Tony Romo

Tony Romo offers insightful take on Bill Belichick's coaching genius

Tony Romo offers insightful take on Bill Belichick's coaching genius

As a longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-lead analyst for CBS, Tony Romo has encountered plenty of knowledgable players and coaches.

But if you ask Romo, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is in a class of his own.

"From a football mind standpoint, I really don’t know that I have met anybody really that close," Romo said Wednesday in an interview with Dallas' 105.3 The Fan. "He’s rare."

So, what makes Belichick different? For one, the Patriots coach is always at least a step ahead ... in some cases a step ahead of being a step ahead.

"Everyone says he’s going to take away what you do best," Romo said. "They think he’s going to double-team the opponent's best player. I’m like, ‘No, you have to understand, he’s taking away the inside run, while he’s taking away the inside receivers -- Antonio Brown or someone.' 

"It’s like, they know he’s going to take away Antonio Brown, but he takes away multiple things and he does it differently the next time he plays you from different looks."

Most importantly, Belichick isn't afraid to experiment with new schemes and personnel packages, making it extremely difficult for teams to game-plan against New England.

"He genuinely is not scared to go outside the box," Romo said. "And I find in the NFL very few teams vary from what they do. So, what he does then is he drafts people that he believes can adapt from week-to-week."

In Romo's eyes, Belichick's masterpiece was Super Bowl LIII, where he and linebackers coach Brian Flores helped limit the explosive Los Angeles Rams to three points.

"(That was) one of the greatest defensive performances I have ever seen in football," Romo said.

This is all coming from a guy who played Belichick's Patriots just twice in his career (and lost both times), so the legendary coach clearly knows how to make a lasting impression.

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Next Pats Podcast: Tony Romo on Brady, Belichick and Gronkowski; Early Patriots roster projections

Next Pats Podcast: Tony Romo on Brady, Belichick and Gronkowski; Early Patriots roster projections

Tony Romo attended the Northeast Amateur Invitational at the Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island and took the time to answer a handful of questions from reporters.

2:02 — Phil Perry asks him about Rob Gronkowski's potential return.

5:58 — How will Tom Brady deal with a depleted offense?

9:07 — How much longer Bill Belichick might continue coaching?

14:37 — Phil also caught up with Patriots cornerback Duke Dawson, who despite missing the entirety of his rookie year, could end up being a key piece of New England's secondary.

23:46 — Phil goes through his 53-man roster projection, starting with the defense and the handful of new additions there.

29:11 — Phil gets into the offense Brady will be working with.

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE:

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Tony Romo could see Bill Belichick coaching 'all the way until we put him in the ground'

Tony Romo could see Bill Belichick coaching 'all the way until we put him in the ground'

RUMFORD, Rhode Island -- Tony Romo never played for Bill Belichick, but he has had an opportunity to pick Belichick's brain several times over the course of the last couple of years.

Since he became a color commentator for CBS, Romo -- along with play-by-play man Jim Nantz and others -- has been able to sit with Belichick during production meetings ahead of CBS broadcasts of Patriots games. Those are generally relaxed settings where Belichick will provide insight on his team, its season, upcoming matchups. Whatever might help the broadcast. 

Ahead of competing in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at the Wannamoisett Country Club, Romo met with reporters to take questions about his golf game. But it didn't take long before the Patriots became a topic of conversation. 

Asked if in those production meetings he got a sense for Belichick's enthusiasm for his job, Romo said he doesn't see a head coach who looks anywhere close to retirement. 

"I feel like there's rare guys in life that just . . . It's just kind of who they are. It's not as if he's working," Romo said.  

"I relate him to something I really [liked to say]. 'Attack throwing the football,' I'd say. Every day of your life, for like 10 years. It was literally, you could not not do it, I felt like. 

"With Bill, I just feel like that's what he wants to do. He wants to actually work that hard. Not because he thinks he's working hard. It's a joyful obsession for him. It brings him joy to do this, to compete."

Belichick turned 67 in April, and though he told NFL Films cameras in 2009 that people didn't have to worry about him taking after Marv Levy and coaching into his 70s, that seems like a distinct possibility at this point. 

Belichick has a program set up to his liking. He has a boss who gives him the opportunity to run the football side of things. He has assistants on the coaching staff and in the front office who have come up through the ranks, who've learned from him, who understand the way he wants things done. 

And in the instances when we're allowed to watch Belichick go about his work, he does so with plenty of energy. At minicamp earlier this month he bounced from one position group to the next on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, getting involved in drills at times to show players how to take an angle or how to hit a sled.

There are challenges, to be sure. Belichick just lost a sizable chunk of his coaching staff, including last year's defensive play-caller, to a division rival. His character coach left for a playoff team in the conference — a team that just tried to pluck one of his most valuable employees from the offices at One Patriot Place. Belichick's roster is one of the league's oldest. He has 19 draft picks he's taken in the last 14 months that he's trying to get up to speed. 

But those obstacles may help to hold Belichick's interest in a job he's held for two decades, Romo explained. Seeing the team through to the other side of whatever roster/staffing turnover is underway may be part of what's keeping him around. 

"The challenges that they face, I think that just makes it more fun for him, if anything," Romo said. "It doesn't make it harder and [and make you] want you to walk away. I think it's the opposite. I think he'd enjoy that aspect. 

"To me, I think, if he wanted to, he'll do this all the way until we put him in the ground. I think he's that good. He's the rarest of rares. He's brilliant."

That would be music to the Kraft family's ears, one would think. Two years ago, coming off the team's fifth Super Bowl title, Kraft said at the NFL's Annual League Meeting that he wanted Belichick to go for another couple decades.

"I hope he coaches until his 80s," Kraft said at the time. "I see Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch, and they're in their mid-80s, and they're performing at a pretty high level. We gotta keep Bill healthy."

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