Advertisement

Steve Belichick Practically Gave a TED Talk on How His New WRs Have Helped Him Learn Teams Attack His Own Defense and it was More Than His Father Has Said in 21 Years

Speaking as someone who has spent the better part of his adult life trying to explore the seemingly infinite space inside Bill Belichick's expansive mind, insights are very hard to come by. The man himself is either not forthcoming, or when on the rare occasions he does peel back the layers of his brain onion, what he offers up can be confoundingly complex. Like listening to Stephen Hawking trying to explain advanced quantum theories on the fabric of spacetime. Only with an even more robotic voice. 

In fact, I've long held that you can learn more about Belichick's schemes, concepts, philosophies and nomenclature from others than you ever will from him. People who have worked with him and are better communicators, more able to present his ideas in a way us great uneducated masses can process in our feeble brains. His Neil DeGrasse Tysons, if you will. Nick Saban has been a great resource on this, with hours of coaching clinics he's done that are available online, where he explains the approaches that he and Belichick developed together in Cleveland in the 1990s and beyond. 

Advertisement

Well someone's discovered another source for information on how the Belichick Brain works. The other Belichick. And I could listen Steve talk about his approach to understanding his own defense all day long. 

Source - Steve Belichick seems to love to learn from his players. …

With the Patriots bringing in free-agent receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne this offseason, Belichick shared his memory of chatting with Agholor one morning to collect as much intel as he could about how the receiver, who has played for the Las Vegas Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles, has attacked New England’s defense. Belichick had a lot to say.

“Me and Nelson ran into each other early in the morning with our routine,” Belichick told Patriots Wire on Tuesday, “and we had about 10, 15 free minutes to just kind of talk to each other: What he saw, what the challenges were (the Raiders’) offense had coming into the game, what challenges changed within the game, what they were trying to attack, what worked with their attack plan, what we did to try to (do). We don’t know what the game plan’s going to be going into the game. We can guess on stuff and we can chase some ghosts, but sometimes, what do we want to take away? And if we take that away, what are they going to do? Did they attack a player? Did they attack the scheme? Did they attack — just, what were they thinking? And going back to the point before, there’s no one right way or one wrong way to do it. How that team attacked us is different than how Kendrick’s former team attacked us.

“So just hearing different perspectives and learning about that, I obviously come from one tree, one branch, so just (learning about) those two different offenses and the pieces that those guys had and how they used those.  …

"I’m not going to try to change everything I do based on what Nelson thinks, but it’s good to listen to that stuff. It’s good to gain knowledge. Every player looks at the game just a little bit differently, so maybe I could take some nuggets here and there from what I get from those guys. …

“And then applying that to offense and how different linemen block, how interior linemen play, how tackles play, how tight ends play. Running backs. …  Then you move out to the receivers, and then there’s all those guys.  …

“I think that especially linebackers, working with these guys specifically right now and back when I worked with the safeties, I try and look at it as being a football player, not being a strong safety or a left outside linebacker or an off-the-ball Mike linebacker. You’ve got to be able to play in the kicking game, which means you’ve got to be able to play in space, which means you can adjust where you play, but the level that you play on — whether you’re the front line in kickoff return or a gunner out in space or vice and double vice … — all that stuff, I try and relate to it so that I can coach football.

“There are obviously specific techniques that fall into certain buckets, like outside linebackers don’t need to play half the field like Dev does, but they do need to play out in space. There’s a lot of similarities between those and concepts and how to see the game. With Dev, we always talked about how he’s got 21 guys in front of him. And they’re not always at the point of attack, but he doesn’t know when they’re going to be at the point of attack, so there’s that element of seeing what’s in front of you. It’s the same idea with a quarterback — how the quarterbacks see those 21 guys.

“I just like football, just like seeing the game. There’s no one way to do it."

Yowza. Pardon the long excerpt. But believe me, click the link and you'll see for yourself that what I gave you was the Fun Size candy Halloween portion to the luxury cruise ship chocolate bar Steve Belichick served up. But you get the gist. How he's never, ever, not looking for a resource who can help him improve his methods and get his defense to perform at maximum efficiency. And everyone who passes through his locker room is an asset to help him achieve that goal. 

The thing about it is, he has his critics. People who say he hasn't earned it. That he just has the (defacto) coordinators job through nepotism. And who argue that if Belichick the Elder was really serious about winning instead of handing out jobs to family members, he'd have brought in some veteran coach who's been fired from other teams, doesn't understand his concepts, and would want to do things his own way instead of the way that's won eight Super Bowls. As opposed to, I don't know, the son who's been raised like a thoroughbred in this system. And who has been trained since the delivery room to think the way his father does. And the way his father's father raised his own son. Which worked out rather well, one can argue. 

The only thing that surprises me isn't that Belichick the Younger was this expansive in his answer. It's the fact that by the time he got to about the end of the second paragraph, that the Jaguars didn't fire Urban Meyer and offer him a 5-year contract. It's going to happen soon enough.