Found this BB article from an XXXI site

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by pats1, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    Secretary of defense: Belichick gives Pats hope
    Jan. 25, 1997
    Bob McGinn

    New Orleans -- Since the age of 7, when he started designing his own defensive game plans and stopped watching television, Bill Belichick has dedicated his entire life to football.

    At one time Belichick's father, Steve, was head coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. When his friends at Wesleyan (Conn.) University were going off to graduate school or the business world, he hooked on as a 23-year-old special assistant for the Baltimore Colts and coach Ted Marchibroda.

    "He was willing to work round-the-clock for nothing," Marchibroda once said. "There's no doubt he knows defense."

    For two full weeks, Belichick has committed himself to getting inside the head of Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren and dissecting every nuance of the Packers' offense. Quite frankly, that should be a red flag for those who believe Super Bowl XXXI will be just another speed bump for the Packers in their drive to the Lombardi Trophy.

    In many ways, it is Belichick, perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the Crescent City this week, who holds the key to the upset hopes of the New England Patriots.

    Coach Bill Parcells got to where he is by being a superb defensive coach. His defensive coordinator is Al Groh, who joined Parcells in New England four years ago and served as his linebackers coach with the New York Giants in 1989-'90.

    Miami coach Jimmy Johnson thought he was going to hire Belichick as his new defensive coordinator last February, but instead Belichick went to the Patriots as assistant head coach and secondary coach. His charge was trying to improve a defense that was awful under Groh in '95, ranking 25th in points and 28th in yards allowed.

    But disregard the titles. This is Belichick's defense, and the improvement his unit has made in the last seven games is the main reason why the Patriots caught fire and made the Super Bowl.

    On Tuesday, Belichick grudgingly put aside his obsessive Packers-tape watching to meet with reporters at the Superdome. It is an assignment that he dreads, having no communication skills to speak of, and was a big part of his downfall as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991-'95.

    Years ago, George Young, the Giants' general manager, forced Belichick to take a course in people skills. Alas, it didn't help, which is why a Raiders official said Belichick wouldn't be seriously considered for the head-coaching opening in Oakland and an NFL source said he had no chance to succeed Parcells.

    After posing as an entire organization for the official team picture, the Patriots walked across the field to their assigned locations for interviews.

    Belichick got as far as the de rigueur yellow crime-scene police tape under which the rest of the Patriots had ducked to meet the media. Then he stood just outside the tape in the exact same spot for the next hour and revealed next to nothing about himself as reporters from Cleveland, New York and everywhere else became flustered trying to get a rise out of him.

    "Don't feel bad," Belichick told one reporter. "There were Cleveland guys here for 20 minutes and I didn't tell them anything, either. You can change the bait, and keep on casting, but trust me on this. I'm only thinking about the Packers."

    Every question was evaded, every trick avoided. Bleary-eyed but hardly ill-tempered, his voice seldom above a monotone, the taciturn coach brought new meaning to the terms "focus" and "tunnel vision."

    "We call him 'Doom,' " Parcells said. "As in 'Voice of.' "

    This, then, is what the Packers' offense will be dealing with later today.

    "They are the best team we'll play this year," Belichick said. "We're just going to try and slop something together and see if we can stay competitive."

    Uh-uh, just like BMW will try to slop together its next sedan.

    Last week, several offensive assistant coaches and scouts were asked to discuss what hopes the Patriots' modestly talented defense would have to slow down Brett Favre and the Packers' explosive offense. All of them talked about what an exceptional defensive coach Belichick was.

    "The difference between their defense this year and last year with Belichick there is like night and day," said Rich Snead, director of player personnel for the Houston Oilers. "Belichick is outstanding. That would be the scary thing for me if I'm the Packers and he had two weeks to prepare for you."

    Even more interesting, and what most assuredly has weighed heavily on Holmgren, is the success Belichick has enjoyed against him.

    In 1990, Holmgren was offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers as they tried to win the Super Bowl for an unprecedented third straight time. At the time Belichick was completing his eighth and final season as Parcells' de facto defensive coordinator with the Giants.

    The two teams met at Candlestick Park with a Super Bowl berth on the line and the 49ers favored by 8 points. But, with Belichick's unit yielding just 39 yards rushing and limited Joe Montana to 176 yards passing the Giants scored a stunning 15-13 upset.

