NESN Diary: How James White Becoming Vocal Leader Benefits Patriots (And Other Random Thoughts)


Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

The New England Patriots were left with a major void this offseason, and not only at quarterback.

The Patriots watched their vocal leader of the past two decades walk out the door to Tampa Bay. It prompted the question about who’s going to step up and fill that role, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

It seems running back James White wants to take on that load. He spoke about it on Devin and Jason McCourty’s “Double Coverage” podcast Sunday, and I think it’s a good sign for Patriots fans.

“I’m a pretty quiet guy,” White said on the podcast. “I don’t talk too much. I don’t say things unless they need to be said. So I’m constantly learning to speak my mind sometimes. Because that’s the part where I’m still continuing to try to grow. I feel like I have good things to say. Sometimes I just can’t put the words together. So I’m still trying to work on that.

“Usually I don’t say anything, and now I am one of those guys on offense. I am going to have to say something. We don’t have that many guys who have played in our offense besides me, Julian (Edelman), Brandon Bolden, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon. Guys like that. And some of them, they don’t talk that much as well. We’re all going to have to speak up, voice our opinions a little bit more, let the younger guys know how we kind of do things as an offense and make sure everybody is on the same page…”

That’s quite a message from one of the quietest playmakers on the team.

And it’s because of this: the 28-year-old White understands the post-Brady Patriots have to be more accountable without their decade-long leader. And while that could be a hard trend to break for some organizations, White’s acknowledgment means he doesn’t want it to be for the Patriots. And the Patriots, obviously, would agree.

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White is heading into his eighth year in New England. He knows the ins and outs of the organization. And on the field, he and Julian Edelman, another fiery leader, are the offense’s most impactful players. Patriots fans understand how important White is to the team’s success.

That’s why his voice matters. It means more coming from a guy who is just as hardworking as he is talented, and it could benefit that some players having seen his quiet side in the past. After all, sometimes the softest voices are heard the loudest.

Here’s some other random storylines from the day in sports:

— I certainly didn’t feel the same way seeing Rob Gronkowski’s jersey unveiling Thursday that I did seeing Tom Brady’s Wednesday.

Twitter, based on my very limited research, seemed to somewhat agree. Patriots fans did not air out their Gronk-related frustrations to the extent they did for Brady one day earlier. (Brady himself, though, did throw a jab Gronk’s way.)

Certainly could be the fact that Gronkowski wasn’t in New England in 2019. Or maybe New England fans know they got the tight end’s best years?

— I wholeheartedly agreed with Rob Manfred when the Major League Baseball commissioner said “This needs to be over.”

Too bad, that statement doesn’t exactly solve everything. The league’s Players’ Association countered again Thursday, saying they would play 70 games. One day earlier MLB offered players their full prorated salaries for a 60-game season.

Maybe we say 65 games and call it a day? I’m not a huge mathematics guy, but it’s not exactly rocket science.

— Are the Boston Celtics a legit threat to earn a trip to the NBA Finals? Colin Cowherd believes so, and I can’t help but agree with his reasoning.

Cowherd noted how the Celtics have four players — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker — who could score 20-plus points a night. True. The FOX Sports 1 host also explained the advantage of having head coach Brad Stevens. Also true.

The NBA restart is scheduled to take place July 30 in Orlando, Fla.

Tweet of the Day
Congrats to Boston Celtics’ Tremont Waters for being named the NBA G League’s Rookie of the Year.

Video of the Day
New York Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams reportedly requested a trade Thursday.

Adams has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys in the past, making way for a Jerry Jones joke, which I admit I laughed at.

Stat of the Day
Tiger Woods won the 100th U.S. Open by 15 strokes (!!!) on this date 20 years ago. Unreal.

More: Mark Cuban Confident Regarding NBA’s Plan ‘We’re Going To Pull This Off’

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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