Bill Belichick knows how to manage a team. He’s in charge of the Patriots’ personnel, so he knows when a player can play and when one can’t – and he subsequently makes a decision based on those observations. Sometimes a guy has to change positions, and other times a player simply isn’t a fit in New England, leading to him being cut or traded.
For the few players who switch from offense to defense, there’s a simple reason for that – according to Bill Belichick, at least. They’re simply not good enough to play offense.
Belichick said as much during his press conference on Wednesday, taking a hilarious (and offhanded) shot at defensive players across the league.
“Although, most of the defensive players need to understand that the reason they don’t play offense is because they’re not good enough to play offense,” he said.
The question to elicit that response from Belichick was somewhat unrelated. After discussing the fact that many fullbacks previously played defense, while other players like Elandon Roberts and David Andrews have played the same position all their lives, Belichick was asked whether he looks for positional consistency in players.
That’s when he said this, going on a miniature rant about defenders.
“It is what it is. A lot of defensive players get moved (from) offense because they’re not good enough on offense,” Belichick said. “High school coaches, college coaches, if they’ve got somebody better and you have a better player at that position, instead of stacking them up you just move them somewhere where you can get them on the field quicker. If you’re a high school or college coach you’re not going to take your best running back and put him at — I mean, it would be rare. You’re not going to put him somewhere else, you’re going to give him the ball and let him be a productive scorer for you.
“Most of the offensive linemen get moved from defense because they don’t run well enough,” he added. “If they ran better, they’d probably play on defense, because those guys are hard to find. So to see those players offensively that can run 4.9, 5-flat at those kind of weights, most of them are first or second-round left tackles. That’s where most of them show up. That’s a premium position on offense. If you have that kind of an athlete, you probably could play them on defense or you could play them at left tackle. That’s where they go. So do they get moved? I don’t think you move a defensive lineman to the offensive line unless you’re going to move them to left tackle or, again, you have so many defensive linemen that you can afford to move him. Usually you move them because they don’t run well enough.”
He didn’t stop there. Belichick continued by explaining the reasoning behind moving some offensive players to defense.
“Offensively, you move them because you have other guys that can catch the ball better, or are more elusive runners, or are more productive playmakers, so then they move. Sometimes some guys find their spots right away and they stay in them.”
Belichick going on an unprompted rant about one subject is nothing new, but this was one of a kind – especially that hilarious dig at defensive players. It even got a rise out of the media members in the room.