What info do you wish you could get out of Belichick?

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MDLzera
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Someone had a great comment about Belichick on truth serum in the other thread and it got me thinking.

The situation: You are in possession of a unique piece of Lacrosse memorabilia which Bill Belichick covets. In exchange, you have demanded not money but rather that he answer 5 questions fully and honestly with elaboration, regardless of what they are, including follow-up / clarification questions on each subject. He has agreed, subject to an NDA.

What do you ask him?


I'm still debating my list, but I think the Jimmy trade is on there. Trades he most regrets, or near-misses on the draft, might be as well. Opponents or coaches he had a special trick to bamboozle. Maybe his honest and unvarnished thoughts on Bill Parcells, especially in light of the shenanigans of trying to force Belichick to stay and coach the Jets.
 

bankshot1

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A detailed discussion of the Malcolm situation
Hernandez-what did you know and when did you know you had a psycho-killer under a 5 year extension?
Brady or Jimmy breakdown/role of Bob Kraft?
The Parcells/Jets situation
Ernie Adams role or the thinking of 4th and 13 and not going for a 48 yarder.
 

Seels

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Why he seemingly gave up on the 2015 season:

Letting Chris Harper repeatedly catch punts
Pat Chung drop kick
Whatever the fuck the Jets overtime decision was
Not letting your HOF QB throw in the last game of the season with HFA on the line.
 
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I know he has touched on this a bit, but I am fascinated by his decision not to call a timeout with the Seahawks on the goal line. It seemed crazy to me at the time. It strikes me that his decision making in that moment was the perfect nexus of his experience and his intuition, both of which are obviously unparalleled.
 

tims4wins

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@BaseballJones came up with a great list of questions in the other thread. If limited to 5 I am asking him about:

- Butler
- Deflategate
- Jimmy situation / trade
- Spygate
- Biggest regrets (be it personnel, strategy, play call, etc.)
 

DJnVa

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While I think Belichick might possibly do something like write a book when he's done, I doubt it becomes a tell-all that will reflect badly on anyone--he's not throwing anyone under the bus for anything. Even if he knows Tom was some Deflategate mastermind, he's not going to say that.

But yea, those things @tims4wins mentions would likely be what I want to hear about if he's taking truth serum.
 

Jungleland

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Malcolm benching and JG (both the trade and current assessment) are miles ahead of the rest for me. Wouldn’t touch AHern with a ten foot pole, I’m comfortable with the answers we have there and different information could really only reflect poorly.
 

cornwalls@6

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On field/strategic: complete explanation of the Malcolm benching in 52.

Off field/controversies: why was taping opponents important enough to defy the league memo, and risk the shit show that followed, including deflate gate, and whatever may yet come of camera gate in Cincinnati . Was it willful, or really just an internal communications failure that caused them to do it one more time on that fateful September Sunday in 2007? How much about Hernandez’s off field life did he and the team really know leading up to the murders? Did Kraft really intervene on the decision to trade Jimmy G, and not Brady, in 2017? What has been the true state of his and Brady’s relationship since then?
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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On field/strategic: complete explanation of the Malcolm benching in 52.

Off field/controversies: why was taping opponents important enough to defy the league memo, and risk the shit show that followed, including deflate gate, and whatever may yet come of camera gate in Cincinnati . Was it willful, or really just an internal communications failure that caused them to do it one more time on that fateful September Sunday in 2007? How much about Hernandez’s off field life did he and the team really know leading up to the murders? Did Kraft really intervene on the decision to trade Jimmy G, and not Brady, in 2017? What has been the true state of his and Brady’s relationship since then?
Can you expand here? Specifically "internal communications failure", I'm not sure what you mean there; even an example would work. Unless you're suggesting he didn't know and someone didn't tell the video guy to move into the stands and otherwise carry on? Of course it was willful, he's basically admitted as such, that he was parsing words in the memo and his hubris got him.
 

cshea

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Most of them have been covered, but I’d throw in the game plan and overall strategy for the final game of the 2015 regular season in Miami.
 

