As a former top front office man for two AFC teams for more than a decade, Mike Tannenbaum very well knew how it was to compete and struggle against the New England Patriots. Tannenbaum worked as general manager of the New York Jets for seven years and four years as executive vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins. During his time with the Jets and Dolphins, Tannenbaum had first-hand experience on how to deal with the Patriots, the perennial kings of the AFC East in the past 20 years and six-time Super Bowl champions.

“Every team has its challenges. Ours, with the Dolphins and Jets, just happened to be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick,” Tannenbaum said in an interview with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Actually, Tannenbaum’s teams had several successes against the Patriots’ dynasty. In 2010, the Jets defeated the Patriots in a Divisional Round game in Gillette Stadium while his Dolphins won three of their last four against the Patriots in Miami, including last year’s surprise victory, dubbed as “Miami Miracle.” Aside from that, it was all failure as the Patriots continued to exert domination over their AFC East rivals.

Tannenbaum lauds Patriots way of filling needs

According to Tannenbaum, he admires a lot of things about the Patriots program, but he was amazed at how head coach Bill Belichick fills the team’s needs from within, with players who are not necessarily household names. “Their player development was just really good. And guys that nobody talked about in training camp were meaningful contributors toward the end of the season,” said Tannenbaum. Also, Tannenbaum said the Patriots obtained a significant advantage over fellow AFC East teams from the new practice rules established under the 2011 collective bargaining agreement because of their continuity.

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The new practice rules state shortened the offseason program by five weeks, two-a-days were removed, and full-contact practices were reduced significantly. Tannenbaum said the Patriots’ continuity strengthens their advantage because of the number of reps they had over their AFC East rivals. Tannenbaum said the Jets, Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills always begin from zero every time they hire a new coach, front office personnel, or quarterback, while the Patriots have Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and other coaches such as Josh McDaniels, Nick Caserio and Dante Scarnecchia for a long time.

Tannenbaum admires Belichick’s style

Also, Tannenbaum praised Belichick for doing an incredible job in breaking down complex information to simple instructions, especially during their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Tannenbaum also lauded the Patriots and Belichick for doing their homework in selecting N’Keal Harry as the No. 32 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. So far, Harry has been impressive in the Patriots’ offseason training activities.

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