Former NFL executive Gil Brandt decided to construct an “All-Time Bill Belichick Team” to look at the best players that played under head coach Bill Belichick (Cleveland Browns 1991-95; New England Patriots 2000-present). You can check out the full article here along with Brandt’s explanations for each of his choices.
Brandt could have easily constructed his team entirely of New England Patriots, but for the sake of the article, he bumped some worthy Patriots off the list in favor of some Cleveland Browns.
Here’s the full team.
Offense: QB Tom Brady, RB Corey Dillon, WR Randy Moss, WR Julian Edelman, WR Wes Welker, TE Rob Gronkowski, LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, C Dan Koppen, RG Stephen Neal, RT Orlando Brown (Cleveland)
Defense: DL Richard Seymour, DL Vince Wilfork, DL Willie McGinest, LB Tedy Bruschi, LB Mike Vrabel, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Jerod Mayo, CB Ty Law, CB Asante Samuel, S Rodney Harrison, S Eric Turner (Cleveland)
Special Teams: K Adam Vinatieri, P Tom Tupa (Cleveland), ST Matthew Slater, KR Kevin Faulk
One note of interest from Brandt is this fact on Wes Welker that I hadn’t previously known. Welker had 1,121 career yards from scrimmage in his three seasons prior to joining the Patriots. In his six years in New England, he exceeded 1,121 all but once (his injury-limited 2010 season with 848 yards).
When looking at Brandt’s list, it’s clear that he’s only looking at the production of the player under Bill Belichick, or else CB Darrelle Revis would have been an easy choice for the list.
So with that in mind, here are my potential snubs:
RT Sebastian Vollmer vs Orlando Brown. Orlando Brown was fine at right tackle, but Vollmer was an All Pro talent. There’s no question that Vollmer’s peak was better than Brown during his first and second seasons in the league.
DL Michael Dean Perry vs Willie McGinest. Brandt gives McGinest the nod for their six seasons together, where Willie racked up 38.5 sacks, or 6.4 per season. McGinest was named to one Pro Bowl (2003) and was never named to an All Pro team. Dean Perry played under Belichick from 1991-94, racking up 27 sacks, or 6.8 per season, was named to three Pro Bowl teams, earned two Second Team All Pro nods, and was named Second Team All-1990s. McGinest clearly played a major role in the Patriots post-season success, but there’s definitely a discussion to be had.
FS Devin McCourty vs Eric Turner. Turner was named First Team All Pro in 1994 after recording 9 interceptions and that’s Brandt’s basis for adding him to the team. Devin McCourty has never racked up the interceptions as a safety, but he has made three Second Team All Pro squads under Bill Belichick.
K Stephen Gostkowski vs Adam Vinatieri. Belichick coached Vinatieri for just six seasons, versus 11 for Gostkowski. Gostkowski has four Pro Bowl nods to two for Vinatieri. Vinatieri and Gostkowski were both named First Team All Pro twice under Belichick, but Gostkowski added an extra Second Team All Pro distinction.
P Ryan Allen vs Tom Tupa. It feels like Brandt just settled on Tupa to give the Browns another player on the team. Ryan Allen has averaged 45.7 yards per punt over his career. Tupa ranked 21st of 33 punters with 50 or more attempts from 1994-95 under Belichick and averaged more than 45.7 yards per punt just one season in his entire career (min. 10 punts).
KR Eric Metcalf vs Kevin Faulk. Faulk was a terrific returnman for the Patriots, averaging 9.4 yards per punt return and 22.2 yards per kick return, scoring two touchdowns, but Metcalf played under Belichick from 1991-94, averaging 10.6 yards per punt return and 18.5 yards per kick return, scoring five touchdowns, making two Pro Bowls and First Team All Pro in 1993.
Who is the biggest snub?
This poll is closed
RT Sebastian Vollmer
DL Michael Dean Perry
FS Devin McCourty
K Stephen Gostkowski
P Ryan Allen
KR Eric Metcalf
These discussions come down to a player’s peak versus long-term success under Belichick (other than the Vollmer vs Brown discussion, which shouldn’t be up for debate). There could also be some changes as Malcolm Butler could very well unseat Asante Samuel with a strong season.
I would definitely flip Vollmer and Brown, along with Metcalf and Faulk. I’d be curious to hear thoughts from everyone else about the other potential snubs. Let us know in the comments.