Bill Belichick on Khalil Mack: No one is in Lawrence Taylor’s class

Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was the Giants’ linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the first 10 years of Lawrence Taylor’s Hall of Fame career, and Belichick will always say there’s never been a linebacker like Taylor.

That includes Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, whom Belichick was asked about today as the Patriots prepare to face Chicago on Sunday. When Belichick was asked today about Taylor and the great pass rushers he’s seen, and whether Mack compares, Belichick answered that there’s no comparison between Taylor and anyone else.

“Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class. Put everybody below that. I have a lot of respect for a lot of good players, but we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor,” Belichick said.

There may never be another player who’s in the class of Lawrence Taylor. In Belichick’s mind, refusing to compare Mack to Taylor isn’t knocking Mack. It’s simply stating that Taylor set a standard that no one has equaled.

117 responses to “Bill Belichick on Khalil Mack: No one is in Lawrence Taylor’s class

  1. If LT was playing in today’s rules, he’d be out millions in fines and drawing 5 personal fouls a game.

  2. The first comment by the 9er fan is laughable, at best.

    Belichick, on the other hand, speaks the truth.

    That being said, I wonder how many suspensions LT would have had to dodge if he played in today’s league.

    More than Aldon Smith is my guess.

    LT liked to, “make party” quite often.

  3. He’s right.

    In my humble opinion, Willie Mcginest was a similiar type of player, but LT was by far the best.

  4. Aldon Smith lol…. The only class LT amd Aldon took together was Drugs 101. How can you compare a HOF game changing LB to a league wash out… Maybe that SF fan took Drugs 101 as well…

  5. I know its legal to smoke in Canada today but thats weed not crack… LT and Aldon Smith please… shouldnt even be mentioned in same sentence

  6. That’s a VERY un-BEllichick response.

    I mean he’s being honest which is refreshing, but normally he would just follow with praise of Mack as a great player.

    I hope this lights a fire under Mack though and he busts Brady up on Sunday.

  7. I started watching football in 1982z. I’m a lifelong Patriots fan but to me Lawrence Taylor is the greatest football player of all time. If you didn’t see him play don’t even bother saying he wasn’t that great. The closest to LT that I have seen would have been Derrick Thomas RIP, JJ Watt before all his injuries and Von Miller a few years back when they won the Super Bowl. LT is in his own class and he was also great against the run.

  8. Hard to argue with this. LT was a force of nature. The greatest minds in the game spent years reinventing football just to keep him from single handedly destroying their QB every game, and never really found a good answer. The Giants-Redskins games from the mid-1980s were some of the best football I’ve ever seen anywhere and he was always in the thick of it.

  9. With L.T.s history of sex crime allegations, drug violation allegations, dui allegations, etc., etc., etc. it is a good thing he played in the era he played in. He would have been suspended more than he would have been available to play.

  10. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    LT is the MOST overrated defensive player in NFL history, all he did was free lance against the weak side of o-lines.
    And unlike JJ, LT didn’t care about stats.
    _______________

    Wow way to embarrass yourself.

    Next time try, “LT only did everything better than everyone else, ever… but I don’t like him so I’m gonna call him overrated”

  11. LT could blitz,stop the run,drop into coverage all while being schemed against every week.He didn’t freelance against the weakside..don’t even mention von miller in his category or anyone else..not even close.

  12. The demons he had when he played, never left him, nor did the entitlement afforded him by Parcels. Who cringed at the thought of TO while in Dallas, but let Taylor run amok..on and off the field.

  13. I was busy watching the New England Patriots when Taylor played for NY Giants.

    He would never have cleared drug testing protocols, steroid use, HGH use, pain killers and other well-documented substances, er, ‘enhancements’.

    On the field, his abuse of players would have him suspended, repeatedly.

    But, yeah, other than that…

  14. Robot Impurity says:
    October 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm
    If LT was playing in today’s rules, he’d be out millions in fines and drawing 5 personal fouls a game.

