FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick has spoken to the media six times since the New England Patriots lost in Week 1 to the Kansas City Chiefs, so there weren’t many questions left to ask him Friday during his final news conference before his team takes on the Saints in New Orleans.
Maybe that’s why there were only seven reporters and four cameras present for the intimate presser with the Patriots head coach. It was a good time to ask Belichick some more obscure questions, like who’s the fastest player he’s ever coached.
First, he wanted to know what distance we’re talking here. Let’s start with the longest.
“I mean, there’s 60, 80 yards,” Belichick said. “That’s not the most common thing in football. But yeah, (Matthew) Slater at that distance, (Randy) Moss, Perry Williams.
“I mean, there’s guys that run 30 to 40 yards and guys zero to 10. Guys that really don’t have that long, top-end speed, but they have the first-20 speed. In some ways, they’re tougher to defend. That speed is more effective in football than 40-to-60 or 60-to-80 speed. If you’re covering kicks, then you need 60-yard speed. Twenty is not really enough. They catch up to you after 20. Being able to get to top speed and I’d say being able to hold top speed, that’s what a strong runner could do. He could hold it, not just get there, but actually hold it and sustain it for another 20, 30, 40 yards.”
What about the zero-t0-20 speed?
“I mean, you look at a guy like Deion Branch,” Belichick said. “He didn’t have that kind of top-end speed that some receivers had, but initially off the line of scrimmage, getting into the route fast. Yeah, I mean a lot of guys. (Devin) McCourty is another guy that has probably good speed at all three levels — 20, 40, 60 kind of speed, can run well at all of those spots.”
The Patriots’ current fastest players, based on 40-yard dash times, are cornerback Jonathan Jones and wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett, all of whom ran the drill in 4.33 seconds at the NFL Draft Combine. Dorsett improved his time to 4.28 seconds at his pro day.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks with cornerback Devin McCourty (32) and outside linebacker Jerod Mayo