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Bill Belichick: The 49ers, like their coach Jim Harbaugh, are ‘physical with an edge’ 12.14.12 at 5:34 pm ET
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Bill Belichick kept in touch with Bill Walsh, seen here carried off the field after Super Bowl XIX. (AP)

Bill Belichick kept in touch with Bill Walsh, seen here carried off the field after Super Bowl XIX. (AP)

FOXBORO — Sometimes a football team genuinely takes on the personality of their coach.

Such is the case with the San Francisco 49ers.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked what he remembered about Jim Harbaugh the quarterback, who played for the Bears and Colts, and the University of Michigan, just like Tom Brady.

“We played against Jim a couple times when he was in Chicago, definitely at Indianapolis,” Belichick said of the days when he coached with the Giants and was head coach of the Browns. “Tough, competitive guy. He’d definitely stand in there; he had a lot of toughness. He had a good career. They traded him when they drafted Peyton [Peyton Manning]; he was the quarterback. He was there with Marshall Faulk and [Ted Marchibroda] Marchibroda. Good player. He played [14] years; he was around for awhile. Tough guy at Michigan.”

Do the 49ers play the way he played?

“I think, yeah, they play very competitively, they’re physical with an edge,” I’d say he was a tough guy for a quarterback, definitely. His teams reflect that. He’s a good personality, strong personality. They play that way; they play aggressively but with good temperament.”

Belichick said Friday, 48 hours from New England’s latest big game, that his interaction with him is limited.

“We’ve talked a few times. It’s funny, I think the last time I talked to him he was at Stanford and Bill Walsh was sitting in his office. So we were talking and he said, ‘Hey, Bill’s here, do you want to say hello to Coach Walsh?’, so I talked to Bill Walsh. That was a few years ago, I think ’05, somewhere around there.”

Belichick said he spoke with Walsh on the phone in that encounter, when the late Walsh was at Stanford.

“I think it was about some of his players, pre-draft type of thing or Combine maybe,” Belichick said.

Does Belichick still see imprints of Walsh on the 49ers organization?

“I think when you watch them play, you definitely don’t see that offensively,” Belichick said. “There’s an element to the offense, some of the flat backs things they do and all that but no, really I’d say this looks like Jim’s program. Not being inside the organization, I can’t really comment on some of the other – the scouting or some of the other things organizationally – I’m not sure about that. But I’d say this looks like Jim’s team. Kind of like what he did at Stanford, same coordinators other than Brad Seely, but with Greg [Roman] and Vic [Fangio] as their offensive and defensive coordinators. He had them at Stanford, so it’s similar.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, New England Patriots, nfl
Tom Brady on the impact the late Tom Martinez still has on him, his own health and focus 06.13.12 at 4:55 pm ET
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Tom Brady meets the media after Wednesday's minicamp session at Gillette. (Photo-Mike Petraglia, WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It’s been almost four months since Tom Brady lost the single biggest influence in his football life. But he said on Wednesday, following the second of three mandatory minicamp practices at Gillette Stadium, that Tom Martinez still has a huge impact on him. Martinez, who was waiting on a kidney transplant, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack during dialysis on his 66th birthday.

“I had a great level of comfort with Tom over the years,” Brady said. “He was always someone I could call on to rely on him. I know he’s watching down with every throw and I hear his voice in the back of my head after every throw. Throwing the football is about mechanics. There’s nothing special. It’s just a matter of doing it the right way. The better mechanical you are, the more accurate you’re going to be able to throw the football.”

So what are those words that Brady hears?

“When you’re not accurate, there’s a reason for it. It’s not like, ‘Hey you’ve got to throw the ball more accurate.’ No, there’s a reason. What are you doing?

“I’m constantly evaluating every throw. I watch every practice. Every rep I take in practice, I have someone film and I watch it after practice. I just make sure I’m continuing to work on the right things because ultimately when you’re under pressure, your body is going to revert to what it knows. Muscle memory is a very important thing for a quarterback. Hopefully, you train your muscles to react the way you need them to react when the pressure is on the most. That allows you to throw the ball with velocity and accuracy. The tougher the games get, the closer the coverages, the more accurate you need to be,” Brady added.