    ————–

    I disagree… He was an expert at wrapping up the QB… he wasn’t trying to knock their head off, he was trying to wrap up their arms and get the ball. I think he would easily be the best today with some small adjustments in playing style.

  15. Robot Impurity says:
    October 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm
    If LT was playing in today’s rules, he’d be out millions in fines and drawing 5 personal fouls a game.
    ————–
    Not sure how much LT would be actually playing in today’s game given the crack down on drug use. LT was snorting more snow than Charles De Mar on the K-12.

  16. andydlev
    Great call on Derick Thomas. He would be the only person I’d mention in the same breath as “the” LT.

  17. The only pass rusher I have ever seen take over a game like LT could was Reggie White. Mack is a great player but he is no LT.

  18. Bill should take another look at Mack. He’s a more versatile player than LT was and he’s a better run defender. Both players are transcendent.

  19. I remember Pat Summerall calling Lawrence Taylor’s name so many times that I almost used to forget there was a team game going on. The guy was an absolute game changer that will never be duplicated.

  20. yeah, right, played on pcp, everyone knows, worst kept secret about LT….hardly the greatest of all time….

  21. superfanentertainment says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    That’s a VERY un-BEllichick response.
    I mean he’s being honest which is refreshing, but normally he would just follow with praise of Mack as a great player.
    I hope this lights a fire under Mack though and he busts Brady up on Sunday.

    ——————

    Belichick isn’t a liar. He’s not going to say someone is as good as Lawrence Taylor just because he’s playing against them. He will happily say Mack is a great player, because he is. He’s also not putting any former Patriots in Taylor’s class either.

  22. brazy44 says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm
    Their stats are comparable their first 4 years.

    Stats don’t reflect impact on the game. Were you lucky enough to see LT play?

  23. I agree with Bill. The media is always quick to crown and compare. Lets see where the rest of Mack’s career goes.

  24. What BB is really saying is that Mack or anyone else has to get coked out of their mind before games and order hookers for members of the opposing team in order to be in LT’s class.

  25. “Willie McGinest is a similar type of player”?

    What?’!?!?!

    I think my head just spun around. Similar because he played the same position….beyond that…..uh…..no.

    Check the stats.

    And I HATE Lawrence Taylor.

  26. There have been a lot of great defensive players but none were as great as LT. I remember when he broke Joe Theismans leg. He was unstoppable. I doubt there will ever be another like him. P.S. , I am not a Giants fan.

  27. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    LT is the MOST overrated defensive player in NFL history, all he did was free lance against the weak side of o-lines.
    Also the NY media made him out to be greater than he actually was.

    ————–

    Right… So when Belichick said Taylor was clearly the best player on the field even after 1 day as a rookie at practice in the NFL he must be making that up. Of course Belichick must not know anything about football since he’s only been a coach in 10 Super Bowls.

  28. Ask Joe Theisman how great LT is.

    In the never ending quest for Bulletin Board material, and or some splashy story line, the media asks these silly questions. I doubt even Mack would go on record saying he is better than LT.

    There are two players from the Giants that in BB’s mind are untouchable, LT and Mark Bavaro.

  29. 2bemoore43 says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Willie Mc & Derrick Thomas? is the hate for Ray Lewis that great?
    LT greatest linebacker in my lifetime… followed closely by Suga Ray Lewis

    ————————————————

    Different position, different roles. Ray Ray was probably somewhere in the top 10 of MLB, sure. LT is the kind of player that can only be compared to Jerry Rice, Reggie White, Jim Brown, or Tom Brady. Absolutely the cream of the crop.

  30. arun4fun7 says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:36 pm
    What BB is really saying is that Mack or anyone else has to get coked out of their mind before games and order hookers for members of the opposing team in order to be in LT’s class.
    ——–
    LOL!By this standard then Micheal Irvin is in LT’s class. LOL!

