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August 31, 2009, 6:00 am The Belichick Way: Still the Best
By KC Joyner
The Football Scientist, KC Joyner, is a Fifth Down contributor. He breaks down fantasy football matchups twice a week on ESPN.com’s NFL Insider section. His 2009 Fantasy Football Draft Guide is now available for immediate download. Lab results for “Scientific Football 2009” are available for those who order the book now.
This is an excerpt from Scientific Football 2009:
After reviewing the game notes from the 2008 season, I am convinced that Bill Belichick is the NFL’s version of The Beatles.
* Make the game plan specific to the opponent.
* Build your team so that it can go after any of these weaknesses.
* Combine athletic ability with intelligence as often as possible.
* A team doesn’t need a great running back to win.
* If you can’t go after a specific weakness in your opponent, use every tool in the playbook to put your players into the highest percentage position possible.
* Don’t ask players to do things they aren’t capable of.
* The team’s psychological state cannot be ignored.
* Teach players how to do the high percentage things.
* Teach players that if the defense is giving you anything, take as much of it as you can.
* Know how to work the clock in very creative ways.
* Don’t let superstition get in the way of things.
* Don’t let a macho attitude get in the way of things.
The Beatles took what looked to be an uncomplicated form of music and turned it into an art form that many have tried to replicate but none have come close to duplicating. Belichick’s seemingly basic methods are in the same boat.
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Re: KC Joyner -- The Belichick Way: Still the Best
Since some of you are unlikely to look, here are a couple of interesting specifics from the article:
A team doesn’t need a great running back to win. A good one will do if you have quality blocking up front (and New England had that in 2008, ranking 2nd in the team POA win percentage run blocking metric). And if all you have are a collection of solid backs, always use the healthiest one. This is why the Patriots drive fantasy football coaches up a wall -– they’ll always go with the healthy back and will never let anyone know who that is until the game starts.
Teach players that if the defense is giving you anything, take as much of it as you can. Wes Welker is a master at this when he runs crossing routes. Most receivers will run that route at the same depth no matter how deep the linebackers drop. Welker will base his route depth on where the linebackers are. If they go seven yards off the line of scrimmage, he’ll run it four to five yards downfield. If they drop to ten yards back, he’ll run that same route at a seven to eight yard depth. It is one of the reasons that Randy Moss and Welker ranked #1 and #3 in short pass YPA last year.
Since Joyner breaks down every down of every team as part of his analysis, his opinions are more interesting than most.