David Carr Claims 'Tom Brady Ran the Show' in NE, 'Bullied' Josh McDaniels, and Forced the Jimmy G Trade
I might be a point in my life where I have more yesterdays than tomorrows, but I like to think I live in the moment. Like the Zen Buddhists, who believe that the past is important only in so far as it led to the now you're experiencing. Even the word "nostalgia" comes from the Greek words "nostos," meaning "return," and "algos," which is "pain." Because trying to return to one's past usually brings suffering.
But that doesn't mean I'm above revisiting with fondness some of the great times. Take for instance, those halcyon days of the 2010s, when the Patriots were making it to the conference championship game at the very least every year. Especially the late 20-teens, when the banners were springing up at Gillette every autumn like cornstalks.
But that's not the nostalgia I'm feeling today. No, our stroll down Memory Lane is taking us in the opposite direction. Toward that end of the path where the whole country couldn't shut up about how much trouble there was behind the scenes at One Patriots Place. How there were more power struggles, backstabbing, infighting, palace intrigue and regicide than the whole series run of Game of Thrones. And what has me walking that path again is David Carr:
“I think what happened, and this is just my opinion. I don’t speak for anybody in my family. I don’t speak for anybody in New England. I know some people up there, I know some people that were in Las Vegas. I would say what happened is, in New England, Tom Brady ran the show. So, he was able to bully Josh. And he would just say, ‘This is what we’re gonna do.’ If Josh said no, (Brady) would go to Bill’s office. If Bill said no, he would go to Robert Kraft: ‘Trade Jimmy Garoppolo, I don’t need him in here causing a problem.’ Jimmy Garoppolo gets traded, right?
“So, I think that’s what happened. I think that when they were in New England, Tom ran his stuff. Tom is a guy, historically, that gets to the line of scrimmage, picks the play he wants to run. … I think that what Josh wants to do, is Josh feels like — and maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong, time will tell — he feels like he can guess right most of the time from the sideline, which is almost impossible to do in this day and age. But Derek does say he’s a smart guy, like he’s a football genius. Like he gets it. So, I think for Josh, he’s gonna get a guy that he can not control, but tell where to throw the ball. That has some physical tools, that can make some plays in the run game, that can push the ball down the field.”
Ah, like it's 2018 all over again. Thanks for the memories, David Carr. And the laughs.
Look, I have no ill will toward Carr. None at all. I'm not about to go all ad hominem on him. He says this not about his family - which is to say, it's not about the fact that after working with his brother for less than a season, Josh McDaniels decided he'd rather release him and gamble that he could find someone, anyone, better to run his offense going forward - and he deserves the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's just repeating what he's been hearing.
This is just about the fact that what's he's been hearing, and now repeating, is ludicrous. Silly, stupid, implausible nonsense that's been going around for what will be a decade before you know it. The idea that Brady was rolling up to the stadium every day and asserting his dominance over McDaniels and Bill Belichick, then going up the proverbial back stairs to force Mr. Kraft to do his player personnel bidding is laughable. And doesn't become true no matter how many times it gets repeated.
Worse, it contradicts everything everyone involved has ever said. Then, and now:
Listen for yourselves:
"For me, there's nobody I'd rather be associated with. From my standpoint, I think it's always such a stupid conversation to say, 'Brady vs. Belichick' because, in my mind, that's not what a partnership is about. Coach couldn't play quarterback and I couldn't coach. And the best part about football is, coach says it a lot, 'Do your job.' And he just asked me to quarterback. He didn't ask me to coach. And I didn't want to coach. And I didn't want him to play quarterback. I just wanted him to coach. I'd seen him throw, so he definitely wasn't playing quarterback. (Laughter)"
"In my view, people were always trying to pull us apart. … So once they get done writing all the nice things, the championships, and this, and then they just go 'Well this works. Let's just start trying to divide them.'
"I never really appreciated the way people would try to do that. He and I always had a great relationship and we met all the time. Did we always see everything exactly the same way? Who does in life? … But I would say it was healthy debates about certain things. We always talked about them face to face. And one thing I always appreciate about Coach Belichick and like, is that he's not afraid to have a hard conversation too. And we didn't always agree. But we always respected each other.
"Tom would tell me that he saw and how he saw it, it was incredible how during the game, he'd come off and I'd say, 'What happened on that play?' And he'd go through eight things that happened: tackle flash in front of me; this guy slipped; I saw the linebacker drop wide; safety was a little deeper than I thought he would be; and then this guy stepped in front and I kind of put it a little bit behind him because I saw this other guy closing. And then you'd go back and look at the film, and every one of those things happened in the exact sequence that he explained it to you on the field. I'm like, 'This guy sees everything.'"
Which is a dynamic we got to see in action on NFL Network as far back as 2009:
If Carr's definition of bullying coaches and running the show is a quarterback having intelligent thoughts on how to solve the Rubik's Cube that was Ed Reed and discussing certain looks and reads he prefers, than NFL coaches should welcome a lot more bullying and showrunning from their QB1s. But it should be nobody's definition of anything other than the two best ever to do their job and one of the best coordinators in the business putting their egos aside and collaborating to do things as well as they possibly can. You can't argue with the results.
As far as the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, I can't believe this talk is still going on, six years later. Nor can I bring myself to have this conversation again. But for the sake of refusing to give up ground in this battle: The Patriots had to trade Jimmy G when they did. They may have drafted him to replace Brady, but the only thing that screwed up the succession plan was Brady's stubborn refusal to get old at the age of 40. He won the league MVP that season and led the Pats to their second straight Super Bowl. The next year, he led them to their sixth championship. The people who pretend they could've kept both quarterbacks by simply paying Garoppolo $27 million to stay on the bench are ignorant, either willfully or accidentally. And I don't know which is worse. They had to choose one. They chose correctly. There is nothing further to be said on the matter by anyone who has any interest in honesty.
But no hard feelings toward David Carr. It's been fun sharing these memories. And I look forward to a time in the near future when the Pats are winning playoff games again and the talk is all about how Mac Jones is bullying Bill O'Brien.