Patriots

Boston coaches explain what makes Bill Belichick, Patriots successful

Boston coaches explain what makes Bill Belichick, Patriots successful

Bill Belichick has enjoyed unprecedented success as head coach of the New England Patriots for the last two decades, leading his team to six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances over that span.

It's the kind of success Belichick's fellow Boston coaches can only dream of accomplishing. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy can't help but marvel at the 67-year-old's ability to get his teams to buy in each and every season.

The trio appeared on "Dale & Keefe" as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Wednesday to discuss what makes Belichick and the Patriots so great.

Stevens led off by talking about Belichick's squad seemingly always being on the same page.

“The thing that stands out when you go over and watch the Patriots do workouts and sit in meetings and sit in film is they are on one page. They are in one direction. His message, although has thousands of complexities within each scheme defensively and offensively, his message is concise. It’s ultimately not only well delivered, but well received. You can tell that thing is a juggernaut. That is a train moving in one direction. They know what they need to do to be successful. I don’t think it’s brain surgery the way that I have seen it from up and close and afar is they don’t beat themselves. There are a lot of things in a football game that ultimately lead to that and they are the best at them.”

Cassidy noted the culture that has been established in Foxboro since the day Belichick took over as Patriots head coach.

“He has a 53 minimum players and then the practice squad and we’re dealing with 12-22, so a little bit easier for us to probably work our way around the room and get our message individually 1-on-1. The Patriots have been the best at establishing culture — this is the way we’re doing it. We’re going to get it right and if you’re not on board that is fine, we’ll get someone else. It’s worked for them very well.

"Credit to Bill and credit to ownership. It starts at the top and the players have bought into that direction. We have it with (Patrice) Bergeron and (Zdeno) Chara. We’re very lucky. I am one of the most fortunate guys in the National Hockey League to coach true pros like that. Coming in at a young age I appreciate that. I am sure Brad has his guys that he leans on and Alex the same. Everyone is blessed or not of establishing that culture and have guys that will follow it. He’s done a great job — him and Tom (Brady) obviously, the two faces of the franchise. It has been terrific."

Cora raved about the Patriots' discipline and noted that on the rare occasion they do lose, it usually isn't due to silly mistakes.

“For me it is the preparation and the way they go about it on Sundays. It’s just like, ‘We’re going to play this way and if you beat us, you beat us. We didn’t beat ourselves.’ You can go back to yesterday -- man on second no outs and we had a mistake running the bases. That’s on us. We were undisciplined on that play and probably cost us the game. With them, I have been watching this team for 5-6 years, it’s like, 'Wow' at how precise they are. It’s almost perfect. When they lose a game it’s not because they were sloppy or undisciplined, it’s just the other team that Sunday was just better than (them).”

Cora, Stevens, and Cassidy have done a fine job with their respective teams, but there's no doubt Belichick has set the standard high for them and everyone else who coaches one of Boston's storied franchises.

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Patriots dominate Pro Football Focus' ranking of top rookies in preseason

Patriots dominate Pro Football Focus' ranking of top rookies in preseason

One of the most encouraging developments through the first two weeks of the preseason for the New England Patriots has been the impressive performance of their rookie class.

Pro Football Focus on Wednesday released its ranking of the top 10 offensive and defensive rookies from the first two weeks of the preseason and three Patriots players made the list.

Jarrett Stidham came in at No. 3 among offensive players. The former Auburn quarterback is completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 372 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions through two games. Stidham winning the backup job over Brian Hoyer wouldn't be a shocking scenario if his performance continues to impress.

The best rookie for the Patriots has been undrafted wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Here's what PFF had to say about the North Carolina State product, who was ranked No. 1:

Few have been as high on Meyers as PFF has over the past few months, which is primarily a result of his contested-catch ability as well as his collegiate progression. The undrafted rookie from NC State earned an 82.5 overall grade last year, 37th among wide receivers while his 86.2 receiving graded pitted him at No. 21, seven spots behind his now-teammate N’Keal Harry. In eight of his 11 regular-season games last year, he saw double-digit targets, earning 80.0-plus grades in four them.

Meyers has always been up for the challenge and working with the Patriots first team in training camp appears to be just another stepping stone on his inevitable path to success at the next level.

The one Patriots rookie who made the top 10 defensive players list was Chase Winovich at No. 2. The edge rusher from Michigan tallied six tackles, two QB hits and a sack in the win versus the Titans.

A few other Patriots rookies have impressed in the preseason.

First-round draft pick N'Keal Harry played a limited number of snaps in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions and made two quality catches before exiting with an apparent injury. Third-round pick Damien Harris was one of New England's best players in last week's victory over the Titans with 103 total yards. The Alabama running back is making a compelling case to be drafted late in your fantasy football league.

It's not often a team has so many standout performances from rookies in the preseason. The Patriots lost several talented players to free agency after winning Super Bowl LII in February, but their most recent draft class should be a tremendous help in filling out the roster with the required depth to make another deep run in the NFL playoffs.

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