BOSTON (CBS) — Way back in February of 1991, Bill Belichick had just gotten his first NFL head coaching job. He had found tremendous success over the previous decade with the New York Giants, and it was time for Belichick to show the world what he could deliver as a head coach.
And it was right after landing that job that he spoke with scout Dom Amile, with the purpose of helping to provide some perspective to future football scouts in “scout school.” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was one of those hopeful scouts, and he recently dug up the document in which Belichick laid out his football philosophies.
Jeremiah shared that content on Twitter, and here’s what it said.
I think you’ll enjoy this… We were given this handout during a scout school from my time with the Ravens. Coach Belichick has held true to almost all of this over the years. pic.twitter.com/pWB3oqo5JU
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 31, 2020
COACH BELICHICK — 2/13/91 — AS PER DOM ANILE
ORGANIZATION MUST BE AGGRESSIVE ON ALL FRONTS
OFFENSE: Make defense defend the middle of the field first by running and throwing inside — Work from the inside out in terms of blocking and protection — When defense commits more players inside then we can attack the outside (run and pass). Need some type of powerful element in the running game, need big upfront people to knock guys off the ball. Need N/S backs, need at least two like Kevin Mack who can punish straight ahead — need one eligible receiver who is a point of attack blocker (Rathman, Carthon type guy) who can execute the blocking in the running game.
Passing game must protect QB in middle, need size and strength guys who can’t get driven back. Backs and TEs need to be able to catch, not necessarily need to be elusive — third down receivers who can get off LOS and not get jammed and obviously catch the ball. Want three receivers and RB type guys (Meggett/Metcalf type) — when the defense takes away all the inside stuff then we will go outside with run and pass.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Big guys who are strong powerful players, guys who have the frame to get bigger — knock someone off the ball and keep defender on LOS vs. pass — Big guards vs. 3-4 LBs — OTs who can get their hands on people, not necessarily have to be great athletes due to quick five step passing game. Can use a slightly dumber guy who is a good athlete. He needs to be able to block the right guy, need to recognize fronts and be smart enough to block the right guy — guys who get penalized a lot are not what we want — big, strong, physical, nasty, smart.
TEs: #1 has to be a catcher, Ozzie Newsome, Keith Jackson types. Don’t need the off. Line type guy in a TE’s jersey. Take what we can get from him on the blocking, just gets in the way and tie up, we can work around his blocking ability — catch, run, block — #2 or #3 TE needs to be the blocker for situational running situations — Can also use the in betweener, not quite a TE but not fast enough to be a WO (Novacek/Houlihan type guy). 6’3″, 235 minimum type guy, needs to be big enough to get in the way. Good measure of TE is also what he does with the ball after the catch. Don’t let the lack of blocking ability eliminate a good player.
RBs: Mack is ideal, tuff inside, N/S guy, has enough to bounce it outside, needs to be able to catch the ball, has to be able to step up and take on the blitz — also need a third down back like Metcalf and also a SY/GL back (could be your starter or just a situational type guy, can also be a special teams guy). Needs to be smart enough to block the right guy on the blitz — also need a smart guy who can block and can catch, not have to be a runner necessarily. (Rathman type guy)
WOs: #1 has to be able to get off LOS whether with size, speed, quicks or any combination of the three. Then has to be able to catch, can improve hands to some degree. Has to be able to run disciplined routes, not necessarily smart, just disciplined, have to get where they’re going and how they’re getting there. Cannot do his own thing. Receivers needs good running ability after the catch, want to hit the receivers on the run and let them run with the ball either over, elude, or by with speed. Speed only enters the equation in relation to players’ ability to escape the LOS. Good leap and timing are more important than speed — need good upper body strength and quickness. Frail guy without good quickness is dead. A mismatch type guy, quick, elusive, big, physical type guy or any combo of those qualities can be your third receiver.
QB: #1 is to make good decisions — then arm, size, physically tough, leadership, guys look up to and have confidence in, a real competitor. Accurate rather than guy with a cannon. Emphasis on our game will be on decision, timing, accuracy — guy needs to be confident, intelligence is important but not as much so as a field awareness and judgment. Can’t be sloppy fundamentally unsound guy with ball handling, tech’s, etc. Footwork, drops, release, etc. — QB has to be able to throw the ball with accuracy.
OFFENSE — TO BE SUCCESSFUL MUST BE ABLE TO:
- Run ball
- Pick up blitz
- Pick up third downs
Certainly, a lot of what’s included in that 1991 organizational philosophy has held true over the past three decades. The description of the ideal quarterback makes his pairing with Tom Brady seem even more like a match made in heaven. Employing receivers who are not going to “do their own thing” remains the case in New England, as well. And his insistence that to get a good offensive lineman, a team “can use a slightly dumber guy who is a good athlete,” well, that one’s just funny. (Bill might be getting some calls from some of his former O-linemen once they catch wind of that.)
The results of that philosophy in Cleveland were a bit mixed. After inheriting a 3-13 team, Belichick slowly built the Browns into a contender, going 6-10 in his first year and 7-9 in each of the following two years. In his fourth season, he steered the Browns to an 11-5 record, beating Bill Parcells’ Patriots in the wild card round but losing to Pittsburgh in the divisional round. The following season got out to a promising 3-1 start, and the team was 4-4 through Week 9. But that’s when Art Modell announced that the team would be moving to Baltimore, and the Browns then lost seven of their last eight games. Belichick was then fired.
But five years later, he got the job in New England. Robert Kraft let Belichick do his thing, and the rest is history.