Most of the players who will show up for next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis have been training for months.
But according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, they’ve been training the wrong way.
NESN held onto some Belichick comments from July which are pertinent now, a bit of a diatribe against the increased training for specific combine events like the 40-yard dash (or the less-heralded but still important three-cone drill).
“I think that’s a huge mistake that a lot of those players make, but I’m sure they have their reasons for doing it,” Belichick said. “We’re training our players to play football, not to go through a bunch of those February drills. Yeah, our training is football intensive. We train them to get ready to play and ultimately that’s what they’re going to do. Maybe for some of those guys another activity in between or a pro day or whatever it is, but in the end, they’re going to make their career playing football. We already know that with our guys, and we don’t have to deal with any of that other stuff. We just train them for football. I think it’s huge.
“I think there are a lot of players and I think a lot of players learn from that, that they look at their rookie year and feel like, ‘I wasn’t really as physically as well prepared as maybe I was in college or what I will be in their succeeding years in the league,’ and train more for football and train less for the broad jump and three-cone drill and stuff like that. I think a lot of those guys hopefully learn that lesson and intensify their physical football training after they’ve had that year of, in a lot of cases, I would say non-football training or very limited training for actually football.”
Of course, it’s a little late for that now, and the Patriots aren’t so bold as to discount every bit of data they harvest in Indianapolis. They’re smart enough to know that each piece of information is a tool in the toolbox, and picking the right one for the job is the important part.
But a fast 40 time can still catch the eyes of scouts, and change the way they look at months or years of film. And honestly, the attention the media and advertisers give it feeds the speed-training industry, which is why Adidas isn’t offering a million bucks to the guy who watches film best.