Belichick takes blame for broken coverage that led to Dolphins score

Belichick takes blame for broken coverage that led to Dolphins score

The Patriots watched most of their 20-0 lead evaporate against the Dolphins after allowing back-to-back touchdown drives in the second and third quarters.

The second of those -- a 25-yard pass from Matt Moore to Kenny Stills -- appeared to fall on the shoulders of Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy. It appeared as though Van Noy's responsibility was in the deep middle of the field, but he did not get deep enough, and Stills was wide open for a score that made the game 20-14.

Asked about the play in a conference call on Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick sounded exasperated. Not necessarily with Van Noy, but with himself.

"What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to have the pattern covered but we didn’t," he said. "Yeah, I mean I think really that play is probably more my fault than anybody else’s. There were certainly things that could’ve been better on it, but in the end we have some flexibility in our coverages, and we make adjustments in coverages from time to time based on a formation or based on the type of pattern that another team is running.

"I think this was just one of those where really the players, they were trying to do the right thing. We were trying to get to something that would’ve helped us, but it just kind of didn’t work out and that’s, again, really probably more my fault because we just didn’t have it clean enough. It just wasn’t presented well enough, not that they didn’t understand it, and it just obviously didn’t play out the way we wanted it to."

The Dolphins lined up initially with a three-by-one set that became a three-by-two, five-wide set with Moore in the shotgun. When running back Damien Williams motioned out wide, linebacker Dont'a Hightower (on the right edge) can be seen signalling to Van Noy in the middle of the field. Simultaneously, Devin McCourty signals to Patrick Chung, and Chung drops to help Eric Rowe and Hightower with Williams and slot receiver Jarvis Landry. 

From his spot seven yards off the line of scrimmage, Van Noy immediately looks to Stills at the snap and settles into a zone near the Patriots' 10-yard line. Expecting help behind him, Van Noy watches Stills run right by him and makes no sudden move to pick up the receiver until Moore's pass is floating over his head. 

The closest safety to the play was McCourty, but he was occupied by a receiver running to the front corner of the end zone on his side.

In the end, whatever Hightower and McCourty were signalling to their teammates in the moments just before the Dolphins snap didn't appear to get communicated to Van Noy. 

"The players are trying to do the right thing," Belichick said. "They had the right idea. We were trying to apply something, and we just didn’t quite have it right, and that really goes back to me more than anybody else, so I’ll take that one."

Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Pro day circuit shows Belichick in his element

Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard. 

The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.

Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the ‘Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.

Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet. 

This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters? 

It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it. 

Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.  



Patriots re-sign LB Marquis Flowers

Patriots re-sign LB Marquis Flowers

Linebacker Marquis Flowers is headed back to the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $2.55 million, according to his agent, Sean Stellato. 

Flowers, 26, a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, was acquired by the Patriots near the end of training camp last year for a seventh-round pick. 

More to come...