Former Patriots Linebacker on Patriots Ecosystem Being Disrupted


The New England Patriots will be two years removed from Tom Brady as their quarterback this season.  Last season was a down year and the Patriots failed to make the playoffs.  With the team being led by Cam Newton, the offense took on a complete new identity. 

Image courtesy of NFL Hall of Fame

The identity of the Patriots for the last twenty years has been Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick.  The Patriot Way has been the moniker of how this franchise has been run.  Some might argue and say the Patriot Way is Belichick’s way or the highway. 

This past week, former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson blamed the change of culture in New England was due to losing Brady. 

It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure that out.  When an organization has arguably the best quarterback in the history of the sport and he moves on, they’ll be a disruption to your program.

The latest disruption in New England has to do with another player.  Wide Receiver N’Keal Harry has asked for a trade out of New England.  The former first-round pick wants a fresh start some where else. 

“I think the Patriots, quite honestly, have lost that thing that makes them the Patriots,” Johnson said.  “You take Tom Brady out of New England and the entire ecosystem has been disrupted.  When have you ever seen a player take on Bill Belichick that has not accomplished anything in this league, like N’Keal Harry is taking him on so publicly?”

Harry is no where near the player that Brady is or quite frankly will ever be.  But Harry asking to be traded publicly isn’t something you’d normally see out of New England. 

Harry has played in 21 regular seasons games.  He’s caught 45 of 81 targets for 414 yards and four touchdowns. 

Last season, with Cam Newton at quarterback, Harry caught 33 balls for 309 yards and two touchdowns. 

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But now the 23-year-old is looking for a fresh start.  Harry could see the writing on the wall after this past offseason.  The Patriots went on a wild spending spree adding Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

“You’re seeing things from players you’ve never seen before.  You’re seeing Bill Belichick do things you’ve never seen Bill Belichick do,” Johnson said.  “Why?  Why all of a sudden now?  It’s a totally different ecosystem now that Tom is gone.  And you’re seeing things and behaviors out of Bill Belichick and out of players that you’ve never seen before.”

If the Patriots trade Harry it will spell the end to his short tenure in New England.  He’ll also have been a wasted first-round pick for Belichick.  Over the last 10 years, the Patriots head coach has been under scrutiny over drafting of players.  Especially offensive players and specifically wide receivers. 

While Johnson is saying the ecosystem in New England has changed, that also isn’t a bad thing.  Change is good and every business will evolve on how they do things and operate.  The Patriots are no different. 

Brady wasn’t going to play in New England forever and at some point will walk away.  The Patriots will now look to build on their 20 year culture with changes to their ecosystem.  The Patriot Way has taken a hit, but it’s not dead, yet. 

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Former Patriots Linebacker on Patriots Ecosystem Being Disrupted
Former Patriots Linebacker on Patriots Ecosystem Being Disrupted
Boston Sports Syndicate
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