Belichick uses golf example to explain poor offensive line play

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Poor overall play can be traced to poor offensive play which can be traced to poor offensive line play. And that, in the opinion of many, can be traced to limited opportunities to practice playing on the offensive line.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in a conference call with Houston reporters, seemed to confirm that reduced padded practice have reduced the opportunities of offensive linemen to perfect their craft.

“I just think in general, fundamentally it’s difficult to play on the offensive and defensive line,” Belichick said. “You’re playing a contact position with pads, and you’re practicing it without pads the majority of the time. That usually develops a lot of bad habits, and a lot of the techniques that a player would have the chance to work on and improve with pads, that opportunity just isn’t there without pads.

“So it’s hard to improve at those positions when, a lot of times, you’re practicing techniques that are really not the ideal technique or, in some cases, incorrect, and it just develops bad habits, especially on the offensive line. . . . [W]ithout being able to practice, [this] favors the defensive players a little more, whereas the offensive unit has to work together and be able to block things at more of a game tempo with pads and penetration and combination blocks and things like that. It’s just hard to simulate those and hard to get the timing of those when you’re just standing up watching each other without pads on a lot. So, I mean, look, we’re all coaching under the same rules, but I think it’s harder, especially at that position, to improve when you really can’t practice your skill.”

To make his point, Belichick opted for an example from another sport.

“It’s like, you go out to the driving range and hit drives and hit balls, but you can’t go on the putting green,” Belichick said. “And then, to think that your putting is going to be at the same level as your driving when you can’t really practice it, it’s not really realistic. But, again, all teams are operating under the same set of rules, so it is what it is. But it’s hard. It’s hard at that position. It’s hard to tell a guy, ‘This is what you should do,’ but he really can’t go out and practice it.”

The challenge for every team will be to come up with ways to get the most out of whatever is allowed within the confines of the rules, and to supplement padded practices with virtual reality or other technologies that allow the brain to get the reps, even if the body can’t. Even if there’s no replacement for putting the right club in your hands and hitting the ball.

13 responses to “Belichick uses golf example to explain poor offensive line play

  1. An additional consideration is money. As was pointed out earlier this week on 710, if someone like Walter Jones were to come along in these current times, he would never opt to become an o-lineman – he’d be a d-lineman and make more money instead.

  2. Further proof that the current CBA is ruining the sport of football. Get rid of Thursday Night Football and lets get back to letting these guys pad up and prepare (PROPERLY) for Sunday and Monday Nights. The product is getting worse every year. It’s turning into the NBA where guys show up and sort of compete the final two minutes of the game.

  3. .
    Recent drafts have not produced many top shelf tackles. This has left many teams with inferior quality at that position.

  4. come on bill, you expect us to believe you are operating under the same rules as everyone else? and why did you mention that multiple times… trying a little to hard to make yourself look like you’re not a cheater.

    as a side note, yes, the CBA is ruining football as we know it.

  5. Soft practice rules are ruining this game.

    No development league, no practice reps to go around for younger players and backups to develop, then we wonder why football looks so sloppy. And they talk about it being “player safety”, but how is it “safe” to send these guys out on the field to play behind lines who can’t practice their protection techniques and get hit by guys who haven’t been able to practice proper form tackling? We end up seeing guys run for their lives and get chopped low or cheap shotted because dudes panic and don’t know how to hit cleanly.

    Practicing less doesn’t improve safety. It doesn’t improve Sunday game play. It doesn’t develop talent. No wonder these backups look so lost every time they step on the field, their union doesn’t want to afford them the time or means to improve.

    It’s about doing less work, not about working safer. You’re being fooled if you believe otherwise. Practicing is hard and it isn’t fun, so they don’t wanna do it, and pass it off as “safety concerns” so they don’t look soft.

  6. atepper001….

    Look around. There is nobody in the NFL that doesn’t respect Belichik for his knowledge and understanding of the game. He just identified an area of the CBA that is worthy of review, and did it on behalf of the whole league.

  7. The CBA was negotiated by the owners without the coaches having any input. The owners are responsible for the lack of practices. They gladly gave up player practice time vs more money for the players. Some games over the last few years are actually painful to watch. No wonder TV ratings are down and they’re going to go down further. Teams now use the 1st four games as an extension to their pre-seasons and maybe even longer depending on how many new players they have to be incorporated into the lineup. Fans better hope that their starting O Line players stay healthy because their backups will not be ready to fill in which places the health of the QB in jeopardy.

  8. When Belichick gives more than a one word response and expounds on a topic it’s always a good listen/read.

    No solution is perfect, and just changing the CBA to allow more full contact practices may or may not solve this issue, but remember why it was introduced in the first place– to reduce player injury. In the meantime, the onus falls on the coaching staffs to use those first 2-3 games to get their position groups up to speed and working together with correct techniques. New England excels in that area, so in a strange way, despite the sloppy line play in the first game, it might actually be of benefit to them relative to others.

  9. I’ve said it before. Just write him a big fat check and let him redo the rules in consultation with a union rep. Everyone would be better off.

  10. Florio- good point about September becoming the new pre-season. What about scheduling more divisional games in September? Divisional games tend to carry more weight and should provide greater incentive for teams to get more prepared in pre-season and do well right out of the gate in the regular season. The Pats don’t play a divisional game until Week 6.

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