The guys over at MMQB put together a really interesting piece on Bill Belichick, and it all started with a rather obscure question about what it was like for a kicker in the 60's.
Belichick, whose coaching career began as a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975, rambled on and on with a response that went over 1,000 words, and if you've ever seen a Bill Belichick press conference you understand how just how wild that is. Reflecting back on that answer, Jonathan Jones of MMQB dug into Belichick's answers at press conferences and found some great nuggets where Belichick shares tips on special teams, its evolution over the years, and some of the calls Belichick wishes he had back over the years.
The amount of detail and thought that Belichick shares in some of these answers over the years is a huge part of reason Belichick is considered one of the best in the game.
Among some of the highlights of the piece:
On what it takes to be a good punter:
“I think punting is a little bit like golf. It’s not just standing out there on the driving range and hitting drives. A lot of it is situational punting: punting relative to the rush, punting relative to the team’s return tendencies or to where to give your gunners better opportunity to make the play, backed up, plus-50, end of the game situations or end of the half type situations, with wind and field conditions and all that. Probably less than half the punts, for most teams, the punter can just punt it high and long—just stand out there on the driving range and bang it away. There’s another high percentage of plays, I would say over 50% that involve some type of situational punting, a different type of punt."
On why you should choose to make teams punt again when backed up into their own end zone after a penalty:
“I think when you punt from inside the 5 with the punter a little bit closer, a lot of time, psychologically, the protection is thinking, I have to stay in longer, we don’t have as much room to punt, it is not our normal punting depth from the center to the punter. And also when you make a team re-kick it, guys aren’t as fresh and you don’t get quite the same energy in the coverage sometimes on that second time around.”
On how he believes in spending special teams practice time:
“I think that each week 85% of our time on special teams is pretty constant. There is maybe another 15% that would change week to week, depending on where we feel like we want that emphasis, whether it’s on punt protection or kickoff coverage or kickoff returns or fakes—whatever the point of emphasis for that particular team happens to be."
Head here to read the full article, with lots more great tidbits from Belichick sharing insight on a phase of the game he's obviously very passionate about.