Cris Collinsworth

Awesome Bill Belichick quote is proof of what makes Patriots coach great

Awesome Bill Belichick quote is proof of what makes Patriots coach great

Bill Belichick earned his 300th win as an NFL head coach Sunday.

And there are just as many stories illustrating what makes the New England Patriots head coach so great at his job.

NBC Sports' Peter King shared a few great ones Monday in his "Football Morning In America" column, including this gem from "Sunday Night Football" color commentator Cris Collinsworth, who recalled a memorable interaction with Belichick during a pregame production meeting.

"One time I asked him about how well one of his defensive tackles was playing—the way he got his hands inside, the way he controlled his man—and then Bill went on a 30-minute deal about defensive tackles," Collinsworth told King. 

"Everything about the position. I was stunned about the level of minute detail he went into about defensive tackles. I said, 'You should write a book about defensive tackles.'

“He said, 'Cris, I could write a book about every position.' "

Anyone who's listened to a Belichick press conference can attest to Collinsworth's story. Belichick won't give you anything about player injuries or Tom Brady's future, but ask him about X's and O's at any position, and he'll go into incredible detail.

As Collinsworth added, though, what makes Belichick a true legend is his ability to convey his incredible wealth of knowledge to his players.

"Bill’s ability to develop talent is what separates him," Collinsworth added. "He knows he can develop and train younger players, or improve players on the back-end of their careers, which allows him to let high-priced players walk. That ability to control his salary cap allows him to build depth on his roster.

"When injuries are destroying other teams late in the year, he still has quality players coming off the bench for the playoffs and Super Bowl."

Case in point? The Patriots' latest Super Bowl MVP, Julian Edelman, was a seventh-round draft pick.

Read more from King on Belichick here >>

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Cris Collinsworth: Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers GOAT debate has an 'easy answer'

Cris Collinsworth: Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers GOAT debate has an 'easy answer'

Last Monday night’s game against the Bills was – by every measure – more important for the Patriots than Sunday night’s against the Packers will be.  

A divisional game against an AFC opponent? Those are always more critical than out-of-conference matchups like this one against Green Bay. 
 
But in 10 years, you won’t easily remember what happened in that Tom Brady-Derek Anderson field goal fest.  

Meanwhile, you’ll remember what happens Sunday night at Gillette Stadium for a long time. Because this rare duel between two transcendent, future Hall of Famers is only the second time they’ve shared a field and could very well be the last time.

The 2014 game at Lambeau was a fascinating. Green Bay won 26-21 with the key play coming just before the half when Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for a 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The Patriots had just narrowed the lead to 16-14 and were getting the ball to start the second half but Rodgers froze Devin McCourty, who was the single safety in the middle of the field, by looking left. When Nelson, coming from the right boundary, got a step to the inside on Darrelle Revis, Rodgers snapped his head back around, delivered a dart and caught McCourty leaning. Nelson took it to the house

You probably remembered that play without my filling in the details.

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That’s why this is so anticipated. It’s an event.

Earlier this week, I had Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth on Quick Slants the Podcast. Collinsworth plumbs every aspect of the matchup, from historical import to technical expertise and the merits of this matchup compared to say, Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.

“The Peyton Manning one was about MVPs vs. Super Bowl rings,” said Collinsworth. “This conversation is very different, this conversation is even more intriguing to me because it has to do with physical gifts.

“Tom Brady, as we all know is not ultimately so mobile although he has made plays moving around in the pocket and with the occasional scramble,” said Collinsworth. “But with Aaron Rodgers, it’s his mobility and his arm strength that really sets him apart. Plus, from an intellectual standpoint, Aaron Rodgers is the equal of those other two guys.”

When the game begins, the majority of the conversation between Collinsworth and the great Al Michaels will revolve around what’s happening on the field. Brady and Rodgers will be at the center of that, but that may not be the ideal time for detailed conversation on whether or not Rodgers can lay claim to any part of the “best ever” discussion.
 
When I asked Collinsworth for an answer, he said, “I wish I had that answer. The easy answer is to always say the guy who has the most championships. That’s Tom Brady. You can’t deny what he’s done. Especially in the biggest of moments. In the biggest of moments, Tom has been unbelievable, even when they’ve lost. You can never deny that championship mindset that he has.

“But it’s fun to flirt around the edges,” we flirt around the edges plenty in the pod. Give a listen.

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Collinsworth: 'Pats could look to drop early bomb on Eagles'

Collinsworth: 'Pats could look to drop early bomb on Eagles'

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota -- Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, James White and . . . ?

In each of the Patriots' last three Super Bowls, Tom Brady’s leaned on his running backs when the heat got turned up. Woodhead had four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown and was a catalyst for the Patriots offense in the drive before the half that put the Patriots ahead of the Giants in SB46. Against Seattle, Vereen had 11 catches for 64 yards -- a paltry 5.8 YPC average even with a 16-yarder mixed in -- but eight of those touches were positive drive-starters or connections that moved the chains. White caught 14 of the 16 passes that went his way for 110 yards. Again, not a huge YPC. But it was what was available.

Cris Collinsworth, who’ll provide the analysis for NBC Sunday night when the Patriots play the Eagles, says the Patriots are likely to go back to the running-back well against Philly.

The Jaguars' success in bottling up the backs was what kept the AFC Championship Game close, said Collinsworth.

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“What Jacksonville was able to do, tackling those guys in the open field, was among the most impressive things I’ve seen all season long and it’s really a big part of why they had a chance to win that game in the end.

“So now it’s gonna be up to the Eagles to try and do the same thing. It’s going to be the same pass rush --  the Jags, the Eagles -- same kind of pass rush. They’re gonna be coming after him and you know Tom Brady’s not taking a bunch of hits in the first quarter of this game. So what do you do? You gotta check it down, throw it out to those two running backs . . . 

“That will be the game early and then it will be a matter of whether or not they can tackle those guys,” Collinsworth mused. “If they can, then they’re forced to work it down the field. If they have to work it down the field, then the pressure has a chance to get there.”

The Eagles defense doesn’t spend a lot of time reading what’s going on after the snap. They make a read and fly. How to counter that?

“The easy answer is play-action,” said Collinsworth. “The Eagles linebackers play downhill so hard and the defensive ends are crashing so there’s a big opportunity for play-action. The Patriots were not a great screen team until about the last three or four weeks and the playoffs. Their screen game got a lot better at the end.”

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Collinsworth is also curious to see how the domino effect surrounding the Eagles treatment of Gronk plays out. A big one could be available early, he believes

“What are they gonna do with Gronk? That’s the million-dollar question. Are you really willing to leave [wide receiver Brandin] Cooks out there 1-on-1 and see what happens? This is [an Eagles defense] that’s been beaten by a lot of double moves. They are as aggressive on the back end as they are on the front end. I can’t decide whether Brady will want to score touchdowns on that double-move or will just want to scare ‘em. Do they run a bunch of slants and then hit ‘em with the double move or do you run the double-move early to get them to back off?”

Collinsworth had plenty more to say on the excellence of Brady and Bill Belichick and theorized that the departure of coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels will be absorbed and the train will just keep chugging on. Catch it all in the Quick Slants podcast: