A weekly ritual of the NFL is that coaches talk to media of the team they are playing via a conference call, usually on Wednesday for games being played on Sunday.
But Bill Belichick long ago stopped being a usual NFL coach, as his six Super Bowl rings make clear.
So, Belichick requested to talk to reporters who cover the Seahawks on Monday, taking questions for 17 minutes.
Here are five things that stood out:
Russell Wilson is ‘problem No. 1’
Belichick said what every coach says — defending the Seahawks starts with trying to figure out a way to handle Russell Wilson, saying he’s “problem No. 1.”
Wilson led Seattle to wins over the Patriots in the regular season in 2012 and 2016 (maybe we won’t bring up that Wilson fell a yard shy of beating the Pats again in the Super Bowl).
Belichick said one thing that stands out to him is Wilson continuing to thrive despite a continually changing supporting cast.
“It’s quite a different group from the time we’ve played them before,” he said. “… there’s a few guys but there’s been a lot of turnover but he just continues to be super productive with whoever it is, and whatever he has to work with, so he’s very, very resourceful.”
‘They would have replaced us’
Belichick and Seattle coach Pete Carroll will forever be connected due to their New England history — Belichick replaced Carroll when Carroll was fired following the 1999 season after three seasons coaching the Patriots.
After a year out of football, Carroll jumpstarted his career at USC, then came to Seattle in 2010.
Asked about still coaching against Carroll 20 years after replacing him, Belichick said “that means we’ve done pretty well, or somebody would have replaced us.”
Carroll was fired after going 27-21 in three seasons with the Patriots and making the playoffs his first two years but going 8-8 in 1999.
“Pete’s very consistent, and we’ve had players that have come from there and you know when you have a player that plays for Pete you know you’re getting a, you know, a certain type of player,” Belichick said. “A guy that really loves football and wants to play football and play hard and is passionate about it. I have a ton of respect for Pete and his consistency, his, you know, his record, his ability to handle whatever comes and do it in a way that, you know, doesn’t distract the team.”
Giving nothing away on Cam Newton
Belichick didn’t elaborate much on what he thought of quarterback Cam Newton’s play in Week 1. Belichick is well-known for his attempts at keeping information on his own team a well-guarded secret, so even though the Seahawks have all the film they need to break it down, Belichick gave short answers to two questions about Newton on Monday, just in case.
Newton had a solid debut taking over for Tom Brady at quarterback, completing 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards as the Patriots beat Miami, 21-11. Newton also rushed for two touchdowns and 75 yards to lead both teams.
“He’s been great to work with,” Belichick said. “Got a great attitude, works very hard.”
As for how Newton played Sunday, Belichick said it didn’t really matter because “whatever we did this week I don’t think it will be good enough. We’ll have to be better than that.”
Blocking Bobby Wagner
Wagner has also played in each of the three Seattle-New England games in the Carroll era, and Belichick also lathered on praise for the Seahawks middle linebacker.
“There’s no plays where you’re not blocking 54,” Belichick said. “I mean, you are accounting for him on everything and, still, he continues to have tremendous production.
” … He almost plays like a safety around the line of scrimmage and some of the things that they do where he has to over routes and things like that. I mean, it’s a very difficult position to play in that defense, and he’s exceptional.”
Jamal Adams is ‘disruptive’
Belichick is very familiar with Jamal Adams, who played against the Patriots the last three years while with the Jets. All were New England wins, though Adams did return an interception 61 yards for a touchdown against the Patriots last year.
“Of course, we saw a lot of him at the Jets,” Belichick said. “He was a very disruptive player against us. You’ve got to game plan for him. … He kind of controls the middle of the field. You’ve got to be careful about throwing the ball around his area, or he’ll put a hard hit on the receiver and jar the ball loose and get it picked up in the air and everything else. So, he’s a guy you’ve got to know where he is.
“They did a good job with Atlanta. He made several plays, tackles for losses and, hit the quarterback. Then, they put them up there around a line of scrimmage and you’re worried about him, then he doesn’t come and they do something else. He causes a lot of issues for an offensive football team.”