The Patriots are preparing for a remarkable fourth Super Bowl in five seasons and quarterback Jared Goff took a stab at one possible reason his upcoming opponent frequents one of the biggest game in sports.
According to Goff, head coach Bill Belichick's ability to make in-game adjustments has been making the difference in New England.
"They love to mix it up and they've done it for a long long time," Goff said on Tuesday. "There's a reason that they've done this three years in a row now — it's not an accident."
And the quarterback, who admitted to being too young to remember Belichick's first Super Bowl in New England, said Belichick's adaptive defense won't catch his high-powered offense by surprise. He's expecting the unexpected.
"And you know that coming in, expect them to have their own playbook for you, go off what you saw on tape, but expect to make adjustments."
Goff isn't alone preparing for… well, whatever adjustment is made and head coach Sean McVay is also well aware of the chess match challenge that Belichick's defense presents. After learning his Super Bowl opponent, McVay put himself in the future Hall of Famer's shoes.
"They're going to identify a couple things that they say, 'All right' – Coach Belichick's the best at this – 'What do the Rams do best and how are we going to say we're not coming out of this game letting them beat us doing this?'"
The ominous in-game adjustment that has the proven power to send the Rams back to the West Coast and into the offseason without the Lombardi, but the Rams have an equally mysterious card to play — a balanced offense.
"You get seven different guys involved whether it's running the football, five different guys catching it that Jared spreads it around to," McVay said. "So, we'll see what kind of approach that they want to be able to take, but you know that they've got a great understanding of how to attack you and make you feel like, all right, you're in defense mode when you're on offense."
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams on Opening Night of Super Bowl LIII.
"It's huge because one guy can't be targeted, so many guys get the ball, even our tight ends and our running backs," Cooks said, explaining the possible advantage. "I think it makes us special and keeps us on our edge."
Goff's targeted 13 different Rams in the 2018 campaign and six Rams have been targeted at least 50 times. But Cooks is right, the Rams offense is now a balanced threat on the out of the backfield as well. With the Week 16 addition of running back C.J. Anderson, the Rams now roll out two running backs with opposing styles — more for Belichick to choose from.
"[Y]ou take away what we do best and if he does that they got a high chance of winning the football game this Sunday, so it'll be interesting to see what best does he take away," Anderson said. "Every team has a 'best' but then plan B — plan C, but what does he take away that makes us best? We'll see."
Four days from Super Bowl Sunday, the veteran seemed equally curious and confident asking the rhetorical question to dozens of media members who have seen Belichick shut down a team's best option in the sport's biggest game en route to a ring six different times.
As for how the Rams' offensive 11 will approach going against one of the best to ever coach a game of football...
"We're going to play football," Anderson said. "At the end of the day we are going to play ball the way we play ball and we'll make in-game adjustments as we see fit and as we go."