Blog Entry

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:59 am
Posted by Will Brinson

When the Falcons decided to trade a pile of draft picks to the Browns for the rights to Julio Jones, there was reason to be skeptical, considering the bounty. But there was also reason to be optimistic if, as Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff thought, the Falcons were just one piece away from a team that was capable of going the distance.

Jones isn't necessarily guaranteed to be that piece, but he's shown flashes of being the prescription for what ails Atlanta's deep-threat problem. More interesting, though, is franchise-building savant Bill Belichick's reaction to the trade, before it happened, when Dimitroff called him to get his input on the deal.

"Thomas, I'm just telling you as a friend," Belichick told Dimitroff prior to the trade, per the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "I wouldn't do it."

Two things are important to recognize about Belichick's comment, which comes from Michael Holley's book about the coach. One, Belichick felt that Jonathan Baldwin, now a Chiefs wideout, was "just as good if not better." And two, hindsight is always 20/20.

None of that is to say that the deal worked for Atlanta. That still remains to be seen. In fact, their decision to jump up in the draft inherently hinges on their ability to make the playoffs.

What's interesting to me, how Atlanta and Cleveland fare aside, is what would have happened if Belichick, master of the draft-day manuevering, moved up to nab a top-tier prospect.

As I've noted over the past few weeks, the top seven picks in this recent draft are outstanding. Four of those players -- Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Marcel Dareus and Aldon Smith -- would have an immediate impact on a terrible Patriots defense.

Belichick isn't a guy that jumps into the top 10 of the draft to pay heavily for a player with upside that doesn't equate to guaranteed. But is it possible he missed the economic trend of grabbing the best young players at a much more reasonable cost by virtue of sticking to his guns?

It absolutely is -- Belichick held five picks in the first three rounds of the 2011 draft. Trading up to grab an upper-tier selection would've been tough, but the Pats could've pulled it off. Guaranteeing that they landed a great player is a totally different ballgame of course, and it's hindsight to assume all the top picks from this year will succeed.

But exploiting the new rookie-wage scale is exactly the Moneyball-esque technique we've come to expect out of the Patriots and somehow, instead, New England's left wondering why Ras-I Dowling is on IR and the defense can't stop anyone.

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Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:58 pm

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

Bronson ... well put and I respect your opinion.

I guess all I'm saying is that if the Patriots won (and easily could have) those two games against the Steelers and Giants, they would be 7-1 and people would be singing their praise from the roof tops like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Saying things like, "they may have statistically the worst defense in the NFL, but they get it done and that's what great teams do". And, "I like the Patriots and the Packers as my Super Bowl pick".

Remember how the Jets were floundering when we beat them about a month ago? People were sticking a fork in them. Now they're in the thick of it.

People love to run with hype and the media generates it for us fans.

We will see what happens. Hoping for the best.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:35 pm

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

Yeah DynastyOfPats, I'm kind of leaning toward their defense being terrible. I ain't writing them off as there aren't any legitimate powerhouses in the AFC but run defense is less important these days and I'm extremely skeptical that the defensive backfield problem of James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Philip Adams is going to improve. BB thinks he can take any crap player and make them good but we're seeing now that this group just doesn't have the talent or depth to stop anybody.

As for what Belichick said to Dimitroff, this story has been known for a while and makes sense given Belichick's fetish for stockpiling mid-round draft picks. I'm of the mindset that if you get one impact player out of 7 picks in a draft, you had a good draft. BB obviously would prefer drafting 10 mediocre and crappy players, half of whom will be cut before the season starts, but hey, he's a genius, right?

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 1:14 pm

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

That might be the craziest thing I've ever read from a poster that appears to know his stuff.

The Patriots lose a couple close games to very good opponents ... and you're calling for (possibly) the best coach in the history of the NFL to be booted?

I understand your frustration but come on now.

Let's check back on things at the end of the season.

Hell, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! THAT is when the good teams get it together and make a stretch run.

Funny how we all forget that year to year. Calling games in week 3 "must wins" and so forth.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 1:10 pm

Think about this one

People love to watch teams on the ascend (San Fran) and can't wait for top tier teams (like New England) to fade.

I'm not a big fan of yards gained and yards allowed to judge offenses and defenses. Sure, they mean something ... but I prefer points scored and points allowed as more accurate.

Going by yards: Patriots pass defense is 32. When you're last in the league in anything, it's never good. However, the run defense is mid pack (and a whisker away from top 10) and about mid pack in points allowed.

I don't know if I'd call that a terrible defense. Nothing to rave about ... but terrible?

I suppose if the media says something, then it's repeated enough of times, it becomes a fact?

Offense is 1st in the league in pass yards and is tied for 5th in points scored. Pretty damn good.

Anybody who writes this team off should think twice. A couple of tweaks ... and they're as dangerous as anybody.

The best team in the league doesn't always win the championship.

Just ask the Phillies, the 07 Patriots (16-0), the 01 Rams etc.

Since: Mar 7, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2011 12:56 pm

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

I absolutely agree with you here.  Belichick is over rated as a coach with draft skills.  Either that or they have diminished to the point he needs help.  BIG HELP at this years draft.  For a team that has boasted so many draft picks how come they have no young exciting stars on the rise?  Yes they may have a few pro bowl type players in the fold but they do not have one young exciting player moving up through the ranks that will make an impact where is our Von Miller, Patrick Peterson or Aldon Smith?  Or even or our Preston Parker, Jonathan Baldwin types.  Oh forgot they don't fit the patriots mold.  They have skills, Belichick wants to show the world he can make the water boy the starting Quarterback and his 8th round pick his stud LB.  Wonder why it is all slipping away?  Give me a break, they draft who they draft for one reason.  Bottom line they do not want to pay the players what they earn through their first contracts and draft positions.  So they go out shopping for the knock offs and only checking the sale racks.  Well, Mr. Belichick you have no one else to blame because you fired them all and replaced them with yourself.  He needs to accept that it takes a team of experts to collect and build a championship.  It is also good to start with real talent not all 4 through 7 round picks and expect a championship team.  Don't get me started again on the free agent class from the past few years as well with all the wide outs that have switched teams and we get #85?  WHAT?  Go PATS, BOOT BELICHICK. 

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2011 12:45 pm

Belichick didn't like Julio Jones draft-day deal

There are a lot of ifs in football.  Injuries change a team's entire season on a regular basis (hello, Peyton).  Guys who were durable in the past, like the NFL's tackle leader in 2010, Jerod Mayo, tweak a ligament and suddenly the Patriots can't stop anybody.  Put him back in the mix along with Dowling and the Pats D probably doesn't stink, which is all that it needs to do with the offense they have.  Parity is a good thing, just ask the fans of the San Francisco 49ers, but when every team is equal it doesn't take much to go from Super Bowl Champ to middle of the pack - any Saints fans out there?  Even Green Bay, if Aaron Rodgers goes down then that team is not undefeated.  Not quite sure if the end of dynasties is a good thing but when winning two years in a row is a huge accomplishment that tells you all you need to know about the effect of the current salary cap rules on the NFL. Belichick's penchant for stock piling draft picks and rookies has lately yielded a pretty good regular season track record but it takes players who are better than simply good for a team to dominate in the playoffs.    

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