FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots:
1. Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason says his June visit to the Patriots’ facility for minicamp with his staff changed the way he looks at football and building a team. I caught up with him last week to learn why.
How would you describe the experience?
Mason: The championship feel that was felt by me and my staff was ridiculous. It wasn’t just the one-on-one time spent by Coach [Bill] Belichick and his staff — and believe me, he gave us a lot of access and time. But you really get a chance to see not only how good the players are — it’s the NFL, you know there are good players — but how it’s all about the teaching. It’s about being in the classroom and seeing how detailed, how relational these coaches are. But also how demanding they are.
The expectation is excellence every day. I’m talking about the finest details: from how you align, to where you put your eyes, to how to communicate, to how the offense adjusts based on how the defense adjusts. There was no detail missed. From a walk-through, to a player meeting, to a run-through, to how team drills are done, everything was about detail, communication, effort. There was no moving to the right or left.
You were just in awe of how forward-moving these practices were. I was trying to take in every moment, whether it was with a scout, the director of player personnel or Coach Belichick. There was so much information about culture,…
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