New England Patriots

New age therapy and Jimmy Garoppolo could end up taking the Patriots down




ESPN’s Seth Wickersham released his anticipated Patriots report into the alleged power struggle between its three most important figures, owner Robert Kraft, the best quarterback to ever play in Tom Brady and arguably the greatest coach to ever put on a headset in Bill Belichick.

Some see Wickersham’s article as nothing more than a hit piece intended to so something that many, like Roger Goodell have tried to do in the past. Other see it as glaring insight to an organization that’s close to the end while another faction see it as information that’s been known for years.

In any case, Wickersham’s report undoubtedly provided us with some pretty juicy gossip. However there’s two pieces that for the most part stood out as two potentially damning factors that could play in to the collapse.

New age therapy and the departure of Jimmy Garoppolo.

When it comes to the new age therapy stuff, it all seems to boil down to Tom Brady’s relationship with his personal trainer Alex Guerrero and the TB12 method.

But what’s the TB12 method? Apparently it’s all the craze for Brady which means it became all the craze for the rest of the Patriots. Unless you’re Garoppolo which we’ll get to here in a minute.

According to Wickersham TB12 is a regimen that ultimately “claimed it could absolve football of responsibility for injury”:

“When athletes get injured, they shouldn’t blame their sport,” Brady wrote. The method also was so consuming and unwavering in its rules and convictions that, while it helped some players, it felt “like a cult” to others, one Patriots staffer says. The way TB12 began to creep into Brady’s life worried people close to the QB, many of whom were suspicious of Guerrero. “Tom changed,” says a friend of Brady’s. “That’s where a lot of these problems started.”

The TB12 method could apparently be achieved not by traditional methods of lifting weights – which Brady according to Wickersham was Belichick’s “answer to everything” – but by stretching with bands, eating lots of vegetables, drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep and, most of all, achieving peak “pliability”. 

Unsurprisingly, if what Wickersham said is true about Brady’s views on TB12 in relation to Belichick’s methods led to the New England head coach banning Guerrero from the sidelines further fueling that growing rift between the two.

Belichick felt the need to permanently clarify Guerrero’s role, drawing sharp boundaries. After the brief discussion with Brady, Belichick emailed Guerrero to let him know that while he was welcome to work with any players who sought out TB12, he was no longer permitted access to the sideline or all of the team headquarters because he wasn’t an employee of the Patriots (a point that Belichick would resoundingly make clear when reporters asked about Guerrero).

But how does Jimmy Garoppolo fits into all of this?

It sounds as though the former New England backup and now 49ers starter is perhaps the last straw when it comes to Belichick and Brady.

Wickersham points out the questionable move in trading Garoppolo in the first place knowing that you currently have a 41-year-old starter to begin with. It’s allegedly something Belichick didn’t want to do but was out gunned when Brady went over his head to Kraft who eventually told his head coach to orchestrate a trade with the further task of finding another QB in the draft to develop.

Additionally it was Garoppolo who provided the greatest threat to Brady keeping his current role with the Patriots for as long as he wanted. In erst, Brady wanted nothing to do with helping his perceived underling with becoming a better QB to the extent of possibly shutting Jimmy G out of any TB12 therapy.

Garoppolo played well in 2016, starting in place of the suspended Brady, and Belichick began to see Garoppolo as the final piece of his legacy, to walk away in a few years with the Patriots secure at quarterback. But after Garoppolo was knocked out of his second start because of a shoulder injury, he set up a visit at TB12. As he later told Patriots staffers, when he arrived, the door was locked. He knocked; nobody was there. He called TB12 trainers but nobody answered. He couldn’t believe it, Garoppolo told the staffers, and that night ended up visiting team trainers instead. Guerrero vehemently denies ever refusing to see any player, and Garoppolo was eventually treated at TB12 — but it was two weeks after he showed up for his original appointment, and only after a high-ranking Patriots staffer called TB12 to inquire why Garoppolo hadn’t been admitted.

It the end the sense I got from Wickersham was this was all about preserving legacies between Belichick and Brady with Kraft getting caught up in the middle, struggling to come to terms with who he should support that given week.

The trio also found time to release a statement in response to the Wickersham piece assuring Pats fans that they are “united” while dubbing the “multiple media reports” as “unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate.”

Via CBS Boston:

“For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate. The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing in the postseason and the opportunity to work together in the future, just as we have for the past 18 years. It is unfortunate that there is even a need for us to respond to these fallacies. As our actions have shown, we stand united.”

Some notions in response still seem a little far-fetched in relation to the article. Notably Belichick leaving over something like his reported rift with Brady. Coaching another team certainly seems completely out of the question, which the same can be said for Brady playing for another team. Then again we’ve seen it happen before, but this situation still seems different. If Brady, Belichick and Kraft were able to stand each other this long surely they can make it to the end, which you have to assume is approaching sooner rather than later.

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