  31. The NFC East had THE greatest defenders for almost 20 years…with some overlap – Randy White, LT, Reggie White. All 3 could be even more dominant in today’s wussified era

  32. Geesh, Bill has really become Chatty Cathy in his old age. It’s refreshing. So much different from on to Cincinnati. I think if the Pats win the SB this year, Bill might take a bow.

  33. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    LT is the MOST overrated defensive player in NFL history, all he did was free lance against the weak side of o-lines.
    Also the NY media made him out to be greater than he actually was.

    ——————————————————

    Well apparently it’s so easy to pick on the weak side. I guess that’s why there’s so many dominant players like LT these days, even before all of the disadvantageous rules for roughing the passer.

  34. Let’s see. Was Lawrence Taylor ever a SuperBowl MVP? Uh…no. Who was? RAY LEWIS. Guess Belichickie doesn’t want to remember the guy whose team bonked him in the AFC championship and went on to win the Superbowl that he lost in humiliating fashion the year before. LOL.

  35. Robot Impurity says:
    October 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm
    If LT was playing in today’s rules, he’d be out millions in fines and drawing 5 personal fouls a game.
    ————–
    Doubt it, he’d adapt and play to whatever the rules of the day were … he was that good.

  36. LT was the best but nobody mentions Andre Tippett. Tippett was one of the best pass rushers in NFL history, but since he played during the LT years, he never gets any love.

    No, Tippett was not quite as good as LT, but he was the second-best in the league every year, and way better than some of the other names being bandied about in this thread.

  37. I agree Bill,
    however you would need to stick a 8 ball of cocaine up Mack nose right before a game for it to be apples vs apples on who is better.

  38. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    October 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Let’s see. Was Lawrence Taylor ever a SuperBowl MVP? Uh…no. Who was? RAY LEWIS.
    —————
    so was Chuck Howley, Larry Brown and Richard Dent…what’s your point?

  39. taylor is and was a complete dirt bag, but if bill says he was that good, then he was that good. media will twist this as a knock on mack of course, which is why belichick knows they can never be trusted.

  40. Millennial stat geeks have no idea, but LT changed how D is played. Really the only D player, that as a TV viewer, you ISO’d him every snap. I’m not exaggerating.

  41. I, personally, would put Ed Reed on my list of best defensive players of all-time ahead of Ray Lewis.

    And I would not put either of them ahead of Taylor, Reggie White, Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott, and others.

  42. As amazing as LT was, he was a 4-3 Will LB; extra DT and not typically fighting through the TE. Rickey Jackson was a Sam LB in a 3-4 defense who had to get through the DE and TE consistently to get a sack with one less DT.

    Rickey Jackson:

    1173 tackles, 128 career sacks, 40 forced fumbles, 29 fumbles recovered, 8 interceptions.

    Lawrence Taylor:

    1188 tackles, 132.5 career sacks, 33 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, 9 interceptions.

    Giants – large TV market; Saints – small TV market.

  43. All these posters want to bash LT for being on drugs. My thought process is the complete opposite. My God, he did all of that ON DRUGS. What the heck would he have done clean?

  44. whywerule says:
    October 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    I, personally, would put Ed Reed on my list of best defensive players of all-time ahead of Ray Lewis.

    And I would not put either of them ahead of Taylor, Reggie White, Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott, and others.

    6 1 Rate This

    ————————–

    Lott>Reed

    Reed is clsoe, but he wasn’t Lott.

  45. For you younger fans who never got to see Lawrence Taylor play, LT was JJ on steroids (or something like that).

  46. whywerule says:
    October 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I, personally, would put Ed Reed on my list of best defensive players of all-time ahead of Ray Lewis. And I would not put either of them ahead of Taylor, Reggie White, Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott, and others.
    ———
    good list … add Bruce Smith

  47. gisellichek says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    There are two players from the Giants that in BB’s mind are untouchable, LT and Mark Bavaro.
    ———————————–
    I suspect BB’s current TE would get his nod over Bavaro. Every day of the week and its not even close.