cornwalls@6

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Can you expand here? Specifically "internal communications failure", I'm not sure what you mean there; even an example would work. Unless you're suggesting he didn't know and someone didn't tell the video guy to move into the stands and otherwise carry on? Of course it was willful, he's basically admitted as such, that he was parsing words in the memo and his hubris got him.
Yes, I have at times wondered if someone either failed to communicate to the video crew that they can no longer set up on the sideline, or if someone took initiative on their own to keep doing it. And he didn't want to publicly throw them under the bus, or was taking a "the buck stops here" approach. His admission, IIRC, was pretty vague, and didn't go into many details. You're probably right, he likely just said fuck the league, this is a stupid rule(which it is) and decided to just keep doing it. But since we're doing this little exercise, I have wondered, and would love to know the full details, of exactly what happened, as it's had such a ripple effect on the franchise since then.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Most have been covered, but I would like to hear his thoughts on the most overrated superstar QB.

Also, what top NFL coach does he think really sucks and why. (I am looking at you, Mike Tomlin)

Biggest draft regret that you did/didn't overrule.

Is Matthew Slater a Hall of Famer? (He probably will answer this, but I want to extend my time with him and this gives me at least an extra 30 minutes).
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Yes, I have at times wondered if someone either failed to communicate to the video crew that they can no longer set up on the sideline, or if someone took initiative on their own to keep doing it. And he didn't want to publicly throw them under the bus, or was taking a "the buck stops here" approach. His admission, IIRC, was pretty vague, and didn't go into many details. You're probably right, he likely just said fuck the league, this is a stupid rule(which it is) and decided to just keep doing it. But since we're doing this little exercise, I have wondered, and would love to know the full details, of exactly what happened, as it's had such a ripple effect on the franchise since then.
Yeah, we just disagree; I don't think he'd not have known, if for no other reason than he'd be the one receiving the tape end of day and would find out about it; plenty others on top of that. I guess if I had 20 questions I might, but 5? No way, it doesn't exactly eat at me.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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His thoughts on the unannounced rule changes put into place right before the second Eagles Super Bowl that caused him to use two challenges he might have otherwise saved, if he was aware and still thought he had a shot at getting either call overturned.
 

BaseballJones

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On field/strategic: complete explanation of the Malcolm benching in 52.

Off field/controversies: why was taping opponents important enough to defy the league memo, and risk the shit show that followed, including deflate gate, and whatever may yet come of camera gate in Cincinnati . Was it willful, or really just an internal communications failure that caused them to do it one more time on that fateful September Sunday in 2007? How much about Hernandez’s off field life did he and the team really know leading up to the murders? Did Kraft really intervene on the decision to trade Jimmy G, and not Brady, in 2017? What has been the true state of his and Brady’s relationship since then?
I can guarantee that BB had NO IDEA that the NFL would come down so hard on the taping. It was widely known around the league that the Pats did this, and there was no punishment ever given for it. They caught the Jets doing it the year before and the NFL did nothing. Why would he think that doing it involved some huge risk? He's said multiple times that they weren't doing it in secret. They were doing it in the wide open in front of 80,000 people.
 

cornwalls@6

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I can guarantee that BB had NO IDEA that the NFL would come down so hard on the taping. It was widely known around the league that the Pats did this, and there was no punishment ever given for it. They caught the Jets doing it the year before and the NFL did nothing. Why would he think that doing it involved some huge risk? He's said multiple times that they weren't doing it in secret. They were doing it in the wide open in front of 80,000 people.
I agree he couldn’t be expected to know quite the level of over-reaction that would ensue from the league, media, and public. But the league memo prior to the opening weekend of 2007 was at least the second warning, IIRC. It seems like a guy as smart, detail oriented, and who spends as much time and energy preparing for contingencies as he does, must have anticipated some kind of blow back /negative consequences for pushing the envelope one more time.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I agree he couldn’t be expected to know quite the level of over-reaction that would ensue from the league, media, and public. But the league memo prior to the opening weekend of 2007 was at least the second warning, IIRC. It seems like a guy as smart, detail oriented, and who spends as much time and energy preparing for contingencies as he does, must have anticipated some kind of blow back /negative consequences for pushing the envelope one more time.
And this stance leads you to think some rogue assistant may have circumvented his authority and done the taping without his consent?

