Curran: Charlie Weis on why Brady is no longer a Patriot originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Even as we sift through all the intertwined threads of Tom Brady’s departure from New England and try to provide a clear, on-the-record picture of why he’s a Buccaneer, there is a little voice that says, 'What does it matter?' "
The answer to that, of course, is that his departure meant the end of the longest run of coach-quarterback-franchise dominance in NFL history. Imagine not wanting to get to the bottom of Babe Ruth’s end-of-days with the Yankees or Jordan’s with the Bulls.
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But beyond that, is there a need for blame-laying in his departure? Can’t it just be c’est la vie and all’s well that ends well?
Clearly, that’s how Bill Belichick wants it. Speaking on WEEI Monday morning and then on a video conference, the Patriots head coach paints Brady leaving the Patriots as Tom’s choice. As if, after repeated proclamations by Brady that he wanted to retire a Patriot, he suddenly had a 2020 change of heart. The Patriots did what they could. Tom chose.
That’s disingenuous, as is Belichick’s claim that the matter’s been discussed and he won’t delve into it. A statement from 18 months ago? Come on.
Nobody’s a bigger football historian than Bill Belichick. And this being possibly the most important occasion of player movement in the game’s 100-plus year history, his pretending it doesn’t really merit discussion is laughable.
He wants to avoid the discussion because the truth of it -- Belichick not trusting and/or not wanting to pay market price for a quarterback over 40 years old -- doesn’t make him look so hot when Brady’s winning Super Bowls and the Patriots are 8-11 since Brady left.
And in order for Belichick to make it make sense and explain why he never made staying here a viable option for Brady, Belichick would have to open a vein and explain the finances, the roster decisions, the draft swings and misses, the Brady fatigue that set in for him after 2016 and the fact that he just wanted to reboot and get on with it.
All’s well that ends well? It has "ended" well for Brady. He’s shown he still had it. And more. But even though the Patriots are 1-2, this is not time for last-laughing. An “end” hasn’t been arrived at here. The Patriots are in a reboot. And they do have more artillery than before.
And this is what I spoke about last week with former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. The Patriots’ reboot and Tom Brady’s exit.
"I mean, the Patriots went through one year of suffering and Patriot fans, I mean who could complain about one year of suffering," Weis said of how things went down last year. "After all those, all those years of winning? Granted, there was a whole bunch of issues. You're paying $13 million of Tommy's money on the cap, even though you didn't have Tommy. You didn't have Tommy so that was a distraction. You had COVID. You had Cam coming in. You didn't have very many offensive skill players. You had all those guys opt out. I mean, you want any more excuses?
"Now, granted, in New England and in pro football excuses don't get you anywhere," Weis continued. "But at the end of the day, you can bet that Bill was already looking down the road, saying, 'We're gonna have this money available. And the cap’s gonna go down, but we're going to have the money to be able to go after people. So we're going to be able to do things that other teams aren't going to be able to do. We're gonna go after them and if we want them, we're going to go after them hard in the beginning and we're not going to wait because we're going to be prepared.' "
Weis was the interviewer last season that got Belichick to give his most candid answers on the 2020 state of the team. And you can rest assured Belichick embraced that chance with a media friendly to give his version of what was going on.
"Not only does (Belichick) have the the greatest insight of any coach I've ever been around, but he has the greatest foresight I've ever been around," said Weis. "So you could bet that, as they were struggling last year, he already had this game plan in mind that the day that season was over -- coach the hell out of them until the season’s over -- and then move on to the next year and be ready to go. And that's one of the reasons why they are where they are right now."
Weis has good relationships with both Brady and Belichick. And when I asked about Brady’s flight to Tampa, Weis framed his reply in much the same way Belichick did on Monday.
"I'm just saying that Tommy looked around and he found himself a place -- we can talk about how the different personalities of the head coaches and how they do things all we want -- but really at the end of the day is, it's the guys he's playing with," said Weis. "Because the coaching staff, no matter where he went, they would have kind of figured it out eventually. Eventually they would have come to a meeting of the minds, that would happen no matter where he went. Okay, but very few teams that he was going to go to, had a stable of guys like that to be dealing with.
"I think Tom just went to a better situation offensively," Weis said. "I mean, he’s playing with better players. No disrespect. That's no disrespect to the guys in New England. But look at the talent that he's got around him. If I asked you right now, who's the number one receiver, could you give me one?"
I offered Jakobi Meyers.
"Undrafted guy out of NC State," said Weis. "And I think Jakobi Meyers is pretty damn good. But is he those guys (in Tampa)? He's certainly not in the top two."
Why weren’t there better players here, I asked Weis.
"Well, that's a whole different conversation," he said. "That's not my conversation."