In an ongoing series, FPC Raiders looks at the New England Patriots. From the outset of any season, the Patriots remain the odds-on favorite in the AFC. With that said, the Raiders could see them in the playoffs. Today, we will look at Bill Belichick. Like it or not, Belichick will be remembered as the best coach to roam the sideline. Typing those words hurt. Yet, they remain true.
In the NFL, the term genius is bandied about like a beach ball. However, the title fits Belichick perfectly. While part of intellect is actual intelligence, Belichick takes things a step further. He applies his decades of knowledge into workable schemes on both sides of the ball. In addition, where he wins is the mental edge over some coaches. If you hear certain teams talk, their tone changes. Unfortunately, the Patriots remain the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Luckily, for the Raiders, Jon Gruden roams the sidelines. Unlike most coaches who bow and kiss the ring, Gruden wants that ring. Bill Belichick owns seven of them. With the Giants, he schemes one of the most dominant defenses ever. Meanwhile, Gruden is an offensive mind with the temerity to think he can defeat the Patriots. If you look at the Patriots’ losses, the opposing coaches appear unaffected by the aura. All Gruden has to do is construct a sound scheme, loaded with adjustments and forget the other sideline.
Despite Belichick’s icy approach and mannerisms, he fully understands what works. That is to say, he has no issue with delegating playcalling. While some coaches extend those rights out of unfamiliarity with one side, Belichick lets his coordinators see the plan through. Since Matt Patricia left for Detroit, the Patriots do not employ a defensive coordinator. Yet, the man to watch is Brian Flores. Like Crennel and Patricia before him, Flores learns exactly what Belichick wants.
On offense, we all know what Josh McDaniels brings to the table. To his credit, Belichick allows creativity, innovation with the ball. From off-balanced line formations to taking chances vertically, the Patriots will tailor their attack to the opponent.
Bill Belichick is human. As a result, his team can lose. The Raiders under Gruden will not treat New England any differently. What will help Oakland is Gruden’s penchant for a pounding running game. The Patriots cannot score if the offense sits on the sideline. In an era of pretty passes, the Raiders want that close quarters slugfest. The best way to stop a chessmaster like Belichick? Give him limited options and go on the offensive.