NFL ANALYST

Cassel: The genius in how Belichick preps for a matchup like Kansas City

NFL ANALYST

When you play for Bill Belichick, you feel like you're the underdog every week.

When you're about to face teams you should beat, the way he presents those teams to you during the week is really interesting, because he'll show film cut-up after film cut-up of successful plays and really good players on that team.

He'll give you a basic understanding that, while you might not appreciate their record, they have talented players and a talented scheme that's had success in the past. So, if you take them lightly, you could get beat.

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That's his approach week in and week out. It doesn’t really change from one week to the next. He demonstrates that every team is good, and this week's matchup with the Chiefs is no different.

He’s not going to tell them, “Guys, we’re 7-point underdogs in all the betting circles.” Because he really doesn’t care what everybody says on the outside. It’s all about in the building.

So, he’ll present this game the same way he presents every week. He’ll say, “Look, these guys are an issue,” whether it’s Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill. And he lays out a perfect plan of action offensively: This is what we need to do in order to win this game, whether it’s running the ball, controlling possession, being diligent with the ball or attacking a certain player. Defensively, he’ll go through his five to six keys to winning the game, then do special teams.

 

He’ll present that on Wednesday, and as you work through the week, you start to get a very good understanding for the general scheme they run. By the time you get to Friday, it’s all laid out for you. You completely understand the complexities of the game and what you need to do in order to win.

There’s consistency in his approach, and that consistency is what makes him so good every week -- and why the Patriots usually beat the teams they're supposed to beat.

During the week, you can't tell if you’re facing the No. 1 offense or defense in the league or the No. 32 offense or defense based on the film he puts on. He’s giving you visual evidence that every team has talent. They may not be as consistent as other teams, but if you think you can just show up on Sunday, this team can beat you.

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He keeps the same approach after games, too. He'll run down that list of keys to victory for offense, defense and special teams, and it’s very clear that if we hit those marks, then we usually win the game. If we don’t win, it’s usually because we didn’t hit a number of those items on that list. So, it’s very clear and distinct why we lost the game if we did. 

It’s the same as it would be after a win. You review the film and get an understanding for where things went wrong, what could we have done better, and then make corrections off that. And that’s what helps get you ready for the following week.

He almost has a little less criticism after a loss, because he understands we’re all pissed off about how we played. So, he's almost more encouraging to get us back focused on what we need to do so that we can have better results the following week.

You may feel like an underdog playing for Belichick, but he won't play that card with Kansas City. He’ll just tell you flat-out: "Look, this team is outstanding and has a lot of great skill players. However, this is what we need to do to accomplish a victory Sunday."