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Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Belichick the mastermind

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Take the Patriots for example. They traded Randy Moss earlier this year and everyone thought their passing game would incinerate. "Who is going to stretch the field?" people asked. "Tom Brady doesn't have anyone to throw to!" everyone quipped.

But as usual, Bill Belichick was 34 steps ahead of everyone and already knew how the Pats would survive without Moss. He knew that Brady had already completed 72.2% of his passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns out of the two-tight end set and that his offense would run smoothly as long as Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski continued to develop. Sure, the approach would change but that didn't mean it wouldn't be effective.

Belichick also knew what kind of connection Brady had with Deion Branch, which is why he traded for his former player (how is it that the Patriots always get the player they're targeting in trades? It's unbelievable.) to help cope with losing Moss. And how crazy is it that Branch has emerged as a playmaker again while Moss is now trapped in NFL obscurity?

Actually, "crazy" isn't the right word. Crazy would indicate that Belichick was fortunate that everything played out the way it did when he duped the Vikings into taking a useless Moss off his hands. But he wasn't fortunate at all. He had a game plan and as usual, he executed it to perfection.

People still bring up Spygate and use it as a way to undermine Belichick's status as a genius. But these are the facts: Pre-Spygate, Belichick was 87-39 (.690 winning percentage). Post-Spygate, he's 49-15 (.766 winning percentage).

What Belichick and his crew did was wrong, but he doesn't need tape of the opponents' practices to beat them. And to prove it, he's dominating his competition this year with perhaps the least talented New England team we've seen in a while.

Take a peak at the Patriots' roster and then look me in the eye and tell me they're 41 points better than the Jets and 29 points better than the Bears. You can't. Somehow, despite a roster mostly devoid of superstars aside from Brady, the Patriots are still crushing opponents on a weekly basis.

That's a testament to Belichick, who has always held the same philosophy and that is: the players don't matter, the schemes do. He knows his game plans and schemes work, so it's just a matter of plugging the players in and being patient until they catch up. It took a while for everyone to believe that this New England team is elite but now there's no question. And they're great because Belichick makes them great.

So while the players change, the system stays the same. Belichick is still a mastermind. He still knows how to get the most out of the players he puts on the field and he's still the best at making in-game adjustments. He also has a future Hall of Fame quarterback and an offensive line that has finally started to gel again. You can't overlook those two factors when it comes to discussing the Pats' success over the past month.

In the end though, Belichick is the reason New England continues to dominate despite their seemingly lack of talent. He's just that good.

By Anthony Stalter  |  December 14, 2010; 1:28 PM ET  | Category:  AFC , NFL , New England Patriots , Tom Brady Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: George Young's lesson | Next: Patriots are peerless

Comments

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Finally, a non-hateful article on Belichick. Good to see a journalist who doesn't just write a negative piece because the guy doesn’t give a good quote.

Posted by: mandm14 | December 14, 2010 4:08 PM

Yes, sir - IN BILL WE TRUST

Posted by: roverboy | December 14, 2010 7:40 PM

He's good at teaching defense. The beginning of the season was a horror show to watch, but now they're making stops, inercepting passes for TDs, etc.

Posted by: schafer-family | December 14, 2010 8:20 PM

News flash: Spygate wasn't about taping practices, it was about in-game signals. If you're going to reference history, at least know what you're talking about.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | December 14, 2010 8:31 PM

As a long time Jets Fan I should launch on this guy but I can't...I can't help but admire the guy even though he left us. That I blame on Parcell's

I still want to beat him though.

Nice article

Posted by: D-Man1 | December 17, 2010 12:51 PM

CHARLESBAKERHARRIS,

Thanks for the comment. I always appreciate smugness when it's hardly warranted.

Nearly six months after the incident, the Boston Herald reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Patriots had also videotaped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002, an allegation denied by Belichick. Meanwhile, Matt Walsh, a Patriots video assistant in 2001 who was fired after the team's 2002 season, told the media the same week that he had information and materials regarding the Patriots' videotaping practices, but demanded an indemnity agreement before speaking with the NFL.

Spygate wasn't just about videotaping the Jets' signals. That may have brought the Belichick-cheating scandal to the surface but he was also accused of videotaping the Pats' practices and that's where my reference came from.

If you're going to reference history, at least know what you're talking about.

Posted by: AnthonyStalter | December 18, 2010 11:20 AM

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