Martinez coached and mentored Brady every since the Patriots quarterback grew up in California and eventually attended the University of Michigan. Martinez, who also worked with John Elway and JaMarcus Russell, followed Bill Walsh and John Madden at the College of San Mateo before being forced to retire due to health concerns.

“I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years,” Brady said. “I have a lot of stuff written down of things we’ve talked about and things that I’ve learned and I have a great understanding of mechanically what I need to be able to do. It’s just a matter of seeing it and being able to correct it. Hopefully, you can correct it between series sometimes. You don’t always have the fortune to wait until Monday to figure things out. Sometimes you have to figure them out in the middle of the third quarter. That’s something where I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years.”

Something Brady has taught himself is to take care of his body, something he stressed Wednesday. He had his minicamp weigh-in on Wednesday and tipped the scales at 228 pounds.

“I feel really good,” Brady said. “I feel great. I’m right about where I always am, to tell you the truth. We had weigh-in today and I’m right where coach wants me at.

“I think you really refine what you do over the course of years because you realize what works for you and what you need to do to be prepared for the football season. I think there are things you do when you’re younger I haven’t necessarily done in a while because I don’t think it really correlates well to being a better football player. And ultimately, we’re trying to be the best football player we can be, not necessarily the best weight-lifter, or the best sprinter. You need to be the best football player.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Walsh, College of San Mateo, JaMarcus Russell, John Elway
Bill Belichick: I’m not thinking about retirement 02.03.12 at 10:38 am ET
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Bill Belichick said Friday that he's not thinking about retirement. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday morning that even if New England wins on Sunday, he’s not thinking about retirement.

Responding to a question about whether or not a win on Sunday would make him decide that it would be an appropriate time to call it a career, Belichick, who has been head coach of the Patriots since 2000, said he’s enjoying things too much to ride off into the sunset.

“I enjoy all the aspects of the job,” said Belichick, who will turn 60 in April. “I enjoy the team-building, the drafting, the free agents, team acquisitions — those kind of things. I enjoy bringing in the young players and working with guys who haven’t been in the NFL and teaching them the basic fundamentals in how to become a professional football player for the New England Patriots.

“And I enjoy working with the veteran players, the Tom Brady‘s and the Vince Wilfork‘s and the Wes Welker‘s and all those kind of players that can do really special things because of their not only talent, but experience. And I enjoy the competition on a weekly basis. Not just on Sundays, but the preparation leading up into the game. So I enjoy all of it. It beats working.”

Several Super Bowl-winning coaches have decided to walk away after winning it all. Belichick’s pal Jimmy Johnson did it with the Cowboys, and Bill Parcells did the same thing with the Giants (although both would eventually return to coaching with different teams). In addition, Bill Walsh, Vince Lombardi and Dick Vermeil also retired after winning Super Bowls.

But that doesn’t sound like the case with Belichick, who could win his fourth ring as a head coach on Sunday and sixth overall.

“Right now, I’m really thinking about, ‘What’s the best thing I can do to help our football team on Sunday against the Giants?’ I want to really try to do a good job in the job that I have,” Belichick said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Dick Vermeil
Bill Belichick talks like a man who knows his team is ready 01.20.12 at 7:12 pm ET
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A confident Bill Belichick ready for the AFC championship on Sunday. (AP)

FOXBORO — It was the subtlest of signals but Bill Belichick sounded like man Friday who knew his team is ready for the challenge of the AFC Championship on Sunday against the 13-4 Ravens.

Belichick was asked if there is a point at the end of the week where he can relax knowing the game plan is in place or does he think about the game plan up until kickoff?

“I think you get to a certain point here at the end of the week where you’re going at a fast pace early in the week, trying to get the scouting report, trying to get the information on the team that you’re playing, regardless of whether you’ve played them or not, doesn’t matter,” Belichick said. “Then you get into the process of the game plan and you try to pull everything together as you go through the week with the game plan Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there are always things that come up that you need to kind of rethink or now that you’ve really had a chance to see this against multiple things, maybe you’re thinking of it in one particular situation but what if it’s something else? You have problems, things that happen during the week that you have to work your way through and then you see how your team handles all that.”

