Brandon Marshall spends part of his time in New York as an analyst and correspondent for Showtime’s Inside the NFL.
So after his Jets won 26-20 on Sunday, beating the Patriots when New England opted not to receive the kickoff in overtime, he decided to put his media hat on and ask Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels why.
“After the game Josh McDaniels came up to me, my old ball coach in Denver, and I asked ‘What were you guys thinking?'” Marshall said, via CSN New England. “He explained to me the situation a little bit but I didn’t believe him.”
It’s probably hard for a Jets offensive player to believe that Belichick is betting against the Jets offense, no matter how fantastic Marshall has been this season. It’s probably also easy to forget that Belichick made his name as a defensive coordinator. There could also be an explanation that only Belichick himself is satisfied with, and one that McDaniels was not prepared to share with Marshall (Marshall admitted as much). Belichick is not above questioning and makes mistakes, but there is not a better coach in football.
In the moment it was one of the most stunning moments of a Week 16 that was full of surprise.
“They’re so smart over there,” Marshall said. “Coach Belichick is so smart. It wasn’t serious what Josh told me. Their offense only scored one time or something all day. They wanted to play the field position game. Have us go three and out. Possibly punt and win field position, then go home. It was just bad timing for them.”
Because of this, how can we not at least consider a bigger move at play here for the Patriots? Could Belichick prefer the ability to face the Jets a third time instead of Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in the playoffs? Maybe. Could he really have just been a firm believer in field position due to New England’s struggle to keep the ball moving on Sunday? Also plausible, especially considering the fact that New England probably spent a good chunk of time this week trying to get new running back Steven Jackson acclimated to the offense.
But like Marshall said, they’re smart over there in New England, which is why the smart play is never to just assume something stupid just happened.