As one of the first people to get to speak to Bill Belichick following his stunning trade of Jamie Collins, I can’t claim to have any information other than what you heard come out of your radio/computer/phone Monday. We had no conversations about the deal off the air. All I’ve heard are the same words you heard.
But on the other hand, I am The Belichick Whisperer. Someone who not only understands what the man is saying in ways that no one else outside his inner circle can, but who has a kind of symbiotic relationship with him, where we feel each other’s feelings like E.T. and Elliot. I am therefore uniquely qualified to decipher the code of what he told us through his non-verbal clues, body language, intonation and subtle context.
So allow me to translate:
What Belichick said: “In the end, we did what we felt was best for the football team.”
What he really meant: “Our defense sucks. These guys are not responding to coaching. We’re putting them in the right packages to make stops but they’re not working together and it’s killing us. Ryan Tannehill puts up 387 yards on us. 281 for Landry Jones. Sure, the scoreboard looks good, but we’re living on borrowed time and the next quality offense we face will shred us. This nonsense ends, now.”
What Belichick said: “Yeah, I think you could bring up a lot of things. They all probably play into the conversion at some point.”
What he really meant: “Guys like Collins are freelancing all over the place. We’ve been trying to get him on the right page, but he keeps getting himself out of position and that second play of the game when he improvised his way into us giving up a 28 yard gain and him getting lost in the wash when Tyrod Taylor ran right up the chute for a touchdown were the last friggin’ straws. On top of that, he turned down $11 million a year because he wants Von Miller money? Sure. And I want Sultan of Brunei money. It ain’t happening, either.”
What Belichick said: “I personally haven’t spoken to Cleveland, but Nick [Caserio] and the process of conversations — I’m not sure exactly the timeframe on it.”
What he really meant: “You know how you make an example of a guy to wake your players the hell up? You send him to Cleveland. For nothing. I didn’t even bother shopping him around to other teams because I don’t care about the return on the investment. This was all about sending a message. Straighten up and fly right or I’ll cast every last one of you down into the Ninth Circle of Hell that is playing for the Browns.”
What Belichick said: “It will be impacted by, but I don’t think what it is about. This is the player and his situation and the team and the team’s situation and what is best.”
What he really meant: “You want to talk about my other linebackers? I will take an Elandon Roberts or a Shea McClellin any day of the week and twice on Sunday as long as they are where I tell them to be when I tell them to be there. Collins’ freakish athleticism is great. But a fat lot of good it does me when he’s hitting the wrong gap, biting on misdirections or vacating his coverage area because he’s playing a damned hunch. I don’t know if you’ve heard me say this before, but: Do. Your. Job.”
What Belichick said: “I mean look, we’re 7-1 so there’s always things we can do better. Believe me I’ve been a lot more frustrated than what our record is now.”
What he really meant: “You know what frustration really is? Letting Super Bowl seasons slip through your fingers because you can’t get guys to do what you want them to do. I didn’t all of a sudden forget how to coach. Or how to manage my personnel. The locker room is supposedly ‘shocked’ by this move? Excellent. That is the desired effect. I traded Randy Moss, the best receiver I ever saw midseason and our offense got better. I traded Logan Mankins right before a season and won a Super Bowl. I cut Lawyer Milloy at the 11th hour and won the next two. I am never, ever going to be afraid to make a bold move because nobody knows what this team needs in order to be championship-caliber the way I do.”
What Belichick said: “Thank, Jerry.”
What he really meant: “You’re really awesome, buddy. I’m so glad we are best friends.”