|Bill Belichick returns the love from Gregg Popovich: ‘I love to watch that team’||12.19.14 at 10:17 am ET|
FOXBORO — On a day when Boston, New England and the basketball world is talking about Rajon Rondo heading to Dallas, Bill Belichick heaped a huge amount of praise upon Rondo’s new rival in the Western Conference.
On Friday, Belichick accepted the praise and returned the favor.
“It’s flattering he would say that,” Belichick said of the five-time champion Spurs coach. “It means a lot coming from his stature and given the amount of respect I have for him and our organization has for that organization because I think it extends well beyond me. That’s a very flattering comment.
“Tremendous respect for Gregg. I think the consistency they’ve had there, the level that they’ve played at. I love the way he coaches that team. I love to watch that team. He’s really good, really good. It’s not like I watch a hundred basketball games a year or anything like that but I think he handles himself and his team, I admire it. I really do.”
Belichick has often interacted with other coaches in Boston, like former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, ex-Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Bruins coach Claude Julien and Boston College hockey coach Jerry York. In some cases, he’s even invited them into Gillette to speak to his team.
It’s not quite at that level with Popovich, at least not yet.
“We’ve had a lot of indirect conversation. Put it that way,” Belichick said.
Reminded that Popovich’s job just got a lot tougher with Dallas acquiring Rondo in a trade with the Celtics Thursday night, Belichick showed that single-minded focus he shares with Popovich.
“Right now, I’m really worried about the Jets. I can’t worry about everybody else’s team and what their challenges are and all that,” Belichick said. “I’m sure every team has a lot of challenges. We have a big one and that’s really my job to deal with that one.”
|Bill Belichick returns the favor to Doc Rivers: ‘I have a lot of respect for Doc’||12.12.12 at 5:16 pm ET|
On Wednesday, Belichick essentially said the pleasure was all his.
“It was great to have Doc here,” Belichick said. “I have a lot of respect for Doc and the program the Celtics run. I think he does a tremendous job coaching his team. I really admire the way his teams play, the way his players play. I think he has great leadership from a lot of those guys and has had it through the years. Certainly Kevin [Kevin Garnett] and Paul [Paul Pierce] and guys like that. We’ve learned a lot from watching them.”
Has Belichick ever sat in on pregame Celtics meetings like Rivers did on Monday?
“We talk. We exchange ideas,” Belichick said. “I’m certainly pulling for them and I know they’re pulling for us. We definitely have a rooting interest in it but beyond that, on a professional level, I think there’s certainly a lot that I’ve learned from watching Doc and the Celtics and the way they do a lot of things organizationally and his coaching style and some of the things he’s talked to me about the way he’s handled players and handled different situations and things like that. He’s talked to our team and said a lot of things that really made sense and really hit home. I’ve had an opportunity to talk to his guys a couple times. We have a good relationship. We’ve probably both learned from each other.”
In keeping with the light-hearted NBA theme toward the end of Belichick’s presser Wednesday, he was asked if it would be a good idea to just wave at the coach at the end of the game like they do in the NBA instead of a handshake? Read the rest of this entry »
|Vince Wilfork: Celtics, Patriots have one thing in common: ‘A lot of heart’||05.31.12 at 7:44 pm ET|
So, Wednesday night’s loss hurt him just like everyone else in Boston. He was able to put that in the past Thursday morning on the practice fields as Patriots OTAs continued outside Gillette Stadium.
“Absolutely I watched it,” the veteran nose tackle said. “I couldn’t believe we blew a 15-point lead. That’s heartbreaking, but they’re fighting hard. They’re fighting really hard, I still have faith and hopefully we can pull two away at home and get it back to even. [I’m] a big fan and I’m pulling for them.”
“Oh man, that’s a fine. Out here that’s a fine,” Wilfork said, half tongue-in-cheek. “I wish them all the luck in the world. They’ve fought through a lot of battles and I’m pretty sure character is going to play a lot going into these next couple of games and how well they can play as a team. [It’s] the same thing we do, how well we play as a team, I think you perform better [when] you trust teammates. I’m pulling for them.”
But besides just cheering for them, Wilfork can’t help but see some admirable qualities in their playoff approach, qualities he likes to think his own team has.
“A lot of heart,” Wilfork said. “We play with a lot of heart and they play with a lot of heart. It’s a tough football team and a tough basketball team but when you surround yourself with good people, good athletes and a good organization, people seem to flock to you. People want to come there and be a part of something that’s good and they have something that’s special. A lot of people wrote them off a long time ago and we’ve been written off around here a lot also, so it really doesn’t matter what people say, it’s all about that locker room.
“That’s what it comes down to ‘ in that locker room, playing for one another and for the team. Hopefully they can get it done. I’ll be there. I’m pulling. I’m a big fan and they have a bunch of fans in my household. Hopefully they can get it done.”
Four months removed from losing the Super Bowl and coming that close in the last two minutes, Wilfork was asked about the effect it has on him, individually, and what kind of effect does it have on the team.
“No effect,” Wilfork said, almost defiantly. “It has no effect on me. You start back from where you started before, from zero. That’s where I’m at now. You really can’t dwell over spoiled milk. Last year was last year, that’s how you have to look at it and keep rolling. You have to be a professional. When it comes down to it you have to be a professional about everything and that plays a big part now. We have to be able to move forward.
“I’ve moved forward and I’m excited to play football. This is my life and this is what I dreamed of doing. I’m back at it, we’re back it and we’re having fun doing it. [I’ve] been running a couple of routes and look good out there. Tom [Brady] gave me a couple of balls, looked pretty good out there.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bill Belichick on Calvin Johnson: The Real Shaq daddy of receivers||11.24.10 at 11:49 am ET|
FOXBORO — Who says Bill Belichick is only focused on football from July to January?
This week, he dropped a little NBA analogy on everyone when he was asked how difficult it is to cover Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, someone the Patriots corners and safeties will have plenty of eyes on come Thursday.
“He’s never covered. He’s never covered,” Belichick raved. “The play against Green Bay [Oct. 3], there’s 10 seconds left to go in the [first] half, [Charles] Woodson‘s on him, the safety’s over the top, they throw it up to him, he goes up for a touchdown and gets it. I mean, it looks like Shaquille O’Neal going up for a rebound against two point guards.”
When Belichick wants to really make a point, he repeats it time and time again. He did exactly that with Johnson, who leads the Lions with 55 catches, 725 yards and the entire NFC with 10 TDs. He trails only Dwayne Bowe, who has 11 for Kansas City.
“He’s never covered. He’s never covered,” he said again. “There’s always an opportunity somewhere. He’s got such a great catching radius. He’s so big that he can catch the ball in such a wide amount of space that if the quarterback puts it where the defender can’t reach it, then this guy’s got great hands, he’s got tremendous ball skills. Yeah, I would say, he’s definitely not covered even when he’s covered. You got to worry about it. And they have a lot of confidence in him and they should. They throw some balls to him that you look at and say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty tight coverage. I don’t know if he should be throwing it there.’ Then he comes up with the catch and you understand why ‘ I don’t want to say the ball is being forced in there ‘ but it’s tight coverage, but it isn’t good enough because he’s got really good ball skills and he’s a big target. He’s an impressive player.”