The odds of Bill Belichick ever agreeing to appear on “Hard Knocks” are slim to none, but the upcoming season of the HBO show could give fans a glimpse into how the New England Patriots conduct business.
The Houston Texans reportedly were named the “Hard Knocks” team for the 2015 season, and Belichick’s influence is scattered throughout the organization.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien served as Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011 after spending 2007 through 2010 in multiple roles within the organization. Houston’s senior personnel advisor Bobby Grier aided Belichick in the 2000 NFL Draft prior to being fired and catching on with the Texans.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach George Godsey was an offensive assistant for the Patriots in 2011 before serving as tight ends coach in 2012 and 2013. Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel served the same role for the Patriots from 2001 to 2004.
Houston’s linebackers coach Mike Vrabel and defensive assistant Anthony Pleasant each played under Belichick with the Patriots. Vrabel was with the Patriots from 2001 to 2008, and Pleasant won two Super Bowl in New England, playing on the team from 2001 to 2003.
The Texans’ roster also is stocked with former Patriots. Quarterback Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer both served as backups behind Tom Brady.
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork played with the Patriots from 2004 to 2014 before electing to sign with the Texans as a free agent this offseason. Texans offensive lineman Will Yeatman and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian also played for the Patriots.
Since O’Brien was named as the Texans’ head coach in 2014, Houston essentially has become New England-Central. O’Brien carries himself differently from Belichick, but he surely brought some of the Patriots’ practice elements and lessons with him to Houston. It’s only natural to conduct business similarly to the Patriots with so many former players and coaches on staff.
It will be interesting to see Wilfork away from the Patriots’ tight media confines. Wilfork and his family could become stars of the show as they transition from life in Foxboro to Texas. Wilfork’s wife, Bianca, became nearly as popular in New England as her All-Pro husband.
The quarterback competition between Hoyer and Mallett also figures to be a central storyline. The two were teammates in 2011 with the Patriots, then Mallett beat out Hoyer for the Patriots’ backup role during the 2012 preseason. Hoyer can exact revenge on Mallett by beating him out for the starting role in 2015.
Both Hoyer and Mallett were close to Brady during their time in New England, and Brady’s off-field work ethic likely will shine through the two quarterbacks during their season of “Hard Knocks.”
A Patriots season of “Hard Knocks” would be fun, but Belichick keeps his organization guarded better than Fort Knox. Seeing O’Brien, Mallett, Hoyer, Vrabel, Wilfork and more, will give Patriots fans plenty of reasons to watch, however.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images