Patriots’ QBs Coach Bill O’Brien spoke about how the Patriots build a winning team. Many of the points he made were directly relevant to business, team leaders and coaches of all sports.
On the wall of the Patriots locker room there is a sign that states the teams’ core values. I have highlighted the values in bold, the rest were the coach’s explanations.
DO YOUR JOB: Understand your responsibilities and do them. Get better at them constantly and don’t worry about what the guy next to you is doing
WORK HARD: This should not need an explanation but coming into the system the rookies are taught how to do this. They are taught how to prepare and how to understand the game plan. They teach them how to study when not on the field and how to prepare not just physically but mentally for all this.
BE ATTENTIVE: when you are there pay attention.
PUT THE TEAM FIRST: it is not about stats or MVP trophies, it is about winning championships. If you look historically at teams that had record breaking stats or an MVP most did not win the championship. He said Tom Brady is great at this, he never cares about his personal stats but only if they win the game.
DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE: Whether it is good or bad you need to ignore it and prepare the same way. He described Belichick as a “flatliner”. No matter what the situation or the prior result he prepares for the game the same way. He always looks at what they did wrong, how do they get better, what they did right, and how can they improve on their strengths
MANAGE EXPECTATIONS: What do you expect from yourself and others and make sure you live up to your end
IGNORE THE NOISE: when the team does great, people will tell you how wonderful you are, when you lose it is how bad you are. Understand where you are and don’t listen to what everyone else has to say.
SPEAK FOR YOURSELF: If someone asks how someone else is, tell them to ask that person. For example “How is Tom’s knee” instead of guessing have them ask Tom
In 2010 they have also added the following:
1) If you don’t want to win, you don’t have to be here
2) Leaders don’t talk about leadership, they let their attitudes boost others
3) Mental Toughness. Do the right thing for the team even when everything isn’t perfect for you.
Coach O’Brien then went through the process of how they develop their game plan:
Determine who you are
Year to year, week to week
Constant evaluation, comparison
Always go after the most dependable, reliable players – consistency is extremely undervalued and they look for players who are a cultural fit.
QB friendly system
Brady is super intelligent and has an amazing memory, he remembers plays from years earlier
They identified their most talented employees and put system in place that would help the team
Belichick runs the scout defense against Brady to challenge Brady every day. This makes Brady, and Belichick better and better
Who is the opponent?
What do they run 3-4, 4-3, nickel, etc…
You can’t plan until you know your opponent
How do we matchup against them?
At what positions do we have mismatches?
How can we take advantage of the mismatches
What are the four or five things that we need to do to win against this team?
What do they think are the four or five they need to do to win against us?
III. What are our most reliable plays?
How have they worked in the past
Need to continue relying on them
Some other good points he made during his talk:
They break their offensive practices down by day: Wednesday is 1st and 2nd down, Thur is 3rd down, and Friday is Red Zone
Practice habits must be precise as you don’t have many reps. They only practice 35 plays or so on “O” days – the practice is efficient and productive and the result of detailed planning
Study what others do well and do that. Dress it up and make it your own but no need to reinvent the wheel
The Pats prepare for ½ time long before it gets there so they can get the most bang for their buck during the short time the team has.
The key to their leadership structure is communication. They meet pre-season to discuss how they can lead better.
Belichick gives his coaches leeway to come up with ideas and to communicate. He does have the final say but they do get a voice.
When Randy Moss left they re-evaluated what he did for them, was there anyone else there that could do those things, how do they need to change to compensate.
Everyone does multiple jobs. They take advantage of people’s talents in anyway they can. They have one guy who coaches the scout team, breaks down film, is on the Draft Team and helps with team travel planning. On many teams that is four different people.