Bill Belichick knows value of Tom Brady, a running game and the play-action pass
|01.01.14 at 8:36 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For all the subtle things Tom Brady does well, selling the play fake is near the top of the list.
Now, he has a legitimately dangerous running game to go along with it.
Could the play-action be a big factor in the Patriots postseason plans?
“I think that’s an interesting question,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “I would say, some defensive play-calling is just based on whether or not you think they’re going to run, even if they don’t run, if you think they’re going to run, that makes you vulnerable to some aspects of the passing game. I would say that most defensive players get their keys from the offensive line and the tight end. Now, unless there’s no fake at all, which sometimes you see a quarterback fake this way and the back go the other way and you’re like, ‘What’s the point?’ But if there’s any kind of legitimate mesh at all, I would say that the bigger key to the play is the action of the offensive line and the tight end more so than the quarterback and the back.”
Belichick went deep into the Xs and Os of a good play-action offense, and what goes into defending it.
“Although the quarterback and the back can certainly help the play, I’m not saying that, but no matter what they do, if it’s not tied in with the line of scrimmage: the pad level of the offensive linemen, the aggressive nature like it would be in a running play then I think that the two just don’t mesh and a good defensive player will be able to recognize that. It’s a combination of all those things. Part of play-action is throwing the ball when you think they’re going to run it, when they think you’re going to run it. Part of it is the companion of the play-action to the running game. Part of it is the execution of the offensive line/tight ends with the run blocking and part of it is the quarterback-running back mesh, action, whatever you want to call it. I think all those things come into play. You could have the best run-action in the world on second-and-20 and I don’t know how many defensive players are going to go flying up in there.
“You could have not very good action on fourth-and-inches and you probably get a lot of guys even if it isn’t a great fake. I think there are a lot of different variables on that. I think one of the key things on play-action that’s a critical part of the play is just who you’re trying to fake. Who are you trying to fake? Are you trying to stop the pass rush? Or are you trying to get a particular player ‘ a safety or linebacker or a deep field player, like on a flea-flicker as an example ‘ are you trying to get somebody there to react and then you have a complementary part of the pattern that attacks that area of the defense. I think if you’re trying to stop the pass rush by play-action then that’s one thing. If you’re trying to affect a linebacker or a safety to come up then you want to have maybe the type of fake that you think will get him to react based on what he’s seen on film or based on a play that you’re running that marries up with that action. Then you run some type of complementary route to try to take advantage of that reaction that you hope that you get.
“Then there’s all the misdirection plays where you try to get everybody to go this way so somebody goes back the other way, whether that’s an over-route or a crossing route or a fake crossing route that comes back the other way or some kind of bootleg or whatever it happens to be but it’s kind of a little bit of the same. So, again, what it comes down to on play-action, I think for me and the game planning is, ‘OK, what are we trying to do here? What’s the purpose of the play? Are we trying to affect this guy, affect that guy, affect the pass rush, trying to get him to flow? What are we trying to get out of it?’ Depending on what you’re trying to get, I think that determines what type of play you want to design.”