by Kerry Taylor
The announcement will be one for the sports history books. The hiring of Bill Belichick and the firing of Pete Carroll has severely impacted the landscape of the NFL. Still, to this day, you see the effects of it. These two coaches are currently two of the best coaches in the NFL. You wouldn’t have thought back then that, combined, they would be a part of the playoffs for the next 12 of 15 years and be a part of 7 of the last 15 Super Bowls. This change also affected my career as well. Coach Carroll believed in me and brought me here. Now what?!?!
Sitting in the meeting room with the rest of the team, I didn’t know how to feel or what to expect. All I knew was we were getting a new head coach and I was back at square one. And in order to get to where I wanted, I was going to have to get acclimated as quickly as possible. After Coach Carroll said his good byes, Coach Belichick entered the meeting room. Most of the veterans were excited for the change. So, as a rookie, I just followed suit. Here are some of the first words out of Coach Belichick’s mouth as I remember them, in his non-emotional, intense, calm demeanor.
“Okay guys, I’m happy to be here. Let’s just get a few things straight. No one is above the team. No one! Everything stays amongst the people in this room. If you’re interviewed, give them simple non exploratory answers. If someone gets hurt, you’re asked about it. You answer, “They are doing just fine.”, “No comment”, or “We’re working hard to be ready for next week”. Remember we are a team and that’s how we will conduct ourselves. None of this other bullshit you see on TV.”
After the meeting was over, some of us immediately had to schedule meetings with our position coaches. In that meeting I was told I have a lot of potential and I will be with the development group up until training camp. That meant we were going to be doing things that others didn’t have to. Those responsibilities were:
1) Getting to know my learning style.
We were given the task of discovering how we learn best. I was given New York Jets Safety, Victor Green, to study and learn as much about him as I could. I did this through reading old media guides, scouting reports, game summaries, and looking at a ton of tape. Once I was done, I had to put together a report and present it to my offensive coaches.
2) Chalk Talk
We would meet with our position coaches 3 times a week to go through and review the playbook and schemes for the new system we would be running.
3) NFL Europe
NFL Europe was similar to the farm system for baseball. NFL teams had the option to send players overseas to get more playing time under their belts and develop. I was slated to go to Barcelona and play for the Barcelona Dragons. Yes!!! When I found this out, I was extremely excited. I get to travel to Barcelona and pursue my dream further. It doesn’t get much better than that.
These additions to my schedule made me excited about the possibilities. I was getting more opportunities to learn and work on my craft. But what do you think happened? Smooth sailing from now until training, right? Maybe not? Until next time.