FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick hates discussing the past. Ironically enough, he also relies on it to help his team prepare.
The New England Patriots head coach discussed in detail Wednesday how he and his coaching staff use film of former players and old games to teach their current players techniques or plays. These throwback film sessions can include clips from as early as the 2001 season and feature Patriots legends such as Randy Moss, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi.
“We use plenty of film of players as examples of plays or techniques or examples from other players, other years,” Belichick said in a press conference at Gillette Stadium. “We go all the way back to ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’05, and all the years in between.
“I show them — I know our position coaches use them on different techniques and different plays, different situations that we can learn from through the years. So yeah, we do that. Not extensively, but we certainly do it, yeah.”
Other teams may not get much use out of this exercise, as new coaches usually bring in completely new playbooks and schemes. But since the Patriots employ the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL and have enjoyed a relatively low turnover on their staff, Belichick can dig into the archives to find old clips that still have relevance in New England’s 2018 playbook.
“Some of those plays we can actually call the play — we were in this defense or we ran this play in this situation and they know what they play, is because we still have it,” Belichick said. “Or maybe it’s something that we ran and we’ve changed it so that this guy does this and that guy does that; it’s a little bit different than the way we ran it in whatever year, and this is why: to handle something else that we want to deal with as we progressed it over the period of time.
“Yeah, that comes up, especially as we get further along into situational football.”
Outside of specific schemes, old tape can be useful simply to teach proper technique. What better way to help Cordarralle Patterson run better “go” routes than by showing him film of Randy Moss burning defenses?
It also helps when you’ve had enough talent on your roster to reach eight Super Bowls in the last 17 seasons. Belichick ran through a brief list of ex-Patriots he’s featured in film sessions — with tight end Dan Graham even making the cut.
“Some of the individual player techniques, the way they do things are very good for other guys who are doing it now and maybe didn’t see some of those players — the Rodney Harrison’s, the (Tedy) Bruschi’s, the Troy Brown’s, the (Randy) Moss’, the Kevin Faulk’s, guys like that, Dan Graham, you know, a lot of them that we can use as examples,” Belichick said.
So, the next time Belichick says he’s not here to talk about the past, just note there’s one exception.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images