Van Noy explains where Brandon Staley has an edge over Belichick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Bill Belichick’s coaching style is unique, to say the least. And Kyle Van Noy has first-hand evidence.
The veteran linebacker played a total of five seasons for Belichick on the New England Patriots — from 2016 to 2019 and a second stint in 2021 — before joining head coach Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022.
Van Noy was asked this week on “The Pat McAfee Show” about how Belichick and Staley differ. His response was interesting.
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“I would say the biggest difference between Bill and Staley is relationships,” Van Noy said. “(Staley) has relationships with every single player on the team. It’s really impressive how he can work a room. He’s got everybody’s number in (his) favorites. He can call them right then and there. And any player, he reaches out I respect that.
“In this new age of players, you’ve gotta do that. And he’s done a great job of that.”
According to Van Noy, Belichick isn’t exactly buddy-buddy with his players.
“And I’m not saying Bill — I have a great relationship with Bill. But not everybody does,” Van Noy said. “So, I would say that’s the biggest difference, is the relationship base Staley forms versus Bill.”
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Van Noy’s take won’t surprise anyone who followed Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick is a master strategist who excels at putting his players in the best position to succeed, but he is not there to be their best friend. The 40-year-old Staley, meanwhile, represents a younger generation of head coaches who emphasize strong personal connections with their players.
Belichick has good relations with many players, including Van Noy himself. But there’s also a sizable list of players whom Belichick has alienated with his philosophy of “doing what’s best for the team” at all costs.
Belichick’s track record — six Super Bowl wins in New England and the second-most coaching wins in NFL history — speaks for itself. As the Patriots struggle to remain relevant in the post-Tom Brady era, however, it’s worth wondering whether players will gravitate more toward coaches like Staley who are more “fun” to play for and can deliver similar (if not better) results.