“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” [Wes] Welker says. “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?” Sports Illustrated, August 12, 2013
BILL LITTLEFIELD on Keeping Perspective
Wes Welker’s said coach Belichick is less than what he seems;
That he is not perhaps the coach of every player’s dreams.
And Patriots, like other players, sometimes drink and drive.
They act like idiots sometimes and do not always strive
In ways to make their fans as proud as ever they could be,
(And one, in fact, may be in jail ’til he is eighty-three).
The fault is not with Belichick, who’s no more than a man,
And shouldn’t be expected to do more than mortals can.
For coaches, even Belichick, the thoroughly desired,
Are all the same in one respect: They’re hired to get fired.
The fault is with the folks who’ve said no matter what, we must
In Belichick, the great and mighty, always place our trust;
For all the wins and all the grand mystique the coach now claims,
My friends, he is a coach. That’s all. His work is only games.
GREGG EASTERBROOK on Getting Offensive
Bill Belichick makes a surprising number of questionable moves — first-round draft choices who were disappointments (Brandon Meriweather, Laurence Maroney), free-agency mistakes (Wes Welker is likely to be seen as one), and there was that Spygate business. Then consider the numbers — 170-64, his regular- and post-season career record with the Patriots, and three, his Super Bowl rings.
Belichick has more career victories (207) than any other active NFL coach, more wins with the same team than any active NFL coach. His 18-8 post-season record not only is best among active coaches, it’s also better than most coaches in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Belichick’s ethics leave something to be desired — troubling because NFL figures are role models for young people. His open contempt for the sports press is puzzling, given that the sports press has helped make him a multimillionaire. Maybe he’s just an ungrateful, heartless SOB. But he sure can run a football team.
What’s interesting about Belichick at this point is his conversion from defense-minded to obsessed with offense. Sometimes public figures make 180-degree conversions — noted education researcher Diane Ravitch flipped from right to left in the public schools debate, for example. In football terms, Belichick’s flip from defense to offense is as striking.
As an assistant with the Giants and Jets, and as head coach of the Browns, he focused on building a power defense that could win a low-scoring game. In recent years, he’s focused on offense, becoming the most pass-wacky head coach since Don “Air” Coryell. The Patriots set the NFL season scoring record in 2007, then led the league in scoring in 2012 while setting the league season record for first downs. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ defense has been bad to awful — 25th in 2012, 31st in 2011.
For years, stat mavens have said that since NFL teams average around 3 more yards per pass attempt than per rush attempt, they should throw more often. In recent years, Belichick has taken that to heart. (Other coaches have, too — check the stats of the Lions and Saints.) Belichick saw the effects of no-huddle tactics in college football and realized it meant the offense could stage more plays, and more plays equates to more yards. He saw that rules changes involving the pass rush and pass coverage were shifting the advantage to the offense. Last season in the NCAA, a battle of quick-snap versus pass-wacky resulted in a final score of Oregon 62, USC 51. Neither defense was effective. If the opponent can score 51, Belichick seems to have realized, your team better be able to get to 62.
Since the national sport of New England is psychoanalyzing Belichick, let me offer the Sigmund Freud explanation for his shift toward favoring offense. Defense is about preventing what the other guy wants to do; offense is about controlling the action, through execution and game planning. Belichick is a control freak: The football gods always wanted him to be an offensive mind.
ARMOND COLOMBO on Weathering the Haters
The more success you have, the more people want to criticize you. They find ways to detract from the success you’ve had. I have great respect for the way Belichick coaches and the way he handles himself. In the history of NFL coaches, he is one of the best, if not the best.Continued...