  48. Taylors sack numbers are a little depressed because they didnt count them for a year or 2 when he started. Alot of great pass rushers and I missed alot in their prime given my age but the older fans usually favor Lawrence Taylor.

  49. Just in the spirit of player comparisons. (Thank God! I could have these types of conversations every day. This is what fans talking sports is all about. Beats name calling and empty internet threats 10 times out of 10)

    To me (I know one is a safety and the other was a CB) Ed Reed was similar to Dion Sanders. Just big play waiting to happen. Don’t you dare let either of them get the ball in their hands because if you do they WILL score. Probably the best coverage CB and best coverage Safety to ever play the game. At least that I’ve seen with my owns eyes.

  50. The lamest thing in the NFL are clowns who call the hurty-feelings loser running back L.T.

    There was only one LT and he ate QBs.

    This would be like basketball people calling Mark Jackson – MJ.

    If you INSIST on calling the loser LT then make it “LT the lesser”.

  51. But did LT need drugs to play or was that recreation? Mack doesnt use drugs. Plus Lt, never had to go against players that are as big and athletic as they are today.

  52. I don’t put a lot of stock in criminals and druggies! Their play was/is always second to their first love!

  53. 2bemoore43 says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:31 pm
    Willie Mc & Derrick Thomas? is the hate for Ray Lewis that great?
    LT greatest linebacker in my lifetime… followed closely by Suga Ray Lewis
    *******************************

    Ray Lewis was an inside linebacker and one of the best. But he’s more comparable to Butkus and Singletary. LT is outside/hybrid DE/LB.

  54. Don’t know about all that. People like to romanticize the past to some extent. I haven’t seen anything like Mack, and he didn’t play with any other Hall of Famers next to him and didn’t have Belichick coordinating his defense in Oakland. Quite the contrary. This year is the first time you’ve seen him in a comparable situation, and he’s done things that even LT didn’t do. Bigger, stronger, faster, and QBs don’t hold the ball for 7-step drops hardly ever now like back then. If he does what he started off this year doing for 10 more years, a lot of people will change their tune. He’s as complete of a defensive player as I’ve ever seen.

  55. realfootballfan says:
    October 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm
    Don’t know about all that. People like to romanticize the past to some extent. I haven’t seen anything like Mack, and he didn’t play with any other Hall of Famers next to him and didn’t have Belichick coordinating his defense in Oakland.
    ——-
    Good point BUT it was a 28 team league back then.They draw from the same talent pool as today’s 32 team league but there were only 28 teams back then. That’s 244 guys (counting the taxi squad) that wouldn’t have a career if the NFL still only had 28 teams.

  56. Lawrence Taylor was so great that Bill was willing to break protocol and set the record straight, even at the expense of motivating Mack. That speaks volumes.

  57. I grew up in Miami and NYC in the 70’s on. Big fan, and I attended or watched just about every game Miami played. Lewis and Reed were really that good. If you saw that Ravens Super Bowl Run, you cannot doubt Lewis as a top five defender. You just can’t.

    But I agree with Belichek. I saw Taylor play. It’s not the stats. It was the intimidation. He was the most instinctual player I ever saw, with freakish athletic skill. Most people were beat before kickoff.

    Rickey Jackson was a great comment. So was Reggie, Sanders, Lott, Dent and Smith. These men had to be considered every single play. Mack may get there. Not yet, and in no way shape or form will he ever be LT.

  58. Waddle held mack in check last year!!!Waddle.

    For all you different era posters..LT(and others)played in an era where you played hurt..youngblood played on a broke leg,lott cut the tip of his finger off,concussions?Players these days would crumble..divas would get decapitated.

  59. If anybody thinks LT wasn’t the greatest ever, then they didn’t watch him play and are probably too young to have done so.

    He is BY FAR, the greatest defensive player of all time and arguably the greatest player ever, period.

  60. That was not a dig on Mack. BB was giving his honest opinion. He did not single out Mack. What he said was LT is in a league of his own.

