Detroit Lions/AP; Logan Bowles/AP

If only the comparisons remain strong through the fall

By Jacob Feldman
June 12, 2018

You can't see Bill Belichick on the sidelines in Allen Park, Michigan, but his presence can certainly be felt at Lions minicamp, "from the no-nonsense practices, to the occasional stern outbursts from [new head coach Matt] Patricia on the field, to the reluctance by anybody to say anything," writes Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News. Patricia has already elicited controversy for making his players run laps—a Belichick staple—and local reporters have picked up on similarities to New England in the defensive scheme he's installing. 

The same Pat-ification is under way in Nashville, under new coach Mike Vrabel. The former New England linebacker's press conferences have drawn comparisons to Belichick's while Vrabel has brought "physicality, intensity" to practices. This is likely what the two franchises had in mind when plucking coaches from the Belichick coaching tree, but converting Belichick's methods into the same kind of results seen in New England has been a more daunting task, as none of his assistants since 2000 have posted winning records as head coaches. 

Last year, it was the Jaguars who empowered disciplinarians from the Bill Parcells tree. Players grumbled through a training camp filled with old-school conditioning methods that the Lions are now adjusting to. But after reaching the AFC championship (and nearly toppling New England), the team has bought in. Similar early success would go a long way in establishing Patricia and Vrabel as fixtures in their new cities.

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PRESS COVERAGE

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1. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas plans to hold out of minicamp and training camp unless the Seahawks give him a new contract. "I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career but I also believe that based on my production over the last eight years that I’ve earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible," he wrote on Sunday. "I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career."

2. The Arizona Republic put together a moving snapshot of the 157 former Cardinals who are now seeking financial claims from the NFL as part of a wider lawsuit filed by former players in 2011, including details of their mental, financial, and personal struggles since retiring.

3. Pete Prisco ranked the top 100 players going into 2018, with two Aarons finishing in the top three.

4. Undrafted Jacksonville defensive lineman Darius Jackson (who starred at nearby Jacksonville State) carries with him an obituary for his brother, who died from cancer at age 19. ″My brother had started college as a freshman, he wanted to graduate and see the world,″ Jackson told The Florida Times-Union. ″I feel like with me coming out here every day for practice in this hot sun can be hard sometimes. But at the same time, I just look up in the sky and wish that my brother was here. But I look at it that he’s in a better place because he’s not hurting anymore.″

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5. According to Josina Anderson, Odell Beckham Jr. is planning to attend the Giants' mandatory minicamp while he waits for a contract extension.

6. Twelve years ago, a 10-year-old Chase Edmonds wrote down a promise to pay his sister's student loans. Now the running back, a fourth-round pick by Arizona, is ready to deliver.

7. Ready for the 2019 NFL draft? If not, you can start your prep with this "Early Look at Scouts' Top 10 Players" from Bleacher Report.

8. SB Nation is tackling a ton of NFL What Ifs, from Titan Peyton Manning to a healthy Carson Palmer.

9. Owner Arthur Blank, coach Dan Quinn, and 17 Falcons players took time to shadow Atlanta police officers on ride-alongs this spring.

10. Five-year Texans safety Andre Hal, currently a free agent, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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THE KICKER

The offseason assignment for new Jet Henry Anderson? "Constantly eating."

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