Belichick calls Brady the 'greatest quarterback of all time'


Belichick calls Brady the 'greatest quarterback of all time'

Bill Belichick has been singing Tom Brady's praises for years. But earlier this week, he articulated his feelings on Brady's place in history in a slightly different way. 

During an appearance at the Salesforce World Tour stop in Boston, Belichick spoke for about 10 minutes on a variety of Patriots-related topics. Among them was the quarterback he drafted in the sixth round 16 years ago.

Belichick knew that Brady had spoken at the event last year, to which Salesforce Vice Chairman and President Keith Block replied, "Yeah, we had to clean up the aisles."

"I can imagine," Belichick said with a smile. "We have to do that at the stadium, too, [fans] paying homage to him. But, you know, greatest quarterback of all time. He's been just a tremendous leader, tremendous player for our organization."

It comes as no surprise that Belichick would feel that way. He often says that there's no quarterback he would rather have. This is essentially that same sentiment just worded a little differently. Still, for a football historian like Belichick to step to a microphone and give Brady the G.O.A.T. label is worth noting. 

Throughout the address, Belichick happily goes over some of the stories he's most proud of during his time as head coach of the Patriots. 

Wrestler-turned-offensive lineman Steve Neal got a shout out, as did Matt Cassel, who barely played in college and still managed to lead the team to an 11-5 record in 2008. A couple of Belichick's favorites -- Tedy Bruschi and Adam Vinatieri -- also earned quick mentions. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion -- particularly with the draft approaching -- came early in Belichick's appearance when he spoke about how the Patriots have "tried to be an outlier in some respects."

He referenced his time early on as Patriots head coach, when he chose to be one of only two teams in the league to play a 3-4 defense. At that point, players who fit that particular scheme, like nose tackle Ted Washington, were easy to acquire because the demand was almost nonexistent. 

Five years and three Patriots championshps later, half of the league used a 3-4.

At that point, Belichick said, "if we were looking for a nose tackle, there was probably five other teams in the draft ahead of us." They had to evolve.

Over the years, as his teams have drafted near the bottom of the first round following successful seasons, Belichick and his front office have tried to take advantage of the market inefficiencies, which has given the team an ever-changing shape. 

"We've kind of had to find different players, different schemes," Belichick said, "whether it be tight-end based offenses, or whether it be going from an odd to an even front defense, or whatever it happened to be. Just trying to find different ways to capitalize on the talent that's available. Otherwise, we're going to get the fifth, sixth, seventh best guy at whatever the position is so we've tried to take kind of more away in areas that have been less populated."

One other draft tidbit to take away from Belichick's speaking engagement: The Patriots want players who love football.

Because so much is put on their plates as soon as they sign on the dotted line, and because the expectations are high, it can be a difficult place to work. Belichick has admitted as much in the past.

But if it doesn't feel like work, if a player's passion for the game is genuine, then the odds of said player staying motivated and attentive are that much better. 

"If you like football, you like to come in and work on football, then the New England Patriots is a great place to be," Belichick said. "If you don't, if it's a job, if you'd rather be doing something else, then honestly, you're better off with another team."

You can watch Belichick's entire Salesforce interview here

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

Rob Gronkowski, decked out in his finest St. Patrick's Day duds over the weekend in Nashville, reportedly tried to shed some light on his NFL future.

Of course, while Gronk was doing Gronk things, he told a Patriots fan one thing and a reporter another.

Breech is an NFL writer for His father is former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Jim Breech. And the "69ers" aren't a real team.


AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

The Patriots' "direction" never really changes. They're always "going for it" because they're always one of the best teams in the league. 

The rest of the AFC East is usually in flux. The other teams range from hoping for 8-8 to trying to bottom out in hopes of a high draft pick. Yet right now, it seems the stars are aligning and that the Jets, Bills and Dolphins all have the mindset: Change things now and be ready to pounce once Brady is gone. 

The Jets traded up to No. 3 on Saturday, assuring themselves a chance at one of this draft's top quarterbacks. The Bills, with picks Nos. 12 and 22, are expected by pundits to make a similar move up. The Dolphins, fresh off cutting bait with Ndamukong Suh in an attempt at a culture change, have the 11th pick and could use it on a quarterback to either push or replace Ryan Tannehill. 

None of the three teams are close to pushing the Patriots as long as Brady's around, even with the Bills coming off a season in which they reached the playoffs. Yet there's a two-or-three-year plan on which all three teams could have designs: Get the quarterback now, build around him and be in a good situation by the time Brady is done. 

We've seen these teams try to rebuild before during the Brady Era, with only limited success. Mark Sanchez worked out better in New York than anyone could have initially expected, but that success lasted way shorter than any believers could have hoped. Now, it seems they try again. 

Over in Buffalo, the end of the Tyrod Taylor era hardly means the beginning of the Nathan Peterman era. Those two first-rounders should easily be able to get the Bills into the top five, and they've also got two second-rounders and two third-rounders. Hell, they have the pieces to get to No. 1 if Cleveland is bold enough to pass on their choice of Darnold/Rosen/Allen/Mayfield. 

The Dolphins are in the more interesting spot. Tannehill missed all of last season and he's 29. If you're six years into your career and your team still isn't totally sure if you can be one of the better QBs in the league, you probably aren't one of the better QBs in the league. At the very least, Lamar Jackson should be there at No. 11. They could also trade up. 

At the start of last season, the Patriots had far and away the two best QBs in the AFC East. Now, it stands to reason that at least two of their divisional opponents (the Jets and Bills) will come away with what they hope are franchise quarterbacks. And if any of these guys hit, the Pats will have gone from the best QB situation in the NFL to seeing some actual competition waiting for them by the time their own quarterback is done. 

Of course, all three of these teams usually suck at everything, so it shouldn't be a big deal.