Football Team

Belichick looks forward to facing Rivera's 'hard-nosed' WFT

Football Team

Bill Belichick and Ron Rivera have faced one another as head coaches multiple times over the past decade, twice in the regular season and numerous times in the preseason.

On Thursday, Belichick's Patriots will once again take on Rivera to kick off the preseason in a game that airs exclusively on NBC-4 and NBC Sports Washington at 7:30 p.m. with Washington Football Kickoff Live at 6:30 on NBCSW.

But this time with Rivera the boss of the Washington Football Team, not the Carolina Panthers.

Although Belichick has yet to face a Rivera-led Washington team, the longtime New England head coach expects the Burgundy and Gold to come out with that same toughness and style that defined Rivera's Carolina Panthers squads.

"Obviously a good football team, well-coached," Belichick told reporters on Tuesday. "Coach Rivera always did a good job. [He did a] good job in Carolina and had some success last year in Washington. I think he does a great job having a good, sound fundamental team. They're tough and physical. So, this is a good opportunity."

Belichick went on to say that he's "always liked" playing Rivera-led teams in the preseason, as the Washington coach does a good job of having his team prepared and fundamentally sound.

"We played Carolina quite a few times since I've been here when Ron was there," Belichick said. "Those are good games for teams, for us to work on our fundamentals and techniques and see a good, solid, hard-nosed, tough football [team] that he teaches."

 

On Tuesday, Rivera was asked what he admires most about Belichick. Washington's boss was equally complimentary, as he praised Belichick for what he's accomplished and admitted he's always trying to learn from the Patriots legendary coach.

"I do appreciate watching him and trying to understand the things that he does and watch what happens with his team," Rivera said. "He had a dynasty, basically, and now they're rebuilding and it's gonna be fun to watch. He's one of those guys that you can learn from as you watch."

Rivera also specifically mentioned Andy Reid -- who he worked under in Philadelphia -- and Pete Carroll in Seattle as two coaches he additionally always tries to watch and learn from.

"This really is a league of beg, borrow and steal. You watch what happens, use what they do," Rivera said.

Washington's preseason game against New England airs at 7:30 p.m. on NBC-4 and NBC Sports Washington. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Washington Football Kickoff Live on NBC Sports Washington.