Patriots coach Bill Belichick has sent many assistants out into the league to become head coaches.
And he continues to beat them.
That can be a bit of a touchy subject for them, when they get out on their own and can’t do anything about the old boss. Texans coach Bill O’Brien is 0-5 against Belichick since getting that job, and has been criticized in recent games for playing it a little too safe.
“Every year’s different,” O’Brien said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “Obviously, we’ve struggled against the Patriots in past years. But this is a different year. Every year’s different,” said O’Brien. “Our team’s different. Their team is a little bit different. We just have to go out there on Sunday night and play a clean game. We’ve gotta play hard. We’ve gotta be competitive for 60 minutes and see what happens.”
What will likely happen is O’Brien will be 0-6, because Belichick’s team is better. But the aura of the coach may have a chilling effect on some opponents, and have a subliminal effect on decision-making in close games.
“You can’t go into any game or anything in life [afraid],” Titans coach and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel said. “You can’t go in [against the Patriots] thinking, ‘I gotta be cautious’ . . . you can’t play this game cautious or tentative. If you do, you won’t play very well . . . and when it comes to Bill, you really have to take the emotion out of it. ”
Vrabel also didn’t dismiss the idea that Belichick is intimidating in his own way.
“It’s a competitive league. Bill’s had success over a long amount of time. I don’t know. He’s not physically intimidating, but really, the thing is, if you hand it to them, they’re good enough to take it, and take advantage of every mistake you make,” he said. “If that’s intimidation, I don’t know. But if you make a mistake, you can pretty much count on them turning it in their favor.”
O’Brien knows that all too well.