His soliders do not take matters into their own hands, Lt. Kaffee.
 

cornwalls@6

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And this stance leads you to think some rogue assistant may have circumvented his authority and done the taping without his consent?

His soliders do not take matters into their own hands, Lt. Kaffee.
Or, as I also stated, someone fucked up and failed to get the message communicated. Whatever. I’m curious about it, you’re not. Maybe list your questions, instead of fixating this much on one of mine.
 

54thMA

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I'd ask him "What the Hell did you trade Jay Buhner for? 30 Home Runs, over 100 RBI's, a rocket for an arm; you don't know what the Hell you're doing!"
 

bigq

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I would be interested to hear his thoughts on how things would have played out differently if Bledsoe had not been knocked out by Mo Lewis in 2001.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I was thinking Ras-I Dowling. Top pick of the second round, when there had to be players sitting there that another team would want to jump up to get.
Yeah I remember (perhaps incorrectly) that was either the first or second year that th second round started on the next day and the Pats held the biggest piece left to auction off. All the talking heads had them moving it for multiple picks (Dalton, Sheard, Ayers, etc) there was a lotta lumber left out there and then he took Dowling. SMH.
 

SMU_Sox

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Cheating a bit because some questions have multiple parts. I would ask him about schemes and draft. Honestly I'd rather flesh out some open ended questions then have narrow and specific ones.

1) How has your drafting philosophy with Wide Receivers changed, what do you look for in each WR position, and why did you pick Harry vs Deebo and AJ Brown? Please explain why you thought Harry was going to be an X at the next level in your answer. Additional context: Usually you drafted X receivers who were athletic freaks like Chad Jackson and you told Dimitroff to not take Julio when he could get a Jonathan Baldwin later. From Holly's book:
He often says that the primary job of a receiver is to simply get open and catch the ball, and he doesn't like what he sees from Jones in either department. He thinks the receiver struggles to get open on intermediate routes, doesn't play as fast as his superb timed speed suggests, and too often displays inconsistent hands. There's also the issue of value. When Belichick began studying the 2011 draft, he saw great depth at the receiver position. Why go all-out for someone like Jones when you can likely have a Jonathan Baldwin, who, as far as Belichick can see, is just as good if not better than Jones?
Seeing Harry as the pick makes me think this changed as he was schemed open, had tons of manufactured touches, and getting open was his biggest issue as a receiver in college.

2) You guys have traded up and/or selected some lesser known names during day 2 like Vollmer and recently Dalton Keene (aka Rambo). I know this is covered in books about you but do you have a general idea of when you have to take those guys and who else might be very interested in them? How much do you know about other teams and their boards now that you are on truth serum?

3) It seems like your philosophy of investing heavily in the front 7 and in particular the DTs and has shifted to investing more in the secondary and scheming up pressure through a multitude of stunts, exotic blitzes, not traditional edge rushers winning 1v1. Why is that the case - is it based on your resources, draft slots, costs, a way to save money and have similar production, a reason I am not thinking of, and/or a combination of a lot of these? To add more context to that, Mike Lombardi mentioned that if you had early picks you build a defense through elite IDLs. Early in your tenure when you picked earlier in the first round you picked Richard Seymour and Ty Warren. Since Malcom Brown you haven't selected any DTs but Vincent Valentine in the top 3 rounds. To continue that theme you only drafted one edge in the top 50, Chandler Jones, HT @Super Nomario who is on his way to the HOF... Warren and Seymour were both pro-bowl caliber types with Seymour also on the way to being a HOFer.

4) We recently saw your 1990s related scouting profiles on what you wanted per each position. While it is apparent that there are a lot of things that haven't changed in terms of what you look for in each position can you take us through each position and update it as well as let us know which position changed the most for you?

