By now, you’ve heard that Bill Belichick had some quality praise for the Falcons earlier this week. What you might not know is that he actually talked, in his typical bland way, about how good these Falcons are in a video. You should probably watch it.
In a video entitled—I kid you not—The Belestrator, Belichick breaks down why he thinks the Falcons are “dangerous in all three phases,” which is about the highest praise Atlanta’s gotten all year. He cites the team’s potential to create long runs, long passes, strip sacks, interceptions, and quality returns, in particular, in making his case for that. It’s fascinating to see him select Andre Roberts’ nice return against Miami a week ago and the devastating strip sack of Aaron Rodgers in Week 2 to showcase how fast and devastating Atlanta can be.
Your initial instinct will be to scoff at this, remembering that Atlanta has looked like lukewarm oatmeal on the field each of the last two weeks. But I actually had a very different reaction to this, which was sort of being snapped out of my doldrums for a few minutes while I watched one of the greatest coaches in NFL history talk up my favorite team.
The thing is, I don’t think Belichick is blowing smoke up our butts, so to speak. I think that we as Falcons fans have been so justifiably disappointed with the way the last two games have gone—and perhaps the season, more generally—that we can’t see what the Patriots coach has to see: The team that nearly beat him in the Super Bowl a year ago, and an opponent that has a number of truly dangerous players on both sides of the ball. Just because Atlanta farted around in the second half against Miami doesn’t mean they don’t have the talent to beat the Patriots in Foxborough, and Belichick knows that.
The bad news is that he’s not going to take Atlanta lightly, but there was never any real possibility that would happen.
Go watch the video, and hope that all the reasons for Belichick’s praise show up on the field tonight.