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Curran on OMF: Bill Belichick's 'always been able to change' coaching style

Kyle DaLuz
July 26, 2018 - 4:41 pm

NBC Sports Boston's Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria from Gillette Stadium Thursday afternoon to talk about an offseason in Foxboro that was different than any in recent memory.

When Belichick was asked about the mystifying benching of Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII, the 66-year-old head coach steered clear of any valuable insight on the situation, opting instead focusing on 2018 and the upcoming. Thursday, Rob Gronkowski emphatically reiterated he is happy as a member of the Patriots and denied mulling retirement during the offseason. 

Ordway asked Curran if things have been patched up between Belichick and the players this offseason.

“I don’t think anything’s patched up,” he said. “I think that there is more on the part of Belichick to either change his bedside manner, to try and accommodate what they felt as particular pressures or indignities that they suffered, or continue to do it the way that he’s always done it.”

Curran noted how Belichick has changed his approach with the media throughout the offseason, allowing reporters more access than he has in the past.

“You look at this offseason, Bill Belichick spoke at the owner’s meetings on Sunday to the local media and he spoke on Wednesday and did the full breakfast. He’s never done that before – he’s never done two," he said. "You look at the pre-draft press conference, Bill Belichick did the pre-draft press conference for the first time since 2011. Yesterday, I could have seen him shutting that mess down – not to say that the questioning wasn’t fair, it didn’t have to be asked on the first day of camp, we can box it up and put it aside and only refer to it once in a while, but he would have shut that down and shut that whole thing off. But he played along, and he played along for a while.”

As to why Belichick has taken this approach heading into 2018, part of it, Curran believes, is the way the 2017 season unfolded.

“I also think part of it is the Josh McDaniels retention. (Belichick) can’t have his authority undermined nor can he have his authority undermined by, well if Tom (Brady) and Gronk have got this self-realization that I don’t have to say ‘how high’ when he says ‘jump,’ then maybe I don’t have it either," Curran said. 

"I think he might be reasserting, symbolically, a level of authority. Do I think he’s going to change? I think he’s always been able to change, and if he realizes that it caused a problem, then I think he might.”

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