Bill Belichick is attempting a bold turnaround in New England, and Ron Rivera will get an early look at how Belichick's plan is unfolding.
Rivera's Washington Football Team will visit the Patriots on Thursday for the teams' preseason opener. Belichick and Rivera are familiar preseason opponents, having faced each other multiple times in August while Rivera was with the Carolina Panthers.
Rivera was asked ahead of Thursday's matchup what he appreciates most about Belichick, who's in his 21st season with New England but just his second without Tom Brady.
"The best thing about coach is there are no apologies for who he is," Rivera said Tuesday in a press conference. "He's true to himself. He's true to form.
"I do appreciate watching him and trying to understand the things that he does and watch what happens with his team. He had a dynasty basically, and now they're rebuilding it and it's going to be fun to watch."
The Patriots endured their worst season in two decades last year, going 7-9 with Cam Newton at quarterback. But Belichick spent big in free agency and drafted rookie QB Mac Jones as he aims to return New England to relevance -- all while keeping his typical brusque approach to press conferences.
While Belichick won't exactly unveil any state secrets in Thursday's exhibition at Gillette Stadium, Rivera admitted he'll be looking to glean some best practices from the legendary head coach.
"He's one of those guys that you can learn from as you watch," Rivera said. "This really is a league of beg, borrow and steal. You watch what happens, you use what they do, and he's a guy -- him and Andy Reid and Pete Carroll are some of the veteran coaches that you watch as a younger coach -- not that I'm much younger than them."
Thursday's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Foxboro.