Bill Belichick and the Patriots have always been creative, and now they have discovered a new role for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
There is a reason that the New England Patriots continue to be a Super Bowl contender year after year, despite usually having a roster that lacks pure star power other than Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
It’s because Bill Belichick is arguably the most creative coach in the history of the NFL and he uses the pieces he has for roles that the most coaches don’t think of.
The latest case of “Belichickian” genius is using wide receiver and punt returner Cordarrelle Patterson as a running back to temporarily fill the void of the injured rookie Sony Michel.
And the really impressive thing is that when Belichick has creative ideas like this, they usually work out pretty darn well, which is evidenced by all of the consistent winning the Patriots have done during Belichick’s nearly two-decade tenure.
Belichick put Patterson to work as a runner during New England’s 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, giving him 11 carries in the game. Patterson picked up 61 yards on the ground, including a 17-yard run as well as a touchdown.
Patterson did almost the same amount of work on the ground as did James White, who has been a regular running back in Belichick’s system for years.
When the Patriots brought Patterson to New England during the offseason, it wasn’t expected that he would do much more than his usual role: serving as a punt returner and a guy that Brady could occasionally target.
But this is what Belichick does: he springs a brand new role on a player like Patterson and gets serious production out of him.
It’s nothing new for this team; we’ve seen Belichick turn Brady into a receiver on a few occasions, and we’ve seen him turn wide receiver Julian Edelman into a quarterback once or twice (including in Sunday’s game against the Packers).
We’ve seen plenty of flea flickers and trick plays from Belichick over the years. When other teams do things like that, it often leaves us with a “whoa, where did that come from?” kind of feeling. But when the Patriots do it, it’s another play from the playbook.
It’s definitely different seeing Patterson get so many carries as a running back, but it’s Belichick and it’s the Patriots. Is anyone really surprised?