Bill Belichick talks like a man who knows his team is ready
|01.20.12 at 7:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was the subtlest of signals but Bill Belichick sounded like man Friday who knew his team is ready for the challenge of the AFC Championship on Sunday against the 13-4 Ravens.
Belichick was asked if there is a point at the end of the week where he can relax knowing the game plan is in place or does he think about the game plan up until kickoff?
“I think you get to a certain point here at the end of the week where you’re going at a fast pace early in the week, trying to get the scouting report, trying to get the information on the team that you’re playing, regardless of whether you’ve played them or not, doesn’t matter,” Belichick said. “Then you get into the process of the game plan and you try to pull everything together as you go through the week with the game plan Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there are always things that come up that you need to kind of rethink or now that you’ve really had a chance to see this against multiple things, maybe you’re thinking of it in one particular situation but what if it’s something else? You have problems, things that happen during the week that you have to work your way through and then you see how your team handles all that.”
Then came the hint that he thinks his team is ready.
“Sometimes you come out of there on Thursday, like last night, sometimes you come out of there after a Thursday practice and you say ‘I think we can add this, we can add that, this would be good in this situation.’ And do that,” Belchick said. “There are other Thursdays where you are saying, ‘We can’t handle what we’ve got here, we have to get rid of this, this and that.’ And, ‘We don’t want to add anything more; we just have to go with what we’ve got. Let’s get rid of this stuff, let’s don’t make the players worry about these calls, we’re not going to call that. We’ll call this instead.’ But you just don’t know that on Monday, you don’t know it on Tuesday, sometimes you don’t know it until Thursday.”
Clearly, Belichick wouldn’t feel comfortable adding material to his team’s game plan unless he felt comfortable that his team has a good foundation of the game plan. From what he indicated above, clearly, he feels confident.
“Occasionally, you even do a little bit of that on Friday after practice after you’ve gone through it one more time,” Belichick said. “You say, ‘You know, I just, I don’t think we’ve really got this, let’s go with something else.’ Or, ‘I do feel like we have it, it hasn’t been perfect in practice but I think we’ll be able to get it in the game.’ So you’re still making those kind of decisions. I think once you get to that point, you kind of relax a little bit. Then you come back into your real game preparations where you think about decisions and situations in games and how you want to start the game. Let’s face it, nothing is going to change between now and game time as far as tendencies or film breakdown or anything else. It is what it is and you have to decide, do you want to start the game with this play or do you want to start the game with that play? You want to run this play next, you want to run that play next. We have a whole bunch of plays, you have to start with something.”
Reminded that one of the coaches he admires the most – Bill Walsh – would practice on Saturday nights and then just shut down football, Belichick said he can understand just shutting it down for quiet time before a game.
“I can see that, sure,” Belichick said. “I think a little bit of it just depends on the situation. There are games, Saturday night where I can remember staying up and wanting to go through something one more time. Then there are other Saturday nights where you watch a college game on TV or you just go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep and start in the morning. I think it’s just how you feel at that point in time. Sometimes you go through the Saturday night meetings with the players and something comes up. If you’re not sure then they’re probably not sure. Maybe you need to go back and do it one more time. I’m not going to be able to get to sleep until I really, like I have to get this straight in my head before I can get it to them.
“A lot of times you come out of a meeting feeling like, ‘We’ve got it, we just have to go play.’ Each week is different, for me anyway, every week is different. Preparation is different, the practices are different. What you need to do at the end of the week, whether that’s talking to an individual guy, whether that’s the way you want to handle the whole team, whatever you want to try to emphasize leading right up to the game in the final meetings or hours, I think that sometimes is a reaction to where you are at that particular point. You don’t know that at the beginning of the week, at least I don’t.”