Patriots coach Bill Belichick recently heaped praise on Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, ostensibly. Some around the league are viewing the comments as containing something slightly different than praise.
“I’ve certainly changed a lot in the last 30 years, schematically,” Belichick told reporters. “Wade really . . . hasn’t. He really hasn’t. You’ve got to give him credit for that. The system has lasted. I mean, really, this is part of his dad’s system that he’s developed and adapted and developed there. I mean, I have a ton of respect for what he’s done and how he’s done it over every different kind of offense you can see. Multiple tight ends, run-and-shoot, 10 personnel, 11 personnel, 12 personnel, 21, 22. He’s been able to do the same thing — not the same thing, but his system has been able to handle all that. And I think that’s a real credit to what he put together 30 years ago.”
Some have taken a closer look at those comments as an indication that, come Sunday, Belichick will pick apart the Wade Phillips defense, since it’s basically alway the same attack, the same system, the same everything that it’s always been.
Of course, that didn’t help the Patriots three years ago, when New England lost to the Broncos, a team with a defense coordinated by Wade Phillips at the time. The fact that Belichick would so openly and nonchalantly comment on the continuity of scheme, however, looks and feels like, to some, an indication that Belichick has it figured out — with the only question being whether the New England players can execute in a way that overcomes the talent of the L.A. defense’s current players.