NFL Media analyst and former scout Daniel Jeremiah made an interesting find during social distancing: old scouting notes from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Jeremiah, who worked as a scout with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, shared the write-up, focusing on offense, Tuesday on Twitter.
I think you’ll enjoy this… We were given this handout during a scout school from my time with the Ravens. Coach Belichick has held true to almost all of this over the years. pic.twitter.com/pWB3oqo5JU
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 31, 2020
ESPN’s Mike Reiss made some notable takeaways to the breakdown in an article Wednesday morning, highlighting Belichick’s approach to finding a tight end.
“Don’t let the lack of blocking ability eliminate a good player,” Belichick wrote in 1991. That’s when the NFL emphasized running the ball much more than they do in today’s league.
Reiss also underscored what Belichick was looking for a quarterback at the time.
“#1 is to make good decisions — then arm, size, physically tough, leadership, guys look up to and have confidence in, a real competitor,” Belichick wrote. “Accurate rather than guy with a cannon. Emphasis on our game will be on decision, timing, accuracy — guy needs to be confident, intelligence is important but not as much so as field awareness & judgment. Can’t be sloppy fundamentally unsound guy with ball handling, [techniques] etc.”
Reading that, it’s hard to understand how the Patriots drafted quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. It also would eliminate the possibility of the Patriots signing free-agent QB Jameis Winston, who threw 30 interceptions in 2019.
What Belichick wrote about wide receivers at the time was also interesting.
“#1 has to be able to get off (the line of scrimmage) whether (with) size, speed, quicks or any combination of the three, then has to be able to catch, can improve hands to some degree,” Belichick wrote. “Has to be able to run disciplined routes, not necessarily smart, just disciplined, have to get where they’re going (and) how they’re getting there. Cannot do his own thing. Receiver needs good running ability after the catch, want to hit the receivers on the run (and) let them run with ball either over, elude or by with speed. Speed only enters the equation in relation to players’ ability to escape the (line of scrimmage). Good leap and timing are more important than speed — need good upper body strength and quickness. Frail guy without good quickness is dead. A mismatch type guy, quick, elusive, big, physical type guy or any combo of those qualities can be your third receiver.”
Belichick’s ideal receiver seemingly fits Patriots 2019 first-round pick, N’Keal Harry, to a T. Harry is known for his size, strength, ability to run after the catch and leaping ability.
It’s also notable that Belichick doesn’t particularly value pure speed when it comes to a receiver. There’s a popular opinion when it comes to the Patriots’ offense that they need a Tyreek Hill-esque player to add a jolt of speed. Opinions can change in nearly 30 years, but it seems like speed came last in Belichick’s personal evaluation of a wide receiver back in 1991.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images