In today’s NFL, every franchise undergoes major changes every year. The challenge, each and every year, becomes creating the kind of chemistry and camaraderie that will help the team maximize its chances of winning games.
The 2021 Patriots are succeeding in that regard, and their results are confirming it. On Friday, coach Bill Belichick addressed the intangible qualities that bind his current team together.
“The relationship with the players is always a very special one,” Belichick said. “It’s not something, as a coach, that you can orchestrate. I think it just has to happen. Hopefully, you put players together that will be able to form those kinds of relationships, trust, camaraderie, and all those things, but it’s not anything you can legislate. It just kind of has to happen. I’m glad it’s happening, and I’m glad they do have that feeling because I do think there’s a chemistry that goes with communication, anticipation, knowing what the other guy’s doing and him knowing what you’re doing and being able to play aggressively with all that. It’s a good thing. I’m glad they feel that way, and I’m glad that’s developing. It takes time. It takes some success. It’s not something you can talk about, and it magically happens. You need to back it up with some results that reinforce what you’re doing, what they’re feeling.”
While it can’t be forced, it can flow naturally from the presence of the right players on the team. Belichick explained whether he looks at a player’s potential locker-room presence when evaluating potential free agents.
“We try to see what kind of person the player is on another level, how committed they are to football, what kind of worker they are, what kind of practice player they are, what they bring to the team, both on and off the field, and so forth,” Belichick said. “Each one of us has our own style, strengths, weaknesses and all that. It’s not like one size fits all. That’s definitely not the case, but, fundamentally, you try to bring people in that you feel like would be a good fit for your team, whether they’re rookies, free agents, trades, or however you acquire them. That’s what you try to do. It doesn’t always work out that way, but hopefully it does. That’s the intent.”
Currently, the intent and the results are meshing for the Patriots, who added plenty of free agents in the offseason. After some initial hurdles, the team has become a serious contender in the AFC.