  61. Great players would be able to adjust to todays rules. To think he wouldn’t be able to adjust is ridiculous. Lets not forget how bad the offensive lines are now, I think he would still be a nightmare to deal with. Teams would have to live off of quick slants, and CB’s would be sitting on those routes.

  62. The single-back offense which is the dominant scheme in the NFL today, started when Joe Gibbs simply couldn’t handle Lawrence Taylor with a single tackle. So he removed the fullback to put in an extra tight-end to help double-cover and in some cases triple-cover the man.

    Now, most single back offenses feature three wide outs, but I consider Lawrence Taylor as one of the reasons that fullbacks are now almost a novelty. He changed the game.

    That’s impact.

  63. The reporters were asking for Belichick’s opinion. And he gave it to them. You may have your own, different opinion, which is fine. Reporters were not asking for it, but that doesn’t make it less valid than BB’s.
    BB is not unerring, just take a look on his draft and FA signing history. It is not better the Regular Joe’s history. Only, he reaches more results with the same rooster than anybody else. And not afraid to step away from anyone not trying enough, no matter his drafting spot, or past results. You have to be able to admit you were wrong drafting someone as Ras-I Dowling or Dobson or Easley, or sign someone as Haynesworths or Ochocinco.
    Swinging often enough you have hit it some, like Amendola, Moss, Seau. BB is swinging more than anyone.

  64. I’m sure a lot of these people commenting here have never seen LT play other than on YouTube. I saw his entire career from start to finish, and no other LB dominated the play like LT. It almost seemed that no sooner was the ball was snapped that he was in the backfield creating mayhem, he was that disruptive a force. Those of us forced to witness Joe Theismann’s broken leg play over and over again on Monday Night Football can attest to that. In my opinion only Reggie White and Dick Butkus were as disruptive as LT.

  65. bcjs0108 says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:15 pm
    With L.T.s history of sex crime allegations, drug violation allegations, dui allegations, etc., etc., etc. it is a good thing he played in the era he played in. He would have been suspended more than he would have been available to play.
    ———————————————–
    I might agree with you, except he played for the Giants and wouldn’t have gotten even a slap on the wrist.

  66. If you saw LT play in real time you would understand. Not only is Belichick right its not even close. Mack is a marvelous player. Absolute brute. But he’s no LT. Not even close. Sorry Khalil. Nothing personal. It’s just business.

  67. jamaltimore says:
    October 17, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Sorry Ray Lewis is Greatest Defensive Player of All Time.
    )))))))))))))))))
    Ed Reed made more big plays than Ray did, so there that.

  68. I agree with Bill 100 percent. Plenty of names out there listed talented defensive players. Alan Page needs to be listed. He was the first defensive player to Be named NFL MVP. LT being the other.

  69. takeyourpunishmentandquitwhininglikeababy says:
    October 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm
    Let’s see. Was Lawrence Taylor ever a SuperBowl MVP? Uh…no. Who was? RAY LEWIS. Guess Belichickie doesn’t want to remember the guy whose team bonked him in the AFC championship and went on to win the Superbowl that he lost in humiliating fashion the year before. LOL.

    OK pump da brakes.

    Lewis got his SB win by NFL judicial fiat as did Manning in his last season. Anyone not wearing Raven or Bronco colors kjnows this to be true if they saw those games. Those entier seasons in fact. Total handoff.

    Now, I don’t understand why people downvote accusations of drug abuse during his playing days. LT is a know addict and it didn’t start after he left football.

    What does leave a stench in my nostrils is the obvious love BB still has for the NYG. I’m beginning to wonder if the 2008 & 2012 SBs were tanked. Maybe BB didn’t want to stain his old team. Hey, great coach, brought me 18 years of enjoyment but I’m beginning to smell something.

  70. And we are going to add one more point albeit maybe too late. The man was flat out smart. He defined the schem for Bill after waking up from being out all night!!! And asked how hard was that? Bill had nothing more to add. Smart!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!