MMQB’s Conor Orr took it upon himself to scout the New England Patriots against the Tennessee Titans the old fashioned way. The old, old fashioned way. He read Steve Belichick’s book on scouting- which was once regarded as the book on how to scout in football- and tried to take notes on the Patriots.
It was an admirable challenge, but my goodness it seems impossible to read it through Orr’s eyes and here is just a taste.
Steve’s ideas are exhausting and innovative. Before the days of high-resolution broadcasts or on-demand coaches film, he discovered and wrote about a fail-safe way of identifying a defense with just “four rapid looks”:
• Look 1: Defensive backfield to determine two or three deep coverage while the offense is breaking the huddle
• Look 2: The defensive players inside the “guard box”—a square area that encompasses both offensive guards and center.
• Look 3 &4: Two rapid looks to place the remaining players
His goal was to look away from the field as little as possible, often creating shorthand that allowed him to remain locked on the action without shifting down to his notebook even once. Everything was about creating more time and opportunity. The scouting report itself would give the staff a two-day jump on studying an opponent before the film arrived. The coding system would allow a few more seconds to jot down intricacies between plays. The methodical organization would make it easy to pack up, getting him down to the locker room to discuss what he saw with the coach or fellow scouts sooner.
Bill Belichick’s father, Steve, must have had a computer processor for a brain and he definitely passed it on to his son, because to accomplish everything that Steve laid out in his book, and that Orr tried to follow, would require three or four people at once.