Patriots

NFL exec explains how Patriots' Bill Belichick is doing great coaching job in 2019

NFL exec explains how Patriots' Bill Belichick is doing great coaching job in 2019

Bill Belichick is the greatest head coach in NFL history, and his performance for the New England Patriots in 2019 has been nothing less than stellar.

The Patriots enter their Week 10 bye with the best record in the AFC at 8-1, and this success has come despite injuries to key players, the lack of an effective run game and plenty of turnover on the coaching staff after last season, among other things.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer recently polled NFL executives on several topics, and one question posed was: Which coach is doing the most with the least and why? One executive pointed to Belichick and explained why the 67-year-old coach is going a great job this season.

“Bill Belichick is doing the most with least. He’s missing two offensive tackles and a center, doesn’t have a mismatch TE or WR and his QB is aging. They have some Pro Bowlers in the secondary but no game-wreckers up front, and two of their best, Collins and Van Noy, did not play nearly the same with their other teams—neither did Shalique Calhoun, Lawrence Guy or Stephen Gilmore to name a few. Dude is amazing.”

There's no question Belichick's best work in 2019 has been seen in the Patriots defense. This unit is allowing the fewest points per game and leads the league in takeaways. The pass rush also has been much improved with 32 sacks, two more than this defense tallied all of last season.

Belichick is in his 20th season as Patriots head coach, and in a few weeks he'll likely have his 18th season with 10 or more wins over that two-decade span. A lot of this success comes down to preparation -- no team in the league is better prepared each week than the Patriots. The Patriots have the toughest part of their schedule coming up, but luckily for them, they have a Week 10 bye during which Belichick will be able to self-scout his team and make the necessary corrections to ensure a strong finish to the season.

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Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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