    A week later, Belichick earned a second Super Bowl ring by helping the Giants defeat Buffalo.

    Belichick's Browns played Holmgren's Packers only twice, Cleveland winning, 17-6, in 1992 and losing, 31-20, last season. In those two games, the Packers gained just 280 and 285 yards, with Favre taking what was available underneath Belichick's trademark two-deep zone coverages but failing to complete pass for more than 22 yards.

    "He's always very sound," Packers offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis said of Belichick. "You don't see guys running loose and wide open. You don't see a lot of blitzing but he mixes in everything very well.

    "You've got two weeks and you change some things, but, boy, with all the formations we give you and with all the things we do, you've got to do what you know best. I don't expect him to do a whole lot."

    What Belichick has done since a humiliating 34-8 loss at home against Denver on Nov. 17 is remarkable. The Patriots have won six of their last seven games, allowing 260 yards on average in that stretch compared to 363 yards in the first 11 games.

    They allowed seven points at San Diego. They limited the Cowboys to 251 yards and no touchdowns. They shut out the Giants in the second half after a horrendous defensive first half.

    And, in two playoff games, they didn't allow a touchdown.

    Add it up. In the last seven games the Patriots have given up 73 points while the Packers, with the NFL's No 1-ranked defense, have given up 72.

    Now the Green Bay offense has been every bit as potent of late, devouring foe after foe. And the fact of the matter is that Holmgren has a great quarterback, a legitimate running attack, on grass anyway, for the first time in his Green Bay career, an offensive line playing beyond itself in a quest for respect, two elite tight ends and fine wide receivers.

    If the game was at Lambeau Field the Patriots would have little or no hope because their edge in team speed would be negated.

    What Belichick does have are two quick rush-linebacker types in Willie McGinest and Chris Slade, a terrific middle linebacker in young Ted Johnson, active safeties and one solid cornerback.

    But five of the six defensive linemen that he uses are sluggers who cannot create pass rush on their own. And his other cornerback, Otis Smith, is vulnerable if forced to play man coverage behind blitzes.

    To win, the Patriots must control the run and pressure Favre into an average day or, perhaps, some interceptions. To do it Belichick will have to blitz cornerbacks at times, blitz safeties at times and hope his thick defensive linemen at least can hold up against the run.

    His wild-card could be Tedy Bruschi, a rookie with a big heart, not much size or speed and a feel for rushing the passer. The Packers must identify Bruschi as he moves up, down and around on passing downs and block him with a lineman.

    That package, similar to what defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur uses for the Packers, ruined the day for Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell two weeks ago.

    Despite their many gifted players at the skill positions, it's doubtful if the Patriots' so-so offensive line can protect Drew Bledsoe well enough against the Packers' truly consistent defense to win a shootout.

    Not long ago a scout that studied Green Bay all season said Holmgren's game plans week after week on offense were the best in the league.

    But the acutely prepared Belichick looms as a most worthy opponent.

    Packer Plus

    © Copyright 1997, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. All rights reserved.
  2. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 Supporter Supporter

    Thanks for a great article! Brings back some memories.
  3. fgssand

    fgssand Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    I did not know BB turned down Jimmy Johnsons offer to be his Defensive Coordinator and come to NE under Parcells.

    How different would things be had he accepted the position.
  4. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Nice article you research guru you!
  5. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    ;) I dug it up doing research for some '96 rosters for Madden 2005. I love doing little roster projects like that. I have some 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and up-to-date 2005 rosters in the works or complete. From experience, ages, ratings, rosters, depth charts, and especially player equipment, I'm there.

    That's just me. :cool:

    But it also gives me more and more knowledge on the past, something that helps along the way. Nevermind the food for reminiscing...
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2005
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Ah, a 'history' buff, crawling around amidst the digital dust of yesteryear! :D
  7. Caf

    Caf Rookie

    How different would it have been: Not too different, except that the Dolphins would have won 3 SBs and we would still be finishing behind them in the AFC east, .............
  8. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

    The Bruschi note is interesting too.
  9. billikens

    billikens On the Roster

    #80 Jersey

    Who is the solid cornerback? Ty Law?
  10. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter


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