Bill Belichick has already cemented himself as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.
What he has accomplished with the New England Patriots since taking over in 2000 has been unmatched.
Of course he has had the good fortune of having one of the greatest quarterbacks off all-time throughout the vast majority of his stint as head coach. However, being a defensive coach, Belichick has done some incredible things with New England's defense.
While Belichick isn't blessed with the great defenses of the early 2000s anymore, what he is accomplishing this season is just another impressive mark on his resume.
The Patriots' defense is currently giving up more passing yards than any other team in the league. Their secondary is made up of unproven talent and journeymen veterans. Injuries have kept out their best two defensive backs, Pat Chung and Devin McCourty, for the past few weeks.
Yet, the Patriots are 8-3 and looking like the current favorites to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
How does he do it?
Belichick has defined what it means to be a "bend, but don't break" defense. He knows that his defense will play much better in the short field. Their run defense is ranked 12th in the league and their overall defense ranks 10th in points allowed.
New England will allow teams to nickel and dime them down the field while preventing any huge plays. They know that once they are in the red zone, they are a much better defense.
It is still incredible that Belichick can accomplish this with the talent he has.
The Patriots gave two players their first career starts this year. With McCourty and Chung out, the secondary is made up almost entirely of castoffs from other teams.
Even the defensive line (other than Vince Wilfork) is made up of unproven young players and past prime veterans. Other than a handful of standout names, the majority of the Patriots' starting defense would be backups on most teams in the NFL.
Bill Belichick has always pushed the team concept. Regardless of your pedigree or what you've done in your career before, you are expected to come in and do the job that is assigned to you. If you don't, Belichick will not hesitate to bench or cut you.
He does an incredible job of finding guys with the skill sets to fit his plan. It doesn't matter if you were taken in the first round or if you weren't drafted at all.
Belichick takes this same approach with his opponents. Their record doesn't matter and what they did the weeks previous doesn't matter. He treats every opponent as if they are the best team in the league.
His recent press conference regarding the Patriots game against the Indianapolis Colts game this weekend shows just that. Belichick didn't react kindly to the media suggesting the Colts were an "easy game" for the Patriots according to ProFootballTalk.com.
"I don’t agree with that,” Belichick said. “So, you can go ahead on your soliloquy about that, but I just don’t agree with that. You don’t think you can gauge a team based on how a player blocks Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? I mean, who else would you gauge it against? What? Are you kidding me? Covering Reggie Wayne, [Austin] Collie, and [Pierre] Garcon — you don’t think you can gauge your coverage based on those players? I don’t care what their record is. You don’t think there’s better receivers around than them? Better pass rushers than Freeney and Mathis? I mean, I’m not sure what games you’re watching here."
The truth is that the 0-11 Colts should be an easy opponent for New England. The Patriots should steamroll their way to a 9-3 record this weekend.
Not in Belichick's eyes. He demands the best out of his team week in and week out. Whether you are a Pro Bowler or not doesn't matter to him.
There is no excuse for anything less than greatness in New England. Belichick and his team demand it of each other and themselves.
The fact that they can actually achieve it with the talent they have, is what makes Belichick legendary.
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