Sharing some thoughts on recent developments around the NFL and with ties to the Patriots:
1. This morning’s news that the Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of a deal with Andy Reid to become their next head coach, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, is viewed as a best-case-possible scenario for general manager Scott Pioli from this perspective. Reid is one of Bill Belichick’s closest friends in the business. Pioli and Belichick obviously have a strong link from the past. If Pioli is going to survive in Kansas City in a reshaped front-office structure, it would be with a coach like Reid.
2. I think part of the reason Josh McDaniels earns so much respect from Bill Belichick is the way he handled this latest round of NFL coaching interviews. The Patriots have a terrific opportunity ahead of themselves and by declining interviews, McDaniels leaves no doubt about his commitment and where the primary focus needs to be. McDaniels’ time will come again, and I do believe his career will be similar to Belichick’s in that the second time as head coach will be better than the first, but the timing isn’t right now (e.g. moving his growing family a fourth time in four years; leaving Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Co., after one year).
3. Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones was a leading candidate for defensive rookie of the year honors until he injured his ankle Nov. 18 against the Colts. Jones had been playing 90 percent of the defensive snaps at the time, but upon his return after missing 11 quarters, saw a scaled-back workload. Jones ended up at 67 percent playing time this season, yet most importantly for the Patriots, the last two games he came up with some of the big plays we had seen earlier this year but had been missing upon his return from injury.
4. There are many people behind the scenes that make a football team go and longtime Patriots equipment manager Don Brocher was one of them. Simply put, he was one of the nicest guys around. He had done a lot for a close friend of mine, teaching him about hard work, impeccable character, and loyalty, among other things, and I had the pleasure of getting to know him over the years covering the team. His passing of leukemia on Jan. 1 is a loss not just for the Patriots, but for everyone, because people like Don Brocher are special. His legacy lives on through all the people he's touched and made a positive impact on their lives.