September 21, 2016


It's Bill Belichick's system that lifts Patriots while others crash without QB (Karen Guregian, September 21, 2016, Bioston Herald)

Former Patriots tackle Matt Light said it's because the Belichick Way is built for disasters. So if Tom Brady is out, it stinks -- but it won't sink the ship.

"As Tom Brady goes, sure, the Patriots are going to go as well. But if he's not there, it's not a total collapse because everything is based off the system versus the individual," Light said. "And that's clear in every decision that's made. Contractually, personnel-wise, every decision is geared toward, as Bill would say, putting the best people on the field that have earned the right to play for the Patriots. So I'd say within the environment Bill has created, with the coaching staff and the next-man-up mentality, you don't have to worry as much about when those disasters hit."

In 2008, the Patriots had their first go-round without Brady for almost an entire season thanks to a torn ACL. This year, a Deflategate-spawned suspension has taken him away for the first four games.

The Patriots didn't make the playoffs in 2008 but were a hard-luck 11-5 with Matt Cassel under center. Currently, the Pats are 2-0 with the Jimmy Garoppolo-Jacoby Brissett tag team. Moreover, they're 2-0 without Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Dion Lewis and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, with linebacker Dont'a Hightower and left tackle Nate Solder also missing time.

The adversity pile keeps growing, but there's still no sense of panic even with Brissett, a rookie, in line to start tomorrow night against the Texans.

Former Pats offensive coordinator Charlie Weis also credited his old boss and the system. He might be biased, but that comes with having worked for Belichick during three of the team's Super Bowl wins. He was there when Brady replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe.

"You see other teams and the same thing happens, and they fall apart," Weis said. "But in New England, you really have to look at the head coach. He has such a calm about him. In this game coming up, the expectations he'll have will be nothing less than playing great. And if I'm a Patriots fan and I'm watching this, I know one thing: They've been there, done that. They'll figure it out. There's just too much evidence that he's got it handled."

Whether it's employing an offensive system that's predicated on having a quarterback who's smart, decisive and gets rid of the ball quickly -- along with receivers who are smart and can get open in a hurry -- Belichick just plugs in pieces that are going to work for him. He won't allow excuses.

"A lot of teams, their star quarterback goes down, or their star player goes down, and they start hanging their heads. They allow it to seep in and become an excuse as to why they can't win or get the job done," former Pats offensive lineman Damien Woody, now an ESPN analyst, said. "With coach Belichick, he doesn't allow them to entertain that thought: We have a system in place, we have the coaches, the players . . . regardless of who goes down, we're going to plug somebody else in, and we're still going to make this thing go. So it's Bill, it's the system, and it's the mindset."

It's because players don't matter that they can carry one of the youngest and cheapest rosters in the NFL.

Posted by at September 21, 2016 7:03 PM