5) Can you take us through some of your draft misses and hits and give us central themes if there are any aside from injuries? Given that most draft prospects do not work out but you are drafting as both a coach and a GM so you know how you want to use the player and have a plan for them is there anything as a drafter over the years you've learned that you think is not random? For example with Ron Brace and Chad Jackson maybe you listened to coaching friends you respected and went against your own scouting? Are there any common themes with the draft busts aside from injuries? Did you have any close calls between 1-3 prospects that you wish you went with the different guy and vice versa where you had it between two and you picked the right one and the other guys turned out to be a bust? And continuing on that path what are some of the common traits that are either exclusive to or that were featured by your draft successes? This is the most open ended question but also detail oriented question.
 
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Super Nomario

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From Holly's book:
Michael Holley said:
He often says that the primary job of a receiver is to simply get open and catch the ball, and he doesn't like what he sees from Jones in either department. He thinks the receiver struggles to get open on intermediate routes, doesn't play as fast as his superb timed speed suggests, and too often displays inconsistent hands. There's also the issue of value. When Belichick began studying the 2011 draft, he saw great depth at the receiver position. Why go all-out for someone like Jones when you can likely have a Jonathan Baldwin, who, as far as Belichick can see, is just as good if not better than Jones?
A lot to unpack with this quote, but I think the funniest part is that for all the "great depth" at the receiver position, the Patriots drafted no one. Maybe they were still all-in on Taylor Price.
 

ShaneTrot

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I am interested in the in-game strategy in the loss to the Giants in the first Super Bowl and the loss to the Jets in the divisional playoffs. Does he regret not running the ball more in both those games, especially in the Jets game where they flooded the middle of the field with DBs. Plus why was the Pats defense unable to prevent long drives in both Giants' SB and Jets' losses? Why go for it on 4th and 13 at the Giants 31 when you had a great kicker?
 

ShaneTrot

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Yeah I remember (perhaps incorrectly) that was either the first or second year that th second round started on the next day and the Pats held the biggest piece left to auction off. All the talking heads had them moving it for multiple picks (Dalton, Sheard, Ayers, etc) there was a lotta lumber left out there and then he took Dowling. SMH.
I really have no problem with the Dowling pick. He was hurt most of the time he was in NE. He was a superior athlete, he ran a 4.4 40 and was highly regarded coming out of Virginia. I have no problem with the Dawson pick, he was a good athlete and had a good SEC pedigree, he hurt his hamstring and was buried in a really deep CB depth chart. If Jonathan Jones and JC Jackson are better, and they like Joejuan Williams's potential better, it is what it is. Now you could bicker why take Williams when you have all these CBs? I can even tolerate Cyrus Jones, he was picked as a return specialist, fumbled a ton, and then blew out his knee. But Jordan Richards and Tavon Wilson, I cannot accept, they were drafted with premium picks and they are not premium athletes and would have been available much later in the draft. Wilson has carved himself out a nice career but he is just a guy and Richards don't get me started.
 

SMU_Sox

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Respectfully Tavon Wilson was a good athlete with good speed and good agilities.

31187

Define premium athlete? We talking an 8+ RAS? 9+? 7.77 is nothing to turn your nose up at.
 
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Papelbon's Poutine

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I really have no problem with the Dowling pick. He was hurt most of the time he was in NE. He was a superior athlete, he ran a 4.4 40 and was highly regarded coming out of Virginia.
He was injury prone in college and couldn't even finish his combine. He had talent but a lot of questions about staying healthy, which he could never do. I got no problem taking a shot at a guy like that, or even a Dominique Easley, I was just surprised he didn't move back and get him later; there wasn't a lot of heat on him going there.
 

SMU_Sox

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He was injury prone in college and couldn't even finish his combine. He had talent but a lot of questions about staying healthy, which he could never do. I got no problem taking a shot at a guy like that
Gronk tested but he missed his entire final year of college and was a huge injury risk too. BB takes health risks in the 2nd round with guys he feels are good talents.

