Armstrong knows what it's like to lose a superstar teammate: The former NBA guard was on Michael Jordan's great Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s and stayed with the squad during the 1993-94 season when Jordan retired (for the first time) to play professional baseball.
So, how should the Patriots approach their first season without Brady? Here's Armstrong's advice based on his experience during that first season without Jordan.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) May 19, 2020
"The one thing that we continued to focus on when Michael Jordan left is the fundamentals of the game," Armstrong told NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday following the final episodes of "The Last Dance," ESPN's documentary series on Jordan and the Bulls.
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"We knew we were a good team. We knew we had good players, and we just knew that we weren't going to have that one player to bail us out like a Michael Jordan. So, we continued to focus on the fundamentals, we continued to focus in on the things that good teams do.
"We had to defend, we had to do all of the things to keep us as a unit because Michael Jordan -- (there were) so many times he could bail us out. We didn't have that player."
Armstrong's advice should encourage Patriots fans: Perhaps New England's players will be even more attentive to details and fundamentals knowing they can't rely on Brady to lead them on a game-winning drive. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick harps on "doing your job" anyway, so this shouldn't be an issue in Foxboro.
That approach worked for the 1993-94 Bulls: They finished with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and advanced to Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs thanks to strong seasons from Scottie Pippen and Armstrong, who earned the only All-Star nod of his career.
You could argue the Patriots don't have as much surrounding talent as that Bulls team, which was coming off three straight NBA titles. (With due respect to second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, he's no Pippen.)
But New England will have a chip on its shoulder and a realization that it will need to work even harder to achieve success. Perhaps that hard work will pay off.
Ex-Michael Jordan teammate has good advice for post-Tom Brady Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston