There are few coaches in football that have earned more respect from Bill Belichick than Andy Reid. Whether it be back in his days leading Philadelphia or more recently in charge of the Chiefs, Reid has consistently shown the ability to go toe to toe with Belichick and come away with his share of wins.
That has been particularly true on the offensive side of the ball, where Reid’s West Coast principles have caused a great deal of trouble for New England’s defense over the year. In 2014, Kansas City piled up 41 points in a blowout win best known as the game that led to the Patriots dramatic turnaround that season.
Last year the Chiefs put 42 on the board in a season-opening win, and in Week 6 the Chiefs lost in Foxborough but left with 40 points on the board.
Obviously Belichick and Reid have quite a bit of history going against one another, and the Patriots coach was asked about the challenges of facing a coach that knows him as well as Reid does.
“Andy’s a tough matchup for anybody because they do so many things and they do so many things well,” Belichick said. “The success that they’ve had, not only this year, but as I said all six years that he’s been there, is very impressive. There’s a million things that you could find in any of those years and who knows if that’s the one he’s going to pick out against you, so I think you have to put your chips on something.
“You have to try to do something that you feel like is important in the game, try to do that well, have a plan for how you’re going to deal with other things and let the game declare a little bit, which it will. At this point, there are a lot of possibilities. There are a lot of things they could do. I don’t think trying to read his mind is really that beneficial.”
Belichick went on to discuss some of the hallmarks of Reid’s potent team and what it’s like trying to stop them.
“I’d say the number one characteristic is they’re always good,” he began. “They were good in Philadelphia and he went out to Kansas City and they became good there right away. They’ve dominated their division. He’s built a dominant team that is experienced. They have a lot of players who are experienced in his system. Even a guy like [Patrick] Mahomes, who we know is a young player, but he sat and learned all last year and obviously has learned well and is more than ready when they put him in there.
“I think that’s one thing that Andy does well, is he if he puts a rookie in there then the guy is ready. If he needs a little more time then he gives him a little more time and then when he’s ready then he puts him in there. They know what they’re doing. They don’t beat themselves. They’re a very explosive team like he had in Philadelphia. They can score quickly on offense. They can turn the ball over and score quickly on defense. They can return the ball and make plays in the return game. Andy’s teams are always tough, well-disciplined. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They make you beat them and that’s hard to do because they’re sound and he gets good players and he coaches them well and they’re tough.”
Here are some other highlights from Belichick’s Tuesday morning conference call.
Speed kills – Tyreek Hill is perhaps the fastest players in the league and he has dominated against the Patriots in the past. In his two games against New England, Hill has racked up 14 receptions for 275 yards and four touchdowns, including three earlier this season.
Belichick was asked about trying to replicate that speed, which is a nearly impossible task.
“We’ve seen it. A lot of our players have dealt with it and, as you said, have to make those subtle adjustments in terms of angles and leverage and so forth,” Belichick said. “Every situation is a little bit different. Who’s where and how fast everybody is moving and what direction we’re going in and the opponent is going in and so forth. Yeah, certainly there has to be an awareness of that. It’s a little bit different with him than everybody else; no question.”
Instant impact – Playing in his first season as the starter in just his second year, Patrick Mahomes is the odd-on favorite to win the MVP after tossing 50 touchdown passes. Mahomes took the league by storm with his ability to escape the pocket and make plays with throws from a variety of angles, something that Belichick understand his team will need to be aware on Sunday.
“You certainly have to defend the whole field with him,” Belichick said. “I’d say Andy does a real good job of that anyway with the plays that they run. They attack you from sideline to sideline and from the line of scrimmage and behind the line of scrimmage on screen plays and things like that to 60 yards downfield and all of the spots in between.
“And Mahomes can make it even more of a problem by extending the play or scrambling around, which he’s done many times. We’ve seen that many times on film, talk to our players about it. We don’t want that situation to come up but I’m sure at some point it will. Probably more than once, and we’ll have to deal with it then. Yeah, it’s very challenging. He can do a lot. We’ll just have to decide how we want to try to deploy our players on different situations and so forth and see how that turns out. But yeah, it’s a big challenge; no question.”
Fast start – The Chiefs have enjoyed tremendous success in the first quarter this, outscoring their opponents 147-56 in the opening 15 minutes. That was the case again on Saturday when they blitzed the Colts with a 14-0 start. Belichick stressed the importance of starting quick, especially against Kansas City.
“You always want to play from ahead. You always want to get off to a good start. But I think these are 60 minute games and this time of year you’re going to have to battle all the way through, but it’s always good to try to get off to a good start,” he said.
“There is I think historically no better fast starting team than the Chiefs. Coach Reid’s always done a great job of that and they’ve outscored their opponents by I think it’s about 100 points or so this year. That’s a big advantage to play the last three quarters with. Certainly we don’t want to be in that position, nor do they I’m sure.”