Belichick on Smith: "You had to game plan..."

New England head coach Bill Belichick talked about Bruce Smith at a recent press conference. Smith will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend. As an assistant with Cleveland, Belichick needed to game plan for the former Bills defensive end...

Q: It's Hall of Fame week. Can you comment on Bruce Smith? I know you faced him quite a bit?

Belichick: Bruce was a tremendous player, great pass-rusher for the Bills. Most of that time, I was at the Giants; he was in the AFC. In Cleveland, we had him a couple times, not too many. Of course Super Bowl XXV was the big one. That was a big focal point of the game plan was to try to neutralize his pass-rush ability in that game and try to run the ball at him a lot and that type of thing. Yeah, he's a terrific player.

Q: Can you compare Bruce Smith to Lawrence Taylor?

Belichick: Bruce is an end. Lawrence was an outside linebacker. Bruce can play, I'd say from the offensive tackle in. Lawrence Taylor was kind of from the tight end position in. So Bruce is a little bit…

Q: [On game planning for both Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor]

Belichick: Yeah, you had to game plan for Bruce Smith like you had to game plan for Taylor. I would definitely agree with that. Not that Bruce wasn't a good run player — I'm not saying that — but he was a real good pass-rusher. He has good quickness, very good technique player. He was slick. A lot of times you look at the play and you say, ‘OK, it looks like we got him blocked.' And then he gets off it somehow and is pressuring the quarterback.

Similar to Taylor, even when they got blocked, they didn't stay blocked. They were kind of never out of the play. A lot of times, he ended up inside working on the guards as well as the tackles. He was very effective with his quickness, athleticism. [He could] get off the ball quickly. Yeah, he was tough.


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