The Eagles gained’t want a secret weapon Sunday to beat the Patriots.
Their weapons are identified, and they’re harmful: Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. Oh, and don’t neglect the defensive position that averaged greater than a sack per quarter final season and has since added two first-round picks.
If, nevertheless, the Eagles did require a secret weapon, his identify may be senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia.
Patricia’s information of the Patriots’ soccer operations is deeper and extra detailed than some other coach to face them within the Bill Belichick period. No ex-assistant has returned to face Belichick with coordinator expertise on offense and protection, to not point out his yr as a Senior Football Adviser. However disastrous final season was — and it was a soccer hellscape of ugly penalties and hideous turnovers — Patricia nonetheless is aware of the Pats’ playbooks and personnel intimately.
Patricia realized at Belichick’s knee for 16 years, together with six as a coordinator or advisor. It was at that very same knee he took a public spanking from each media analyst and radio caller who watched his bland, bumbling offense final season. That, in accordance with sources, is among the many chief causes Patricia left.
People near Patricia acknowledged the toll the season and criticism took on him by early January. Weeks later, Patricia didn’t return to the ability with the remainder of the coaches to start offseason preparations. In reality, a number of Patriots staffers appeared to greet him with shock in mid-March when Patricia made a public look at Devin McCourty’s retirement press convention.
Not lengthy after that, Patricia flew off to Philly.
The drawback now, with the Eagles visiting for Sunday’s season opener, is Patricia is aware of how Belichick thinks. He is aware of as a result of Belichick taught him the right way to assume. And it’s how Patricia helped form Bill O’Brien’s considering in his first days as a Patriot.
“I learned a lot from Matt when I worked with him years ago,” O’Brien mentioned Tuesday. “I came in as a quality control (coach in 2007), and Matt helped teach me a lot about being a quality control coach here in New England. We have a lot of respect for Matt.”
As damning as current historical past has handled Patricia (who, make no mistake, has at all times performed a number one position in his personal demise), it’s been equally unkind to Belichick versus his ex-assistants.
Brian Flores gained 4 of his final 5 battles with the Patriots because the Dolphins’ head coach. Titans coach Mike Vrabel knocked Belichick and Tom Brady out of their final playoff sport collectively in January 2020. A yr earlier, Vrabel ripped the Pats by 24 in Nashville.
And months earlier than that loss, Patricia managed the identical along with his toothless Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football, 26-10.
Institutional information of your opponent issues. It’s why groups mine the minds of gamers and coaches who performed for his or her subsequent opponent each week of each season.
“There’s always somebody on the other team that we know, or somebody that’s on our team that was with somebody else,” Belichick mentioned Monday on WEEI. “So, it’s pretty common in the National Football League.”
The query is: how a lot does it matter? Theoretically, Patricia ought to weaponize his institutional information towards the Patriots higher than ex-assistant ever has. He can pour every little thing he realized, taught, noticed and put in over a decade and a half of Foxboro into the Eagles offense, protection and training workers.
That’s plenty of stuff! But in actuality, the Patriots couldn’t care much less.
“I doubt it will help much,” one supply advised the Herald. “We’re a game-plan team in every phase.”
“I have a ton of respect for Matt. Matt’s helped us win a lot of games (and) championships here,” Belichick started Monday, “but Sunday’s game will be about the Eagles and the Patriots.”
Added Pats security Adrian Phillips: “We change pretty much every week. So you might feel like you’ve got us down to a tee, but I don’t know if, since I’ve been here, I’ve ever been in a game where the offense knows exactly what we’re going to do.”
Phillips did verify Patricia is unquestionably arming the Eagles with info, and his protection is not going to and can’t understand how till the sport begins. But no matter that info is, ex-Patriots operating again James White isn’t positive how useful that will likely be.
“(Patricia’s) gonna understand the basic principles of obviously a Bill Belichick defense, but you can tweak so many different things based on the team that you’re playing against that it doesn’t necessarily matter,” White mentioned just lately.
He continued: “I feel like, for me personally, some of those coaches don’t know as much as we think they know. Matty P coached on both sides of the ball, but when it comes to offense knowing defense and defense knowing offense, they might know some small things, but when it comes to some of the intricate details, I feel like most coaches don’t necessarily know those things, in my opinion.”
Maybe White is correct. His concept, whereas engaging, is troublesome to show. But if the Patriots are proper about Patricia’s affect, or lack thereof, we are going to know Sunday.
The Pats will both upset the Eagles or drop a promising nail-biter. The Eagles gained’t run away with an anticipated blowout, their edges in expertise and preparation shining as clear as the brand new 19-mile scoreboard of Gillette Stadium. Patricia gained’t get pleasure from a final chuckle at Belichick’s expense, and as a substitute proceed to be remembered because the defensive coach who took the keys to the offense and drove it straight the bottom.
The complete notion of Patricia offering crucial intelligence on the Patriots will appear downright laughable. Almost as humorous as the thought appears to the Patriots proper now. Just ask O’Brien.
What a part of his expertise helped him compete towards the Patriots six occasions because the Texans’ head coach?
“It’s an interesting question,” O’Brien started Tuesday. “I would say none of it.”