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New England Patriots Links 3/15/11 - Belichick "All Football" On Scouting Trail

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Mike Reiss looks at how is it to be scouted by Bill Belichick? Prospects see a 'laid-back' football guy.

Once the offseason arrives, Belichick basically adds his name to the team's scouting masthead, hitting the road to work players out and interview them. Then he can compare his notes with those of his scouts and higher-ups in personnel, who have been at it longer over the course of the year and thus have more of a long-range view in evaluating the prospects.

There are some classic scouting stories with Belichick, such as last year when he was working out Florida Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith one day before Smith's wedding. Smith had his best man and others in the wedding party catching passes during the workout while Belichick fired his sandals at him to test his ability to move in the pocket.

You can't make that stuff up. Belichick didn't stick around for the wedding, and Smith was later drafted in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans.

Belichick is back at it again this year, making his annual trip to Florida, which included a huddle with University of Miami defenders last week. Belichick sat in the defensive meeting room with lineman Allen Bailey, cornerback Brandon Harris, linebacker Colin McCarthy and defensive backs DeMarcus Van Dyke and Ryan Hill for a few hours and no sandals were thrown. More than anything, a lot of questions were asked.

When Belichick rolled tape of Bailey, for example, the play was a stunt. That led Belichick to ask Bailey what Miami called the stunt and what his specific technique and responsibility was on the play.

So in that sense, Belichick is much like a reporter attempting to gain a better understanding of a play that unfolds in a game. The more information he gathers, the more accurate his evaluation of the player.

Belichick's approach was somewhat of a surprise to the players.

"He seemed like a cool, laid-back type guy. On TV, you see him all serious all the time," explained Bailey, who is projected as an early-round pick. "It wasn't tense. It was a relaxed atmosphere. Just all football."

  ... By the time the draft arrives, the Patriots will have met or worked out hundreds of prospects, which adds important context to the entire process. If nothing else, Belichick's film session with Miami defenders simply speaks to the level of detail with which he approaches the scouting process.

"It was no pressure, just meeting and watching film," Bailey said. "It was relaxed and we got to know each other."


  • Patriots Roster Report - 3/11/11: in this edition we discuss several players in the news whose futures with the Patriots may be in doubt. (11.57 min.)


  • Ian Rapoport lays out what the issues are that the NFL owners and the former union are fighting over.
  • Tom E. Curran explains in a bit more detail what the owners' offer entailed and why the players turned it down.
  • Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots tell season ticket holders they will offer a refund within 30 days plus 1 percent interest in the event games will be missed.
  • Mike Reiss analyzes the selections Pat Kirwan thinks the Patriots will take in his latest two-round mock draft.
  • Mike Reiss analyzes Nolan Nawrocki's latest mock draft selections for the Patriots.
  • CSNNE and National Football Post teamed up for "Football Fix", a web-only show dedicated to the offseason.
  • Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss each share five things they'd miss in life without football.
  • Mike Reiss notes the Players Association is putting a plan in place that would prevent each top prospect from attending next month's NFL Draft.
  • Ron Borges emphasizes the obvious lack of trust on both sides of the table.