By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — For some reason, Cassius Marsh spoke out against the Patriots this week. For some reason, everyone in New England took the bait.READ MORE: Red Sox-Blue Jays Rained Out; Split Doubleheader Wednesday
While the words of someone who spent nine games with the team before getting cut shouldn’t generate much traction at all, the fact is that it’s the middle of summer, and Marsh hit a bull’s-eye on the calendar in terms of getting bang for his Bill Belichick-bashing buck. The man became a story. Good for him.
In the fallout, though, some folks who spent a little more time in New England have come out to say that Marsh is wrong. One of them was two-time Super Bowl champion Deion Branch, and another is former special teams coach Joe Judge, who’s now the head coach of the New York Giants.
Speaking on the “Flying Coach Podcast with Sean McVay and Peter Schraeger,” Judge tackled the topic of whether players have fun in New England. Judge used a story from early in the 2018 season, when the Patriots were still shaking off the sting of the crushing Super Bowl loss to the Eagles while dealing with the likes of Lane Johnson saying the Patriots are a “fear-based organization” and that Patriots players aren’t allowed to have fun. And with a 2-2 start to the 2018 season, it surely wasn’t happy fun time in Foxboro.
But Judge shared a simple story of what Julian Edelman did upon returning from his four-game suspension that year, a story which helps add some depth and understanding to what the Patriots’ culture is really like.
“We came out of that whole deal in ’17 with kind of like the outside, ‘it’s not fun,'” Judge said on the podcast. “I remember Julian, he had a four-game suspension, if you remember, in ’18. I remember he walked in from his suspension, we had this white grease board. And there’s monitors all over the building so you don’t have to write anything. But there’s a white grease board on the wall, blank. And everyone knew who wrote it — you walked in and he wrote, in the middle of the board, ‘Winning Is Fun.’ And it was something I think everyone read as they walked in every day, they knew who it came from: The guy that outworks everybody,the guy who does everything he can to compete and win. And how much this guy loved the game. And he just kind of spread the message to the entire team of kind of like, ‘Hey guys, you want to have fun? Winning is fun. We do everything we can to win here.'”
Judge, who worked with the Patriots from 2012-19 and was a part of all three recent Super Bowl wins, said that Edelman was his favorite player to coach.
“One of my all-time favorite people in the world and all-time favorite player that I’ll ever be around is Edelman. Jules made you a better coach, because every day he challenged you. Every day. Like when you’d walk in to coach him, it was like you were walking in to a fight every day. Like you knew he was going to check you somehow. He made you a better coach,” Judge said. “He wanted you to know that he was an expert in his field and he wanted to make sure you were too.”
“Winning. Is. Fun.” — @edelman11READ MORE: Zach Wilson Not Present As Jets Open Training Camp, As Rookie QB Has Yet To Sign Contract
Joe Judge with an incredible Julian Edelman story, and an answer to anyone who wonders whether it’s “fun” working or playing for the @patriots . @ringer @spotifypodcasts@ringer pic.twitter.com/ax820F0lWB
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) July 14, 2021
As for the notion that working and playing in Foxboro is no fun?
“I’m gonna be honest with you: I had more fun in those eight years than I’ve ever had with the game ever,” Judge said. “It doesn’t mean it’s not tough, it doesn’t mean it’s not demanding. But the team culture in those locker rooms, the enjoyment you genuinely had seeing someone else succeed, the smiles, the hugs. You would think like, what’s the fun of coaching? The fun for me is helping somebody else go out and execute something that they can have success. And those players do everything they’re coached to do. They understand that’s their job. Coaches coach and players play. And they’re fun, and they’re good dudes, and the culture’s good.
“And I know on the outside it’s, hey, it’s doom or gloom, right? But that’s not the reality inside. It’s not. And those guys were tons of fun to coach.”
Judge then indicated that anyone who didn’t have fun in Foxboro might not actually love football.
“Now look, what’s your definition of fun? Do you like football? Do you like competing? Do you like working your butt off every day? Do you like doing everything possible to get the result and are you happy when you get that result and all the work has been poured into it? I think that’s the culture you really want to have,” Judge said. “And it is fun. It’s fun when you love football.”MORE NEWS: Devin McCourty Praises Stephon Gilmore As A Top Cornerback In The NFL
And, of course … it’s fun when you win.