FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Klemm intel: Offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 (No. 248), six slots away from the last overall pick. He's beaten the odds by playing in 152 games, with 147 starts, and credits recently hired Patriots offensive assistant coach Adrian Klemm for playing a significant role in a lengthy professional career few saw coming.
"He taught me how to punch. The way I strike, it comes from the way Adrian taught me. He's like my older brother, so I’m a little biased," he told ESPN.com.
Klemm's addition to Bill Belichick's revamped coaching staff was the most significant Patriots news of the past week. He had been serving as Oregon's associate head coach, offensive line coach and run-game coordinator. Ducks players learned of his departure in a Monday morning meeting.
Belichick had already landed Bill O'Brien as his offensive coordinator, but an offensive line-based hire to complement him was critical. Enter the 45-year-old Klemm, who transitioned from playing for the Patriots (2000-2004) and Packers (2005-2006) to a coaching career that began at SMU in 2008 when Beachum was there.
"He loves the game, but at the same time preaches violence," said Beachum, who has played for the Steelers (2012-2015), Jaguars (2016), Jets (2017-2020) and Cardinals (2021-2022). "A lot of the things he teaches are the principles he learned when playing for [Patriots assistant coach] Dante Scarnecchia.
"He wants players who want to be around the game. That's starting to change with NIL. He'll say, 'You can't just be a guy. You have to play the game the right way.' A lot of who I am, and what I stand for, is from the foundation he laid for me at SMU."
Beachum is one of six players Klemm coached in college who were drafted into the NFL, joining Josh LeRibeus (SMU, 2012 third round), Jeff Baca (UCLA, 2013 sixth round), Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA, 2014 second round), Caleb Benenoch (UCLA, 2016 fifth round) and Conor McDermott (UCLA, 2017 sixth round).
Development, recruiting, intelligence and relatability to players are viewed as some of Klemm's strengths.
"Even after playing for him -- it's been almost 10 years now -- he's always been a resource for me. He's a mentor and a friend and I'm able to talk to him about anything, not just relating to football," said Su'a-Filo, who broke into the NFL with the Houston Texans during O'Brien's first season as their coach.
"I will forever be indebted to him for that. He means a great deal to me."
Beachum, Su'a-Filo and some Oregon offensive linemen have recently worked out together, joking that they represented "three generations of Klemm-ites."
Beachum recalled how Klemm would write personal cards to players' parents at SMU, something he now does himself, adding: "I think he meets people where they are. He's a relationship evangelist, is what I call him."
Of Klemm's coaching style, Su'a-Filo said: "He's very thought-out and calculated. The small details matter to him. I would use the word passionate. If you meet him, he is not a very loud person at all, but the passion comes out on the field, and I think he knows exactly when to put his foot on the gas."
2. Steeler stop: One part of Klemm's coaching resume sparks a question -- he was the Steelers' assistant offensive line coach from 2019 to 2020, then was promoted to O-line coach in 2021 before leaving the team with two games remaining in the that season. What happened? Word out of Pittsburgh is that Klemm and offensive coordinator Matt Canada weren't an ideal fit, and head coach Mike Tomlin knew it wouldn't carry into 2022, so he green-lit Klemm's early departure. Tomlin publicly commented on Klemm at the time, praising his commitment while noting his desire to eliminate the perception of distractions.
3. O'Brien-Klemm duo: Su'a-Filo, who played for Klemm at UCLA and then for O'Brien with the Texans, thinks the Klemm-O'Brien pairing is an ideal match. "I learned so much about offensive football and understanding defenses from Coach O'Brien, and so much about the offensive line and how you marry the run and pass from Coach Klemm. Both of those guys are competitive, want to win, and are like-minded with the head coach over there. I just think that will be awesome."
4. Judon on Mac: Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon's critique of quarterback Mac Jones' on-field emotions on "NFL Live" last week was straightforward, supportive and constructive -- the type of remarks that came across as captain-like. So could Judon, set to enter his third season with the franchise, be trending toward a captaincy? One thing to watch is if he attends a significant portion of the voluntary offseason program, something he hasn't done since signing with the team in March 2021. That has usually been a prerequisite for consideration.
5. Butler follow-up: Former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler made the rounds on Super Bowl "Radio Row" late last week, tidying up a few details on why his second stint with the team in 2022 was cut short. He had sustained a painful hip injury in the preseason, which ultimately led to his release with an injury settlement. Butler later had a tryout with the Miami Dolphins but wasn't signed and said he wasn't quite 100% at that time. Now he feels fully healthy and is deciding if he'll retire, take a job coaching at a private high school in Houston while going back to school himself, or try to play another season.
Butler is also working on a documentary about all the questions he's been asked over his career that is scheduled to be released sometime in 2024 or 2025, and a book on his life story, in which he says he'll address everything in more detail from his perspective, including the "coach's decision" of why he didn't play on defense in Super Bowl LII.
"There's some good stuff in there. I knew one day I was going to spill the beans, but I want to do it the right way," he said.
6. Brady's emotion: Belichick’s appearance on Tom Brady's "Let's Go!" podcast was notable for many things, but none more than Brady's emotion when Belichick referred to his career as the greatest ever; the type of moment one needs to listen to, more than read about, to truly feel it.
7a. They said it, Part I: "That's the smartest decision I ever made. Maybe other than drafting him." -- Belichick, via the "Let's Go!" podcast, on officially naming Brady the starter in 2001 after Drew Bledsoe returned to full health and previously splitting the repetitions between them.
7b. They said it, Part II: "You have more commercials than Peyton Manning now!" -- Belichick, to Rob Gronkowski when the former Patriots tight end joined Brady's podcast during the Belichick-Brady interview.
8. Zappe in town: Patriots backup quarterback Bailey Zappe said he planned to split time this offseason between Texas and Foxboro, in part because he wanted to continue to acclimate to Northeast winters. That explains, in part, why he was back at Gillette Stadium last week.
9. Super LVII prediction: Eagles 30, Chiefs 24. Dangerous to pick against Patrick Mahomes, and I'm not as sold on Philadelphia's defense as others, but ultimately leaning on the Eagles' OL to hold up against the Chiefs' DL and allow skill-position players to help exploit an advantage against a young Kansas City secondary.
10. Did You Know: Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest is one of only two players to record a sack in three different Super Bowls since the stat became official in 1982. Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark will attempt to become the third on Sunday, joining McGinest and Charles Haley in that category.