going to do that. It is what it is right now.” – Sean Payton
As of now, there has been no deal established according to Payton’s comments. Based on this, it is unlikely that a deal will be made before Butler officially signs his tender. Until then, talks will be on hold for now but Payton did address that the interest in Butler didn’t originate from the Brandin Cooks trade.
Sean Payton said it "wasn't the case" that a player (Malcolm Butler) was discussed as part of the return in the Brandin Cooks trade.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 29, 2017
Another coach that drew attention was Cincinnati Bengals [Head Coach] Marvin Lewis regarding [running back] Rex Burkhead. His comments regarding the player were mostly concerns over his health during his 4 seasons with the Bengals. According to the Lewis, Burkhead had difficulties with maintaining his health especially during game time.
“Even in preseason opportunities and so forth like that where you’d go into the game, and it’d be Rex’s — in my mind, Rex’s ballgame — to carry the ball in the first or second quarter, and he wasn’t able to suit up that day.” – Marvin Lewis
Concern over players health has always been part of the sport even now. However, one coach who was nothing but praise was shockingly Baltimore Ravens‘ [Head Coach] John Harbaugh. When he was talking about former [defensive tackle] Lawrence Guy, he stated:
“Don’t sleep on Lawrence Guy. Don’t underestimate this player. He is a really good football player, run and pass. I love him to death. Every time I see him, he gives me this big giant Lawrence Guy hug. He is a great guy, will be a leader in the locker room. I thought it was a great signing by the Patriots.” – John Harbaugh
“Dwayne is an excellent football player. I know he has a lot of great years left in him. We’re fortunate to have had him for the past five years. We wish him well, grateful for what he has done for the organization, but we feel good with the guys we have and this draft is loaded with talent at that position.”
Despite the praise for Guy and Allen from their former coaches, the opposite could be said for former Carolina Panthers [defensive end] Kony Ealy. His former head coach, Ron Rivera, showed concern for Ealy’s inability to handle coaching. He believes that Ealy will learn better in the Patriots’ system.
“I think being around a program like what coach (Bill) Belichick has established in New England will be really good for him. I think it will be an opportunity for him to grow and take another step. I think it’s a good situation. I really do. The biggest thing, more than anything else, is do things the way coach Belichick wants them done.”
His comments trailed more towards Ealy’s potential as he has not lived up to his status as a prolific pass rusher since he was drafted three seasons ago. Rivera ended his discussion when referring to Ealy’s Super Bowl performance and how replicating that performance will make him into an explosive weapon for the Patriots for certain.