Regarding Wilson: he has also taken guys who he thought could be good 3rd safety types who probably would contribute to ST like Wilson and Richards. I think BB saw running 3 safeties as the way to defeat more wide open offenses so he swung "early" there. If Wilson were in the draft now I think he would generate more buzz. Plus now-a-days with draft twitter there really aren't any guys who are unknowns to the fans. Also it is the media and not the teams that are giving us draft info. If the Falcons or 2-3 other teams also had Wilson ranked highly AND he has carved out a good career isn't the mistake on BB the coach or that Wilson just developed more after he left after 4 years (which can happen but not as often)? With Jordan Richards and Tavon Wilson I think Bill saw that critical box and/or3rd safety who could be versatile. With Richards he underestimated his athleticism or lack thereof and how much that could limit his effectiveness.

Wilson and Chung are similar types of athletes which I think helps solve what Bill was going for:

31188
 

SMU_Sox

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Just to be complete here are the best scores for Jordan Richards. I think he was an average athlete at the position test wise but starting wise he was definitely below average.

31189

I can't remember if he was used against slots or not but he looks like a box/slot safety type from his athletic testing. He was used against RBs but that didn't exactly go well. Anyone remember what his primary duties were aside from sucking wind?
 

Marciano490

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I’d love to hear him shit on Mangini for a couple hours.

Would also like to hear how he handled or tried to handle LT.
 

scottyno

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How good did he actually think Brady would be, both when he drafted him and when he kept him as the 4th qb.

Who does he consider both his best and worst draft picks and why just because it would be interesting to get in his head as to the skill vs luck part of drafting
 

InstaFace

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A lot to unpack with this quote, but I think the funniest part is that for all the "great depth" at the receiver position, the Patriots drafted no one. Maybe they were still all-in on Taylor Price.
It's the Ron Borges Quote of Bill Belichick quotes, no doubt. Though of course, unlike Borges, Belichick got the last laugh wrt to Dimitroff and Julio.

Cheating a bit because some questions have multiple parts. I would ask him about schemes and draft. Honestly I'd rather flesh out some open ended questions then have narrow and specific ones.
These are great questions, but honestly they are so up his alley that if you caught him on the right summer day in nantucket, and weren't obviously a member of the media, he might well answer #s 1, 3 and 4 for you just because he'd enjoy the process.
 

patinorange

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What did Malcolm Butler do and was the punishment worth losing the Super Bowl?
And what the hell with that Ebner drop kick against Chip Kelly?
Why is 3rd and 18 always an issue with BB defenses? (Ok, maybe that's my fanboy perspective)
Was that poor return on the Jimmy trade Kraft's fault?
What's it like to be the greatest coach in all of football history????
 

chief1

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I really have no problem with the Dowling pick. He was hurt most of the time he was in NE. He was a superior athlete, he ran a 4.4 40 and was highly regarded coming out of Virginia. I have no problem with the Dawson pick, he was a good athlete and had a good SEC pedigree, he hurt his hamstring and was buried in a really deep CB depth chart. If Jonathan Jones and JC Jackson are better, and they like Joejuan Williams's potential better, it is what it is. Now you could bicker why take Williams when you have all these CBs? I can even tolerate Cyrus Jones, he was picked as a return specialist, fumbled a ton, and then blew out his knee. But Jordan Richards and Tavon Wilson, I cannot accept, they were drafted with premium picks and they are not premium athletes and would have been available much later in the draft. Wilson has carved himself out a nice career but he is just a guy and Richards don't get me started.
Cunningham over Dunlap
Still cant get over it
 

BuellMiller

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What did Malcolm Butler do and was the punishment worth losing the Super Bowl?
And what the hell with that Ebner drop kick against Chip Kelly?
Why is 3rd and 18 always an issue with BB defenses? (Ok, maybe that's my fanboy perspective)
Was that poor return on the Jimmy trade Kraft's fault?
What's it like to be the greatest coach in all of football history????
“Remember when you were down 28-3 and came back and won SB51?... That was awesome.”
 

Caspir

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I thought everyone knew the Butler story with the girl in his room, the hotel calling Pats security about weed smoke and noise and his physical confrontation with Steve Belichick in the room? I’ve read it in a few places so even if it’s exaggerated, it seems like it is on the right track. Conjecture to be sure, but if that’s the real story I doubt we get more details anytime soon.

That one bothers me more than ‘07 because Philly was not a very good team and it broke up what would’ve been a three peat.