You can say many things about Julian Edelman over the course of what should be, if some justice exists in this broken world, a Hall of Fame career. He came from nothing. Made the most of his opportunities. He was tough. Durable. Clutch. A champion. But as much as anything, he was a guy who took coaching in order to achieve his greatness.
And while his post-football career has only barely begun, he's already proving that's not going to change.
Last week Edelman went on "Pardon My Take" and told them what Bill Belichick said to him when he told him he was taking a job on network TV:
I'm like, 'I'm doing Inside The NFL." And he looks at me and he goes, "Oh you're doing media?" And I go, "Yeah, you know, it's going to be kind of fun." I didn't know what I could say to him, he's scary, he's intimidating. And so he goes, "Now look. You can't be a homer. If you have to motherfuck us, you can motherfuck us." But it felt like a mafia meeting, but it was cool.
And six weeks into his rookie season, Edelman is already going right out and executing all the coaching points.
“[The Cowboys] go on the road, in Foxboro, a notoriously tough place to play. Right now, it’s not.”
“The Patriots just aren’t the Patriots right now, and it hurts me to say this. They are not the Patriots. We are so used to seeing the last 20 years — and I know there’s different players, and this, that, but there’s still a group of guys in there that know how they should play. They need to start playing mistake-free football. They’ve had a handful of plays this year where they if they would have went their way, if they would have taken care of the football, if they didn’t get two blocked punts — hasn’t been done since ’93 [in New England], if they would have not thrown an interception, if the linemen didn’t let the quarterback have guys running at him free … . I’m a little venting right now.”
And after Brandon Marshall points out that you've never heard Phil Simms crush the Giants or Ray Lewis crush the Ravens, Edelman repeats the TV-14 version of the story he told on PMT:
"‘Don’t be a homer, you can MF us if you need to MF us.’ Well, I’m MFing you! I’m MFing! They need to start taking care of the football. I don’t want to hear ‘Mac Jones is a rookie.’ He’s got six games under his belt; he’s not a rookie no more, and he’s been compounding good performances. … There needs to be some accountability in those rooms.”
Do Your Job, Minitron. Do. Your. Job.
His words are harsh but perfectly appropriate for the situation. Guys like Simms, Lewis, and I'll add Tony Romo, might feel some sort compulsion to polish the nobs of their former employers. They might feel like they're breaking some kind of Loyalty Oath whenever they criticize the franchises that bought their mansions and luxury cars. But Belichick doesn't roll like that and neither does the empire he built. In his own words:
It's certainly not built on asking retired members of the Three Ring Club to carry water for him. And since Edelman has been inside "those rooms" he's referring to, he knows that there's no way he could be any harsher sitting at a studio desk in a turtleneck than the guys in them right now. And no one is more taking "accountability" for 2-4 than the guy who told him to "motherfuck" him whenever a good "motherfuck" is deserved. So that package has been delivered.
I have no doubt Edelman's words have been heard by everyone in those rooms, and they'll respond in kind, starting Sunday against the Jets. I especially hope the part about no longer treating Mac Jones like a rookie gets heard and Josh McDaniels starts letting him take over games. If anyone knows what that's like, it's the newest, and best, analyst on "Inside the NFL."