Bill Belichick Doesn’t Put Too Much Stock Into Preseason Games Being Regular Season Indicators

The NFL preseason isn’t what it used to be.

With only three preseason games being played nowadays, and with coaches opting to play their star players much less in meaningless action, preseason football is not a good indicator of how a team will look once the games count according to legendary NFL coach Bill Belichick.

The New England Patriots have undergone some massive changes within their coaching staff and personnel, which could make things even more difficult to evaluate. Belichick said in an interview with WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday that he can’t give the team a grade after its three exhibition matchups.

“Preseason is preseason,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “Preseason is about developing your team for the season and evaluating the players. If you look at the playtime in our games, and any other games, I don’t know don’t think Las Vegas played 30 players, I don’t think Carolina, it must have been 30 players that didn’t play in their game [against us]. That’s not really what preseason is about. Preseason is about evaluating the players that you do play, and taking the practice time — in joint practices or whatever time you have — to prepare your team for the regular season. Where everybody is on that, we’ll see after five-six weeks of the regular season. That’s when we’ll know.

“I don’t think preseason games are a real big indicator of what the team is or isn’t, one way or the other. That’s not about us, it’s about the NFL. But you get a great chance to evaluate players and I think that will be the focus this week of the 1,000 or so transactions that take place across the league. Is there a way you can improve your team? Does somebody want to improve their team from one of your players? And how it all fits together. You can’t have depth everywhere, so you have to choose what positions you want to have depth at on the roster. What positions you want to have depth on the practice squad, assuming you can get all the players you want — which usually you can’t. So that causes some other adjustments. That’s kind of what this week is about — setting your roster, figuring out how you want to try to play the season, and then there will be a lot of adjustments along the way. But you have to start somewhere.”

The funny thing about the Patriots, it’s hard to know exactly what team you’re going to face week to week.

Belichick is a master of game planning, and if he needs to run, he runs, if he needs to pass a little more, he’ll have his team do that.   Pre-season games are basically try-outs for young players to show what they’ve got. Training camp, largely out of the public eye, is where teams coalesce.

Just a point to reference later in the  season, the Bears and Lions went undefeated in the preseason.


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