Patriots coach Bill Belichick delivered a lengthy soliloquy at his press conference on Wednesday about a subject that may be sore with some of his defensive players.
Belichick said that most players who play defense do so because they were once on offense but weren’t good enough. As Belichick sees it, if you’re the best playmaker on offense, you’ll stay there. It’s the guys who aren’t quite as good on offense who become defensive players.
“I mean look, a lot of defensive players get moved [from] offense because they’re not good enough on offense, right? High school coaches, college coaches, if they have somebody better and you have another good player at that position, instead of stacking them up you just move them somewhere where he can get on the field quicker,” Belichick said. “If you’re a high school or college coach you’re not going to take your best running back and put him at – I mean it’d be rare to put him somewhere else. You’re going to give him the ball and let him be a productive scorer for you.”
Belichick said that on the line, it’s the opposite: The guys who end up on the offensive line are there because they weren’t fast enough to play on the defensive line.
“Most of those guys do get moved and most of the offensive linemen get moved from defense because they don’t run well enough,” Belichick said. “If they ran better they probably would play on defense because those guys are hard to find. So to see those players offensively that can run a four-nine, five-flat [40-yard dash] at those kinds of weights, most of them are first, second-round left tackles. That’s where most of them show up. That’s a premium position on offense so if you have that kind of an athlete you probably either play him on defense or you play him at left tackle. That’s where they go. I don’t think you move a defensive lineman to the offensive line unless you’re either going to move him to left tackle or, again, you have so many defensive lineman that you can afford to move him. Usually you move them because they don’t run well enough and offensively you move them because you have other guys that can catch the ball better, or more elusive runners, or more productive playmakers and then they move. Sometimes some guys find their spot right away and they stay in it.”
So if there are any cornerbacks hoping to lobby Belichick for a chance to touch the ball on offense, don’t bother.
“That’s a general statement,” Belichick said. “It’s not meant towards any specific player. Although I think most of the defensive players need to understand that the reason they don’t play offense is because they’re not good enough to play offense.”