Head Coach Bill Belichick is one of the best strategists in the game. There is simply no questioning the size of his football brain. Whenever he makes a move that we fans question, inevitably the phrase, "In Belichick we trust" surfaces. For example: the Richard Seymour trade (still not complete as of this writing) felt like, as a fan, getting kicked in the gut. Richard has been with this team since 2001 and is/was one of the few remaining "3 ringers". We felt kicked in the gut, but when you peel back the onion and look at that trade, it makes a lot of sense. Hoodie is smarter than us about football, that's for sure. Every one of his moves is carefully thought out and meticulously planned. And that's the way he is on the football field.
While cruising through one of my answers to Brian Galliford's questions, I came across a very well written summation of how Belichick approaches a team, of how much the brainiac he can be. Let's take a moment to read through JohnPaul's comment:
minimal blitzing, I think
Being a longtime Pats fan, the general MO of BB on defense is to take away whatever it is our opponent most wants to do (i.e. what they are best at doing), and make them beat us with option #2 (and #3 and #4…etc).
With Lynch suspended, there is no doubt in my mind that the passing game to T.O. (and, to a lesser but still very real extend, Lee Evans) is what BB is thinking the Bills want to do in this game. Which means he is going to do whatever he possibly can to take that away. So how does he do that?
Two options (in general):
1. Blitz like the blazes and hope to get to Edwards before Edwards can get the ball to those WR’s; or,
2. Sit back and double-cover, zone+man, whatever, basically put as many defensive bodies back in the secondary trying to keep TO and Evans under wraps and forcing Edwards to have pinpoint accuracy if he is going to hit them.
My guess is BB doesn’t think Edwards is a good enough QB to accomplish #2. So I predict we rarely blitz, we sit back in a very cautious defense, and basically say to Buffalo: if you want to beat us, you need to do it either running the ball without your #1 RB, or else throwing the ball to someone other than TO and Evans.
To be honest, I don’t really know the Bills well enough to even know who your #3 WR or your top pass-catching TE is, but whoever those guys are, I think they are the ones (along with Fred Jackson) who are going to determine the outcome of the Bills offense on Monday night.
I think JohnPaul really captured Belichick's mindset in very few words: in essence, take away what your opponent wants to do. Make them play into your strengths by removing the things that they're good at. Terrell Owens? Blanket him with coverage. Starting back suspended for three games? So sorry you don't have your best running attack.
I think JohnPaul is correct - Belichick will rarely bring the house to Trent Edwards. I think it's more likely Hoodie will remove the downfield option with heavy use of nickel and dime packages. Defensive backs will be swarming the field to negate the long ball. Another reason? Why play 4-3 against a team who plays 4-3? They know that configuration cold. Or, better yet, show 4-3 and switch to nickel or dime. I'm very curious to see how Belichick will handle the Bills' no-huddle. Very curious.
Mad props to JohnPaul for a most excellent and informative comment as well as rep'ing us so well on Buffalo Rumblings.