Bill Belichick’s Patriot Way has delivered unmatched success over the past two decades, with the legendary coach and quarterback Tom Brady winning six Super Bowls and appearing in three more.
Former wide receiver Wes Welker, now the 49ers’ receivers coach, thrived as one of Brady’s main weapons, catching 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in six seasons in New England. But Welker and the Patriots had a messy breakup when Belichick chose not to attempt to re-sign the slot receiver when he hit the open market in 2013.
Belichick’s way, while proven effective, can wear on players and Welker doesn’t subscribe to the no-nonsense approach to coaching.
«I was still upset about it,» Welker told WEEI’s «The Greg Hill Show» about his departure from the Pats. «I did want to be there, but there was part of me — I just like enjoying the game. I like having fun, all those things. Coaching now, you learn a lot from the tactics and different things like that, but at the same time putting your own twist on it and understanding — I tell my guys all the time: ‘As long as we’re giving great effort and we’re on top of our assignments we’re going to be good. Once it’s not where we need to be, that is when we have problems.’
«Kind of being there and there’s a big mental aspect to the game of being prepared, being this, being that, all those different things, but also enjoying yourself and having fun playing the game. I feel like you’re playing your best ball when you’re having fun and enjoying (yourself). I think there were some times where I didn’t really feel that at times for different reasons — the guys that we had in the locker room, the camaraderie that we had was better some years than others. We had all these different things and when you’re one of the highest-paid players on the team you’re expected to deliver and like a highly paid player. There’s definitely pressure on that and all these different things is tough and it’s hard. Coach Belichick is hard on guys and tries to get the most out of him that he can.»
There’s no question Belichick’s my way or the highway attitude isn’t for everyone. Even Brady chose to turn in his Patriot Way membership card this offseason, electing to finish his career in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers.
Welker, who began his coaching career with the Houston Texans before joining the 49ers in 2019, no doubt has taken some motivational tricks from Belichick while also crafting his own way that allows his players to be disciplined but also enjoy the journey.
Wes Welker, now 49ers coach, doesn’t subscribe to Bill Belichick’s methods originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area