Bill Belichick Talking About New England Patriots Practice
Bill Belichick has little patience for the media. There is no such thing as a “smart” question if that question was hurled by a reporter.
The Patriots coach got a few of those questions after the team’s final preseason game in which Tom Brady played the entire first half. Belichick doesn’t like his decisions called into question by guys and gals with notepads and deadlines. But he had to answer for leaving Brady exposed to injury in a game that was meaningless.
“You can’t take insurance out on players,” Belichick said. “You play football; you play football. I don’t know how you get better at playing football without playing football. You stand around and talk about it all day; I don’t think that really makes you a better player. At some point, you’ve got to get out there and play.”
While it may seem insane to outsiders to take a chance with the most important player on the team in a preseason game, it was a no-brainer to Bill Belichick. And by the way, anyone who isn’t on the field for the daily grind on a football team, is indeed an outsider. No way even the most deeply embedded beat writer can feel what it’s like to be an active player or coach.
From the outside, we all want the biggest NFL stars to stay completely healthy all year long. That way the best can compete against the best. It’ll be no fun watching Aaron Rodgers versus Minnesota’s QB2 twice this year in divisional play, now that Teddy Bridgewater is out for the year.
And no one wants to see Jimmy Garoppolo go past game four, due to Tom Brady getting hurt in a preseason game. Maybe Garoppolo turns into a star in a couple of years, but for now, we’ll take Tom Brady, thank you very much.
But on the inside of a football team, it is much different than on the set of ESPN where former players fill up hours talking about the risks of preseason and leaving starters in games that have turned into blowouts.
You don’t want the head coach taking wild risks with cornerstones of the franchise of course. But the bottom line is that the game of football is dangerous and can’t be micromanaged to the point where protecting the players becomes detrimental to their performance.
Belichick is right. “You get better at football by playing football.”
You get better by practice.
So yes, we’re talking about practice. And as funny a sound bite as that will forever be, thanks to Allen Iverson, practice is what makes NFLers able to do what they do on game day.
Dragging that toe on the sideline on a fourth quarter drive isn’t magic, even though Antonio Brown makes it look that way. That brilliant effort was repeated hundreds of times in training camp and in the weeks leading up to game time.
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t just get lucky with 75-yard bombs, even though those plays have a low success rate for even the best QB in the game. The guy practices those Hail Marys all the time.
Von Miller doesn’t embarrass All-Pro quarterbacks just by being tenacious. He practices his craft. He has a feel for how to capture a big strong quarterback like Cam Newton. That feel doesn’t come from chatting about it at the barber shop with the fellas. It comes from working on his game, both on the field and in the film room.
The reason Rich Eisen and Scott Van Pelt can’t drag their toe in the end zone or throw a tight spiral is because they don’t practice football. They simply talk about it, just as Bill Belichick said.
In today’s fast-paced world, we all want a quick fix. We want a pill to make us lose that 40 pounds. And a five minute Youtube video should turn us into a Maytag repairmen, right? We want the easy way to learning something.
But the truth is the only way to get really good at anything is to get involved with it and PRACTICE!
Football is inherently risky, so there is no fool proof approach. Any play can end the season for a guy, no matter if it’s a preseason game, a playoff game, or even a practice drill.
Trust me; Bill Belichick knows how to approach the game of football and he knows how crucial it is to have Tom Brady healthy for the regular season. The coach also knows that Brady is a football player. And football players need practice, so that’s what he gave his star in a meaningless game last night.
You can see Belichick’s entire postgame press conference here. Notice his heart rate has to be at about 22 beats per minute. Dude goes into comatose mode for these pressers that he despises.
Here’re some other real “insights” from the coach:
When asked about upcoming prep for the season:
– “Doing the best we can do.”
– “I don’t know what else we can do.”
– “Lot of challenges.”
When asked about Garoppolo’s willingness to take a hit:
– “This isn’t baseball.”
When asked how he was going to feel during the season opener with it being the first meaningful game without Brady in eight years:
– “I don’t know.”
When asked about Brady playing with random players in this final preseason game and if that could actually benefit him:
– “I don’t know. Good question to ask him.”
Practice makes perfect when it comes to dealing with the media too.