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Doug Farrar
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Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

QB's Close, but Coach's the One

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What's interesting about Belichick, Brady and Moss is that they were all redemption projects at one time or another. Belichick was a failed coach in Cleveland and the guy who turned down the Jets' offer to be Bill Parcells' successor at, literally, the last minute. Brady was a wash at the Combine -- to this day, the 40 he ran in Indianapolis is used to present high comedy and a bit of good-natured mortality when his more recent near-perfection is discussed. And Moss was an absolute bust in Oakland. This is not to say that anyone couldn't be a bust in Oakland at this point, but more had always been expected of Moss and his extreme talent.

The common denominator, and the architect of the only true dynasty of the salary cap era, is the indispensable one. Brady is the best quarterback in the game, but it doesn't matter how good you are as a quarterback -- if there's an average team around you, you'll eventually gasp for air like John Elway did in his first three Super Bowls. It took the construction of a team around Elway to get him those rings at the end of his career.

People talk about the greatness of Brett Favre's Packers at their peak and the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf, but it wasn't until those wonderful offenses had killer defenses that they were able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. And one of the reasons Brady is great is because he can do what he does with receivers who have a tenth of Moss's talent.

That's why Belichick is the indispensable one. He's the one who took a team in the throes of salary cap death, signed up 21 new free agents, drafted that nobody of a quarterback, and created a culture that facilitated a 21-game winning streak and the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history. He's also the one that stooped to various levels of chicanery to make it all work, but there's only so much Spygate could have done. You still have to get it done on the field.

Without Belichick, Brady may never have been given the chance to reach his potential. And Moss would not have had one of the most impressive career rebirths in the league's history. That's why, when all is said and done, I'm convinced that Belichick is the indispensable part of the machinery.

By Doug Farrar  |  September 9, 2008; 2:19 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Attended the Pat's game on Sunday and saw TB get hurt. Afterwards, with only two exceptions, Cassell made all the throws that he needed to make. I wasn't thrilled with his ball-handling/handoffs and there were times this may have put the run game off-sync. Cassell will not have the same field processing skill/speed that TB possess. Who does? Its a short list that begins and ends with Peyton. I am expecting the Pat's to run the ball down people's throats with Maroney, Morris and Lamont Jordan, throw off of play action, take advantage of Cassell's mobility to move the pocket and give him a bit more read time. Sammy Morris/Kevin Faulk will rip up the Jets on blitzs where Cassell has a relief outlets setup with blocks. Keep underestimating us folks and come in hyper aggressive. LaMont/Maroney will break at least one play each on a delay draw on longish yardage.

Posted by: hswiseman | September 9, 2008 10:34 AM

What nonsense. Belichik was a failure before Brady and will be a failure again without him. He got lucky with a 6th round pick and people made him out to be a coaching god (if he really knew how great Brady was he would ahve drafted him earlier).

The team struggled against one of the worst int he league after Brady left and they will be lucky to go 8-8 this year.

Posted by: Avi | September 9, 2008 11:46 AM

I for one go with the coach concept of making a team great. A single player can be great and not have the surrounding team well coached to win trophies. Witness Dan Marino. In a more recent example, I reference Nolan of the 49ers who went with Alex Smith with a #1 draft choice. Thrown into the fray and not good coaching (or bad selection) Smith after 3 years may be looking for a new team this year. Smith in college was in a spread offense and probably was not well coached in a pro offense. Now, Nolan could have selected Rodgers of Green Bay at the time. He was well coached in pro style offense at Cal. At Green Bay he understudied Favre, and is now their QB after 3 years like Smith. I predict Rodgers will be great at Green Bay and Smith, unless rehabilitated at another team, will be gone from the Pros. Coaching made the differences with these 2 players. If Rodgers were coached at New England he would have been another Brady.

Posted by: Fred-Palm Desert | September 9, 2008 1:09 PM

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