Brandon Brooks liked playing football for Gary Kubiak. He didn’t like playing football for Bill O’Brien. That much is now clear. Journalism was archaeology yesterday during Eagles’ OTA media interviews when this information was unearthed. Since the Eagles overthrew the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, one of the uprisings in football has been criticizing the Patriots. Playing for the Patriots sucks, nobody likes it, and they take the FUN out of football. Lane Johnson said so. Cassius Marsh recently said so. During such a discussion, Brooks said something similar when comparing Houston’s culture to New England.
REPORTER: Cassius Marsh come out and said it’s no fun to play for the Patriots …
BROOKS: It’s crazy that people haven’t known this. It’s been this way for like a decade. You’ve seen— Reggie Wayne did it. He retired. He went there for a training camp and retired. Shit is not fun there. I was under the same regime in Houston. I almost retired. Shit was miserable, every day. Every day.
BROOKS: You see this in here, man? How we’re all hanging out? The game room in there? There’s none of that, man. It’s like you just come in and be a robot.
BLG: Where’s that coming from? Is someone telling you to be like that or is it just the atmosphere?
BROOKS: It’s just the atmosphere.
BLG: It’s just accepted? It’s just how it is?
BROOKS: I’ll put it this way. I was going into my third year in Houston. O’Brien had just come in. And, you know, players who’ve made Pro Bowls, All-Pro [teams], whatever, they had their pictures on the wall and stuff. It was down the hallway as you go to lunch, you get to see how the players handle their business. When he came in, man, all those pictures were taken down. TVs in the cafeteria were off. He would never tell you what to say to the media, but he would always be like, ‘I can’t tell you what to say to the media. But some things that you might want to mention is like: I’m here to do my job. Stuff like that. You know what I mean? So eventually you get the same answers from all of the guys, you start realizing what’s going on.
BLG: Kind of sucks, right?
BROOKS: It’s just tough to go to work everyday where, obviously everybody has a different personality, but you can’t be who you are.
BLG: So it’s like they’re not even treating you like adults?
JOHNSON (jumping in): Well, I feel like they have a recipe for success that’s worked for so long, so, keep it at that. They do what they do though.
REPORTER: Does it make you appreciate more being here and seeing how this organization is run and the fun they let you have?
BROOKS: I came in [as a rookie] under [Gary] Kubiak, who was just an older version of Doug [Pederson], then I went to O’Brien, who was Belichick, and then I came back to Doug, who’s like Kubes, so for me, man, shit was great. Like, I cannot tell you how much better this is than it was down there. Like, it’s just night and day. (Asking Lane) What does [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] say? Happy workers make more productive workers. When you’re not having fun, man, those grinding, those hard-ass nosed days …
JOHNSON (jumping in): All the media wants to talk about is rings. Rings. I’m going to get this ring and never wear it one day. I’m going to put it away in a box. The only thing you’re going to remember from your playing days, you’re not going to remember the scores. You’re going to remember the people you played with and how you felt. And that’s the truth.
BROOKS: All the funny shit that happens on the field in the games, man.
JOHNSON: All these guys talking about ‘I’ll take the rings.’ OK. You can have your rings. You can also have f***ing 15 miserable years.
BLG: So why do you think it is like that? Why isn’t it more like here elsewhere?
BROOKS: Because it’s won them rings, so people think that’s what it is. I mean, not to even talk about the Cowboys, because obviously we’re in Philly, but when the Cowboys were winning, they didn’t have, you know, poster boys. They had some dudes who were going out there having a lot of fun. And still winning games. But you know, that was their recipe. Obviously the Patriots have theirs. It’s just the Patriots is what’s in your face. They’ve been in your face for the last, what, eight years? 10 years? When they were winning, so.
One of the things I have often wondered is why the Texans signed the sloppy and hook-wormed ridden Jeff Allen over Brandon Brooks. The Eagles signed Brooks for five years and $40 million. The Texans then signed Allen for four years and $28 million. Both players are similar ages. Houston saved one-year and one million dollars a year by making that decision and signed the lesser player. Brooks is a top five guard. Allen is one of the worst guards in the league.
One of the theories at the time was that the Texans were worried about Brandon Brooks’s anxiety issues. He missed games because of stomach issues linked to game day. This was something I never bought. Brooks missed four games during his time in Houston and has since missed only two games in Philadelphia.
It’s now apparent that it wasn’t a football scouting or injury decision. Brooks just didn’t want to play in Houston.
It seems strange for Brooks to criticize the culture in Houston, because players have frequently said they enjoyed playing for Bill O’Brien. Most of the distaste from players came from how Rick Smith communicated with the players themselves and Bob McNair’s comments. O’Brien, of course, is far from perfect. During his tenure in Houston, there have been reports about him getting in altercations with quarterbacks and arguing with management.
What this looks like is a player not gelling with the culture of a franchise. This happens. We all mesh differently and prefer different styles. All this disclosure from Brooks has done is answered a very important question—why the Texans ended up with Allen instead of Brooks. The reason why was the head coach.