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MMQB - Scouting the Patriots Using Belichick's Book

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This is one of the most interesting football reads I've encountered this year.

Four likes.

 

Much as I hate the Hoodie, fascinating to know his background as the child of a ground-breaking football scout

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Steve did leave some breadcrumbs in his book that are hard to for players to mask even after decades of refinement, though. Brady, for example does at times backpedal just a tad during his drop-back. In Football Scouting Methods, when a passer does that, “They are usually going to throw the ball to the left.” In rewatching Patriots games from this season, I picked 10 randomly selected, non-play action passing plays to the left side and found that seven times, when the receiver appearing to be Brady’s first read was on the left, he tended to backpedal with both shoulders facing the defense just slightly. I compared each pass to a standard drop-back where the intended receiver was on the right or over the middle, and it looked like Brady would settle into a more traditional, one-shoulder forward, sideways drop just a split second quicker.

 

 

This part jumped out at me... Makes sense for a right handed QB to open his shoulders some and back pedal when the 1st read is on the left side. Never thought about it but very interesting

Edited by ddaryl

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1 hour ago, Coach Tuesday said:

Great read. Thanks for posting this. It’s amazing that Steve Belichick was doing, alone and in real time back then, what a cadre of scouts and coaches do after the fact via video today.

Edited by K-9

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

This is one of the most interesting football reads I've encountered this year.

Four likes.

 

Much as I hate the Hoodie, fascinating to know his background as the child of a ground-breaking football scout

RIght.

 

Plus, what it did for me is solidify my belief that football is much more complicated than all of us arm-chair coaches think it is.  I mean, how many of us BEFORE EVERY PLAY is first checking if there's a 1- 2- or 3-deep safety set, checking the defensive formation inside the tackles and making a note of the deployment of the backs?  That's before the play.   Then you have to watch where 22 guys go and note it all.   Who does that?

 

That's why when someone says Tyrod missed this or didn't do that, I don't trust it.   The person who says that here rarely understands everything that was going on in a play.  

 

I'm not criticizing anyone.  I do it too.   We all focus on what we see; my point is that there's a lot that most of us don't see and don't know.  Even watching the all-22, we don't know what each player's assignment was.   

 

Take a guy like Brian Daboll.   He played football in college, which already puts him way ahead of most of us in football knowledge.   For the past 20 years, he's been studying film.   He's survived because he worked at it from day 1,.  He did well enough after a few years in college to get a shot as a defensive coaching assistant at New England.   He was a grunt, and he was breaking down film.   He must have been good at it, because after two years Belichick promoted him.   Then he got some OC jobs, and then Belichick brought him back.  Then Nick Saban hired him; Saban and Belichick are buddies, so you know Belichick told Saban the truth about Daboll and Saban trusted Belichick.

 

All the while, Daboll was studying details like the details described in this article.   He's seeing things, reporting them, and I"m sure eventually making creative suggestions about what to do next.   

 

A guy like that sees detail and has a level of understanding that goes way beyond what I know.   Way beyond.   

 

And, by the way, that's why I think 95% of the discussion here and on television, discussion about this player or that, is pointless.   Winning and losing is not nearly so much about the relative talent of the players - it's about what the coaches know, what they can teach, and what they can create.    The missed tackle that lost the game for the Saints, that wasn't because the guy was a bad player, wasn't talented enough.   It was because he was coached well enough, trained well enough.   Belichick's safety doesn't make that mistake, and I'm happy to say that McDermott's safety doesn't make that mistake, either.  Why not?   Because Belichick, and I think McD, teaches his players situational football.   Belichick's safety is actively aware of several important requirements on that play and executes accordingly.   He knows to do these things, in order of importance:    1.  Don't get beat deep.  2.  Make the tackle.   3.  Don't interfere.   4.  Keep the guy in bounds.   The Saints guy apparently skipped 1 and 2 and made the play as 3 was the most important point.   Well-coached football players don't make that mistake.   It has nothing to do with how good the player is.   Do some players know these things intuitively?   Sure, but most players don't.   They're taught, they're trained and they understand it's their job to execute.  

 

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30 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

Plus, what it did for me is solidify my belief that football is much more complicated than all of us arm-chair coaches think it is.  I mean, how many of us BEFORE EVERY PLAY is first checking if there's a 1- 2- or 3-deep safety set, checking the defensive formation inside the tackles and making a note of the deployment of the backs?  That's before the play.   Then you have to watch where 22 guys go and note it all.   Who does that?

 

Aside: ever read Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off The Ball"?  It's a quick read and no where near sufficient to give one a football education, but along those lines.

I think I've bought 4 or 5 copies over the years and I have zero in my house.  They get borrowed, and they don't come back.

