Lovie Smith’s Challenge. Coach Needs to Adjust to Patriots Not Belichick.

One of the best pieces of advice my father ever gave me was when we talked about what I should do for a living.  He told me not to worry about money.  “Do what your heart tells you to do.  Make sure its something you like.  If you do, then you’ll probably be good at it and the money will follow.”

This more or less worked for me.  Though I’ll never be rich, I do like what I do and I make enough to live on.  But what was important here was the broader lesson.  If you take care of things on the ground level, success on the broader scale will follow.  Because I like what I do and I think I’m reasonably good at it, I’m reasonably comfortable financially and I consider myself to be reasonably successful overall.  And if you really cut to the bottom line, I’m reasonably happy.

In the Chicago Tribune today, David Haugh encourages Bears head coach Lovie Smith to be creative against Patriots head coach Bill Belichick:

“Chances are rare any coach will out-Belichick Belichick or out-Brady Brady. But Smith needs to try anyway to use his noggin so we shake our heads in disbelief.

“Add a new wrinkle in the return game. Dare to dabble in something that may not work defensively. Have the Bears run a flea-flicker since the Gary Crowton era?”

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times puts is even more bluntly:

“That’s how you beat Belichick. You have to be Belichick.”

These columns highlight one of the problems that Smith faces.  They suggest that Smith alter his game plan to out coach Belichick.  I would suggest that is putting the cart in front of the horse.  What Smith has to do is adjust to what the Patriots do as a team and let success against Belichick flow from that.

Belichick has such a reputation as a great coach that it can, I think, become a distraction which can keep other coaches from concentrating on the more basic, more important things.  Smith can’t be worried about out dueling the other coach.  What Smith has to worry about is how to use his personnel to neutralize Wes Welker‘s quickness.  He has to worry about Tom Brady‘s accuracy.  He has to worry about the Patriot’s underneath passing game and he has to think about how to counter that.

Bottom line, if Smith takes care of business and thinks about the ground level aspects of the game that make up the big picture, he’ll come out ahead of Belichick in the end as a natural result.  Like with everything else in life, it starts with the little things.

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