Then came the hint that he thinks his team is ready.

“Sometimes you come out of there on Thursday, like last night, sometimes you come out of there after a Thursday practice and you say ‘I think we can add this, we can add that, this would be good in this situation.’ And do that,” Belchick said. “There are other Thursdays where you are saying, ‘We can’t handle what we’ve got here, we have to get rid of this, this and that.’ And, ‘We don’t want to add anything more; we just have to go with what we’ve got. Let’s get rid of this stuff, let’s don’t make the players worry about these calls, we’re not going to call that. We’ll call this instead.’ But you just don’t know that on Monday, you don’t know it on Tuesday, sometimes you don’t know it until Thursday.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 playoffs, AFC Championship, Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick: The modern-day Paul Brown 09.11.10 at 1:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — A famous and successful football coach once told his players that they’re only a product of their discipline, on and off the field.

“What my coaches and I accomplished during those years came from the way we handled our players,” he said. “To know and appreciate all that went into our football – in high school, college and the pros – and why we were successful, it is necessary to understand the principles that guided our teams.

“Everything had to do with people, from properly assessing a man’s character, intelligence and talent to getting him to perform to the best of his ability in a way that benefited our team. The ‘team’ was everything.”

That certainly sounds like Bill Belichick but those were actually the words of Paul Brown, the man Belichick credits for creating the system now employed by all NFL coaches and organizations.

And those words came from the 1979 biography “PB: The Paul Brown Story” co-authored with Brown by longtime Boston sportswriter Jack Clary.

Belichick, a voracious reader, is familiar with Brown’s words on coaching and the book. Before Bill Walsh‘s detailed work, “Finding the Winning Edge,” there was Paul Brown’s book. It’s no mistake that Walsh coached under Brown with the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1970s.

“Pretty much everything that we do now, he did when he was coaching 30, 40, 50 years ago,” Belichick said Friday of Brown. “He’s really the kind of father of professional coaches and the father of professional football. Not that other greats like [George] Halas and so forth… But the way it is now, is the way it was when Paul coached.”

And it certainly worked. Belichick won three Super Bowls in four years. Walsh led his 49ers dynasty teams to three titles in seven years. But together that’s one less than the seven NFL titles won by Brown’s Cleveland teams of the 50s and 60s. Brown led his team to the title game 11 times in 12 seasons.

“Nobody did more for football than Paul Brown did,” Belichick added.

After an ugly ending with then-Browns owner Art Modell in the mid-60s, Brown founded the Bengals in 1968. Brown oversaw a franchise that made two Super Bowl appearances in 1982 and 1989. Ironically, they were beaten both times by Bill Walsh’s 49ers. Brown passed away in 1991, handing leadership of the Bengals to his son Mike, whom Belichick says, has carried on the franchise in a way that would make his dad proud.

“I think that Mike [Brown] has done a great job with the organization. They had a terrific year last year. They have a good team. It looks like they’ve done some things to improve it this year. I think they do a lot of things well. They swept their division last year which is something not a lot of teams can say or have ever been able to say.

“When you have those kind of accomplishments, I think that Paul would be pretty proud of what the Bengals did last year and what they’re about, how they play, the way they’re coached, the way the organization is run. I think they do a pretty good job.”

Brown thought so much of his father that he turned away the chance for corporate sponsorship of the Bengals’ new stadium when it opened in 2000, instead choosing simply to name it after his dad.

What’s amusing to any Cincinnati native is to think how a disciplinarian like Brown would’ve handled the ‘Real World’ Bengals of 2010 with players like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. But Belichick said Friday that while Brown was known for his discipline, every coach is smart enough to understand the different personalities on their team.

“Well, I think – not that I was there for a lot of it – but even when Paul was coaching, every team [had] personalities,” Belichick said. “I think that’s part of every group you have – football or otherwise.”

Still, it’s hard to imagine what Paul Brown would do this Sunday if Ocho scores and grabs a rifle and fires it into the air after a touchdown. Very hard.

Read More: Bengals, Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, Cincinnati Bengals
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