 

It's extremely difficult or impossible to do these checks watching televised football.  Even when they cut to a shot that allows you to see this, it's short and you have to be hyper-focused to see what you need.  You can do it from all-22, but what's amazing is how SB did it from the stands.  He died in 2005.  One wonders, in his earlier career, to what extent BB*** was supported or even directly helped by his father.  But I digress.

 

Anyway, I think you are fundamentally correct that for many people what they say about players is not based on any deep understanding of what's actually going on, and that coaching is important - it's one reason why you can have an OL go from crap one year, to solid or league-leading the next, back to crap as coaches and schemes change.  It's partly whether their physical skills fit the scheme, but also whether they're being properly coached to execute well and how well the rest of the team performs around them.  I thought it was clear this year that there was confusion on many plays between what the OL expected and what Taylor did.

 

Quote

 

And, by the way, that's why I think 95% of the discussion here and on television, discussion about this player or that, is pointless.   Winning and losing is not nearly so much about the relative talent of the players - it's about what the coaches know, what they can teach, and what they can create.    The missed tackle that lost the game for the Saints, that wasn't because the guy was a bad player, wasn't talented enough.   It was because he was coached well enough, trained well enough.   Belichick's safety doesn't make that mistake, and I'm happy to say that McDermott's safety doesn't make that mistake, either.  Why not?   Because Belichick, and I think McD, teaches his players situational football.   Belichick's safety is actively aware of several important requirements on that play and executes accordingly.   He knows to do these things, in order of importance:    1.  Don't get beat deep.  2.  Make the tackle.   3.  Don't interfere.   4.  Keep the guy in bounds.   The Saints guy apparently skipped 1 and 2 and made the play as 3 was the most important point.   Well-coached football players don't make that mistake.   It has nothing to do with how good the player is.   Do some players know these things intuitively?   Sure, but most players don't.   They're taught, they're trained and they understand it's their job to execute.  

 

 

Williams is a stand-up guy taking it on himself, but I think his coaches may in fact have stressed 3. Don't Interfere and 4. Keep the guy in bounds and he was doing what he was coached.  I also think he had no idea what kind of vertical leap he was facing.

 

Though to my eyes there is a sad dearth of teaching fundamental tackling skills in the NFL these days.  Guys go for the big showy hit or to knock the ball out, instead of the wrap-and-smother.

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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13 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Aside: ever read Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off The Ball"?  It's a quick read and no where near sufficient to give one a football education, but along those lines.

I think I've bought 4 or 5 copies over the years and I have zero in my house.  They get borrowed, and they don't come back.

 

It's extremely difficult or impossible to do these checks watching televised football.  Even when they cut to a shot that allows you to see this, it's short and you have to be hyper-focused to see what you need.  You can do it from all-22, but what's amazing is how SB did it from the stands.  He died in 2005.  One wonders, in his earlier career, to what extent BB*** was supported or even directly helped by his father.  But I digress.

 

Anyway, I think you are fundamentally correct that for many people what they say about players is not based on any deep understanding of what's actually going on, and that coaching is important - it's one reason why you can have an OL go from crap one year, to solid or league-leading the next, back to crap as coaches and schemes change.  It's partly whether their physical skills fit the scheme, but also whether they're being properly coached to execute well and how well the rest of the team performs around them.  I thought it was clear this year that there was confusion on many plays between what the OL expected and what Taylor did.

 

 

Williams is a stand-up guy taking it on himself, but I think his coaches may in fact have stressed 3. Don't Interfere and 4. Keep the guy in bounds and he was doing what he was coached.  I also think he had no idea what kind of vertical leap he was facing.

 

Though to my eyes there is a sad dearth of teaching fundamental tackling skills in the NFL these days.  Guys go for the big showy hit or to knock the ball out, instead of the wrap-and-smother.

Thanks.   Good stuff.  

 

I think after the game Williams said something about avoiding the interference call.   That means he was focused on the wrong thing, and I agree that's a coaching problem.  

 

To me, the most amazing thing about the INT Butler got win the Super Bowl against the Seahawks was not that Seattle didn't run Marshawn.   It was that during the week the Patriots coaches told Butler that on the goal line in that formation the Seahawks will run that inside slant play.   He was told that the most important thing was that he could not let the receiver get inside position on him - he had to step up soon enough so that he'd have a play on the ball.    Seahawks come out in the formation, and then it was a simple matter of executing.   

 

As I said, Belichick's safety knows his job and makes the play against the Vikings.   And if Gregg Williams was still the DC at New Orleans, the Saints safety makes the right play.   Micah Hyde makes the right play.   It's about being taught and playing within yourself. 

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There was a play last Sunday where Gronk was at the HB position and then motioned to the left and made a move up field and didn't not set before the ball was snapped. I cannot believe a officiating crew could possibly miss that. 

 

Ive looked all over the internet for the footage, but I cannot find it. 

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