FNF Coaches Talk for Thursday, Jan. 31

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here are some stories we’re talking about in our newsroom.

1. Bill Belichick’s greatest hits: Top 5 defining game plans from the No. 1 coach in NFL history (Yahoo! Sports)

We’re going heavy on the Super Bowl stories this week because there are a million good stories coming out of Atlanta. This one is a hit list of the top five game plans that Bill Belichick has designed throughout his career.

Just like any list, we zipped down the numbers to see which game plans made the cut before digging into each story. Belichick’s most recent game plan against the Chiefs and Pat Mahomes in the AFC Championship was No. 5. Belichick’s battles with the Peyton Manning Colts, in which he had the Patriots corners win the physical battle with the Colts receivers, was No. 4.

We forgot about No. 3 — the 1990 Giants shutting down Joe Montana’s 49ers.

The Giants focused on pressuring Montana while taking away big plays, almost exclusively using a fifth defensive back long before that was the norm.
“We weren’t worried about the run; we knew we had to stop Montana,” Giants linebacker Pepper Johnson said in the game story from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ”We got after him. I don’t care who you are — even the greatest quarterback — you won’t be successful with pressure in your face. That was the key to this game — we got to Joe Montana.”

We shared No. 2 earlier this week — the Super Bowl XXV game plan when Belichick, as defensive coordinator of the Giants, slowed down Jim Kelly and the K-Gun offense of the Buffalo Bills.

No. 1? That’s Belichick’s game plan in Super Bowl XXXVI when the Patriots shut down Marshall Faulk to stop the St. Louis Rams.

All game Patriots defenders would find Faulk, especially when he lined up in an offset position, and hit him before he could get into pass routes. The Patriots traded pass rush to get physical with Faulk. Faulk was good in that Super Bowl, but he never killed the Patriots with any long plays. He had 130 yards on 21 hard-fought touches.

What is the best game plan you’ve ever seen come to life?

2. Does Weight Training Really Stunt Kids’ Growth? (Stack)

This is a good story for coaches who might find themselves discussing the health risks of lifting weights with parents of middle-schoolers or maybe even high school freshmen. This story makes the case that weight training does NOT stunt the growth of young athletes.

A 2017 study states that “current expert opinion in the field supports the belief that (resistance training) prior to epiphyseal closure is not inherently harmful (13). The prospective studies that have provided effective supervision and guidance have demonstrated no increased incidence of physeal injury in children weightlifting (20-24).”

In fact, there’s actually some good news for coaches. Not only does weight training seem to be perfectly safe for young athletes, it also helps prevent injuries.

A 2009 review published in Sports Health states that “Participation in almost any type of sport or recreational activity carries a risk of injury. A well-supervised strength training program has no greater inherent risk than that of any other youth sport or activity … A well-designed strength training program following the recommended loads, sets and repetitions appropriate for the young athlete’s age and body habitus should not excessively stress growth plates.

How do you help young players transition into your strength training program?

3. Patriots wide receivers coach wants to build offense around what players do best (NBC Sports)

Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to be named the head coach of the Dolphins after the Super Bowl and he’s expected to bring Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea with him to run the Miami offense. In a Media Day interview, O’Shea said he’s looking for players that “share some common traits” while tailoring the entire offense to the strengths of the players on hand.

“I truly still believe in the player,” O’Shea said. “I think that you can have a system in place, but if you don’t have the right players to fit within that system, the system isn’t going to work. I think it’s important to identify what your players that you have available to you do best and to try to build the system around what those players do.”

It’s a good message for high school coaches. If your players don’t fit your desired scheme, don’t force them to do things out of their comfort zones. Cater your offense to the players. Always think about what you can do to make their talents pop.

How much feedback do you seek out from players before designing an offensive or defensive scheme?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!