This was Bill Belichick doing his weekly “Beli-strator” segment on Patriots All Access. (At least it will be until the team scrubs this off the Internet because their videos are available only on their own site.) To me, Beli-strator is appointment TV, even though 90 percent of it is just The Hooded One talking about special teams coverages because he’s not about to give away state secrets just for the sake of local television. But don’t go by me. I’ve got an unhealthy and basically self-destructive obsession with this stuff. Still, this was the best regular season segment he’s ever done. It’s not even close.
Not long ago, Brady said in an interview that the offensive playbook has about 1,000 plays. I assume they have advanced scouts start drawing up a game plan for a particular opponent a couple of weeks in advance. That gets refined as the game approaches. And then it’s up to Josh McDaniels and Belichick to come up with the specific set of plays they want the week of the game, and they tweak it further right up until game time. I guess.
And yet here’s Belichick explaining how in the middle of the game, they ran a play against Houston in Cover-4:
… that Chris Hogan beat with an out route to pick up the first. Then McDaniels overheard Andre Hal and Jonathan Joseph after the play talking about what they’d do if they saw that same look. “I think Hal was telling Joseph that the next time they do this, ‘You’re going to trap, I’m going over the top.’ ” So McDaniels called the same play, only this time with Hogan putting on a double move. “Josh had the foresight, Belichick says “This is really a great coaching move by Josh and the offensive staff – to put in the Out & Go. So here’s Hal going over the top and here’s Joseph trapping:
… But really nobody’s on Hogan on the vertical route.”
And the result?
[h/t to r/Patriots] You can spend thousands on scouting and hundreds of man-hours scheming game plans. But a coach as resourceful and well-trained as McDaniels will overhear two guys talking on the field and draw a play up on the palm of his hand like it’s touch football. Or like Hunt for Red October when the sonar guy says he thinks he found a Russian sub and Scott Glenn tells him, “A $40 million computer tells you you’re chasing an earthquake, but you don’t believe, and you come up with this on your own? Relax, you sold me.”
I’m going to recommend all Patriots fans enjoy this one while they can. Because even if anyone is dumb enough to talk in front of the Pats sideline ever again after this, the NFL will probably ban their coaches from listening. Let’s just hope it doesn’t cost us another draft pick.