FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Through two weeks of the NFL season, the New England Patriots have one of the league’s most unbalanced offense. Bill Belichick couldn't care less.
“If it works out that we’re balanced, that’s fine. But if it works out that we’re favoring more of one than the other, if that’s working, that’s fine too,” he said this week.
The Patriots have attempted 91 passes and have totaled 39 rushes in opening the season 2-0. Their plus-52 differential is the fourth highest in the NFL, behind the Texans (plus-61), Eagles (plus-56) and Raiders (plus-54). The combined record of those teams is 1-5, which reflects how they were mostly throwing because they had to after falling behind.
The Patriots, on the other hand, were mostly throwing because they wanted to.
Belichick broached balance when asked earlier this week how much he expects quarterback Tom Brady to be throwing the football in 2015. Through two games, the Patriots’ 39 rushing attempts are the fifth fewest in the league.
“We go into each game trying to game-plan and do what we think is best, and then as we get into the game, sometimes that can change a little bit based on how the game is going situationally and also what the matchups are or what’s working and what isn’t,” he said.
“When you look around the league, last year there might have one or two teams that threw the ball less than they ran it. So basically every team is over 50 percent passing and some teams were up around 70 percent if I remember correctly, like the Bears. That’s kind of the general trend in the league.”
Last year, the Patriots were totaled 609 pass attempts and 438 rushes, a difference of 171.
Belichick touched on some football X’s and O’s that contribute to that.
“A lot of plays are based on run-pass checks in the league, so teams get into more coverage positions, sometimes that invites the run and vice versa,” he said.
“It’s really hard to go into a game and say we’re going to do this this many times or do this that many times. Each game is different, and as you get into the game it just depends on how the game is unfolding and the score and the situations, but also how the matchups are working with the personnel you’re facing and what type of defenses or coverages or pressures they’re using and how you want to try to attack those.”
The bottom line: Belichick isn’t going to run it just for the idea of balance.
“However we feel is the best way and gives us the best opportunity, then that’s what we’re going to try to do on a daily basis,” he said. “And it changes from week to week.”
The Patriots' opponent on Sunday, the Jaguars, are one of 21 teams that has thrown more than it has run in opening the year 1-1. They have 73 pass attempts and 54 rushes.