When it comes to his press conferences, Bill Belichick's about as likely to break into a seductive belly dance as he is to gush over one of the 53 players on his roster. But when it comes to the opposition, the coach is always more than willing to lay on heavy helpings of praise, and convince the world that his Pats are up against the NFL's best . . .
And sometimes, he doesn't even have to lie.
For instance, Larry Fitzgerald. You know about Fitzgerald. He'll go down as one of the best to ever play the wide receiver position. He's only 29 years old, but already finds himself in the Top 5 among active players in receiving touchdowns and, by the end of this season, will likely have more than 800 career receptions and well over 10,000 career receiving yards. He's a 6-foot-3, 225-pound freak of nature, who strikes fear in the eyes of any NFL coach even perhaps the greatest of all time.
Anyway, here's what Belichick said about Fitzgerald this afternoon, as the Pats prepare for Sunday's home opener against the Cardinals (courtesy of Mary Paoletti):
"He does everything well," Belichick said. "Hes a great, great receiver; will go down as one of the all-time greats and might end up being the best one ever, I dont know. He has size, quickness, ability to separate and gets open, exceptional hands. Hes good short, deep, with the ball in his hands after the catch; strong, very smart, sets up his routes well. They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, its hard to even find him; you have no idea where hes going to line up from play to play. He has a very big route tree; he runs all the routes with double moves off of them and complementary moves so one route sets up another."
And here's what Belichick didn't say: "It's just lucky for us that the Cardinals are starting Kevin Kolb at quarterback."
But he could have, and should have.
Listen, I love Larry Fitzgerald as much as the next guy. The dude transcends NFL allegiance. And no one will be surprised if he puts up massive numbers on Sunday.
I also realize that Kolb who's extremely likely to start for the injured John Skelton in Week 2 was very effective in relief against the Seahawks last Sunday. Not that it would take much, but it's very safe to say that he'll have more confidence coming into Week 2 than he's had in more than a year.
But come on, it won't last long.
It's one thing for Kolb to sneak up on Slappy Carroll and the Seahawks in the comfort of his own Arizona home (although, there were a few boo birds as he took over for Skelton.) It's another thing to start on the road against Bill Belichick and the fully-prepared Pats. At the end of the day, even if Fitzgerald puts up his numbers, it won't be enough to offset Kolb's.
Although I'm sure Belichick will still have plenty of nice things to say about them both.