Bill Belichick is indisputably football’s best coach – at any level. By all accounts, Belichick is a tireless worker who schemes, prepares, instructs, and does just about anything you could possibly ask from a coach better than anyone else right now. Heck, there’s a strong case that Belichick is the G.O.A.T., even if he walked away tomorrow. So when that guy speaks, we listen.
Here are some of the highlights from Belichick’s press conference, along with some additional thoughts and commentary from yours truly.
A View From 30,000 Feet
It’s easy to lose some of your team’s strengths in the wake of a bitter defeat, so let Coach Belichick remind you of the good things the Bears have done to get to 3-2.
“This has been a really impressive team to watch. Obviously, a team we don’t know very well and a lot of changes since the last time we saw them, even in practice a couple of years ago. Changes on the coaching staff, a lot of changes on the players, but playing very well. They’re really a good defensive team, take the ball away, powerful up front, a lot of good, smart coverage players. They’re sound, they give you a lot of different looks, they’re hard to prepare for, and they got a lot of good players. … They can move the ball in a hurry, score points, play defense, strong in the kicking game. They’re at the to p of the league in a lot of categories and I can see why. It’s really a solid team in all three areas across the board.”
While we are inclined to take the kind things Belichick says about the Bears with a grain of salt because his words could simply be professional courtesy, but there is no denying the truths in Belichicks points. Save for the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, the Bears have been a strong defensively. The Bears have 14 takeaways, which puts them tied for the third most in the NFL. Their 10 interceptions in five games are tied for the second most in the league and two more than they had in 2017 or 2016 when the Bears were able to come away with just eight picks. The offense has shown a quick strike ability, and if it wasn’t for Cody Parkey’s kicks in Week 3, the Bears would enter this matchup with a 2-3 record.
The Mack Factor
So Belichick won’t put Khalil Mack on Lawrence Taylor’s level. Fair enough. But if you hear Belichick talk about what the Bears’ top pass-rusher brings to the table, you can understand why some would be willing to talk about Mack in that way.
“He gets after everybody. He’s a very disruptive player, so he turns it over on sacks, strip-sacks, fumbles, tipped balls, interceptions. He’s a really strong run player, a good pass rusher, he’s good speed, he’s got power. He’s very aware and instinctive. So yeah, he does more than sack the quarterback.”
Belichick knows Mack is a load to handle, but this isn’t his first rodeo in trying to keep an elite pass-rusher on his heels. Mack has played two games against the Patriots, the most recent coming in 2017 when he recorded a sack, three quarterback hits, and a tackle-for-loss in a 33-8 home loss for the Raiders.
The Bears Offense Sounds Like Exactly What Bears Fans Wanted Coming into the Year
Look, the Bears aren’t turning into the reincarnation of the Greatest Show on Turf overnight. But if you hear Belichick speak on it, it sounds like the Bears offense is what fans were hoping it would be after watching the last three years.
“They get the ball to a lot of different guys. It’s not just one guy. They get good production from all guys in all different groups, so that makes it hard. And the quarterback is a very productive guy, too … throwing and running, He’s a very athletic guy. He chews up a lot of yards when he scrambles, if he needs a scramble. He can scramble to extend plays, but he can scramble to run.”
Belichick’s description of the Bears offense is nothing near how he (or any of us) would have described last year’s offense. There are various pieces worth targeting and throwing to and this quarterback he speaks of sounds like he is having a delightful season.
Some Love for Taylor Gabriel
It sounds like back-to-back 100-yard receiving games have put Taylor Gabriel at the top of the Patriots scouting report.
“Gabriel … he’s very fast, but he’s good at a lot of things. It’s not just speed. He’s good after the catch, he’s a good route runner, he’s quick, a very explosive guy. He’s made a couple of tough catches, too. I’d say balls that are hard in traffic, had to extend for them, really lay out, good hands-catches, those kinds of things. He’s been impressive.”
Gabriel has grown into one of Mitch Trubisky’s favorite targets, so you can expect Belichick to try and slow that down.
On Being the Measuring Stick
Is Sunday’s game just one of 16 regular-season contests? Yes. But when Belichick treats every game with the same high-level of importance, you can see why teams view games against New England with an elevated sense of awareness. Not that it bothers Belichick in the slightest.
“I don’t really worry about the other teams. I worry about our team. I want to try to get our team ready to go on Sunday. That’s our goal this week. I’m sure the Bears will be ready to go. I’m sure they’ll play well. We expect them to play their best game and they probably will. And that’s so what we’re getting ready for. We expect the team to play their best game every week, why would you think anything else? That’s what this league is. It’s about competition.”
Well said, coach.
You can watch Belichick’s full press conference here: