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Michael Lombardi on D&C: ‘The Bills aren’t going to go away easily’

09.23.11 at 9:13 am ET
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NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi joined the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly conversation Friday morning.

Lombardi was the Browns director of players personnel under Bill Belichick in the early 1990s, and he said Belichick had a human side to him. Asked about the NFL Films documentary on Belichick, in which Belichick shows enthusiasm for a halloween party, Lombardi said that was no act: “That actual portrayal of Bill was dead-on,” he said.

Referring to a filmed meeting between Belichick and Randy Moss in which Moss asks about a party, Lombardi said: “I think ultimately players respect knowledge and they respect somebody who can make them better. And you could just see in that meeting the respect that Randy had for Bill, and obviously the respect Bill had for Randy for talking to him and being honest. I think it was mutual. But I think ultimately what people must understand about the NFL is it’s not how old you are or how young are, it’s how smart you are and can you make the players better. If you can make the players better, they’ll listen to you. If you can’t, they’re going to tune you out.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Belichick’s game preparation: “Nobody can break the game down to the essential components [like Belichick]. ‘€¦ What Bill’s trying to do in the first quarter is to figure out the game plan of the other team. And his preparation all week long is to determine, ‘How quickly can I figure out what they’re going to do to us, and how can I adjust to make sure we can handle it?’ And it’s in that preparation that allows him to do that. Very few people can attack the game the way he did.”

On how the Patriots would do without Tom Brady: “The Patriots will be a good team because they are essentially a team. They’re not like the Colts, who have one great player [Peyton Manning] and a bunch of guys that are just running around.”

On the Patriots’ opponent Sunday, the 2-0 Bills: “I think they are for real in the sense that there’s a tremendous hunger. They’ve lost 14 in a row to the Patriots. ‘€¦ I think it will be a really tough game. I think it will be a lot like the Detroit Lions game in Detroit last Thanksgiving Day. It’s going to be a little bit of a fast-paced game. I would expect the Patriots to defer the coin toss if they win it because they’re going to need to get the ball back at the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter to maybe make up for any [Buffalo] lead or potentially to build on any lead that they have. I think this is going to be one of those kind of games, because the Bills aren’t going to go away easily. The Bills are going to fight, scratch and claw, and they’re going to compete as hard as they can.”

On Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick: “I think he’s really a good quarterback. But when you break him down, he’s throws a lot of balls between his line of scrimmage and 10 yards. He doesn’t really chuck the ball down the field. He’s not a down-the-field, drive-the-football [player]. And as the wind changes — the last six games of the [2010] season, his percentage of completions went down to 55 percent. Weather is going to have a lot to do with how he plays. Right now, it’s beautiful and sunny in Buffalo, there’s no wind. And you can handle it really well. But as the weather changes, it’s going to become a factor for him, and I think it’s going to be very difficult.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Michael Lombardi, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss
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