An 11-man blitz? Never say never.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The numbers show Chargers quarerback Philip Rivers has the potential to shred defenses when opponents send just four rushers at the quarteback. In order to make him uncomfortable on Sunday, the Patriots will have to mix in additional rushers in blitz packages. But would Belichick ever consider an 11-man blitz?
That's a question that got posed to him Friday when a reporter noted a high school team had enjoyed success using 11-man blitzes. Surprisingly, Belichick recalled using that same play numerous times while he was part of the Detroit Lions coaching staff (1976-77).
"When I was [an assistant special teams coach] with Detroit in 1976, we did a lot of it," said Belichick. "We called it the ‘Sticky Sam Blitz.’ Probably ran it, had to be 50 or 60 times. It was a lot."
And did it work?
"Yeah, it was a good defensive team. Jimmy Carr was the defensive coordinator; Jerry Glanville, he blitzes a lot and blitzed a lot when he was a defensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL," he said. "A lot of maximum pressure there."
Belichick tried to steer the conversation back to San Diego, but admitted you won't see many 11-man blitzes any more. He did say teams often bring max pressure, or as many guys as the offense keeps in to protect.
"You see [Cowboys defensive coordinator] Rob [Ryan] and [Jets head coach] Rex [Ryan], they give you a decent amount of maximum pressure," said Belichick. "I mean maximum being, when you bring more than six, then somebody has to have coverage too. So you can bring seven or eight, but somebody has to peel and take those receivers -- the fourth and fifth receiver, if they get out. In the end, you can only bring six and cover their five. If you bring more than that, really, somebody is going to have to come off the blitz, if they release. If they stay in, then you can add in the blitz and it can be as many as they keep them in -- you can just keep adding one more. Six becomes seven, seven becomes eight, eight becomes nine.
"Again, right now, we’re focused on getting ready for San Diego. I couldn’t really give you a breakdown on defense. I don’t know what everybody else in the league is doing. That’s not really [San Diego's] thing. Their thing is they play a lot of man, man free coverage, free safety and cover up the receivers and rush four, rush five, make you block them."