Bill Belichick, Patriots respecting Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers


Bill Belichick has never been known as the kind of guy to keep a conversation going.

He’s famous for it. And we all secretly love it.

He’s the Marshawn Lynch of head coaches – though he hardly ever dodges a presser. No, instead, he utters one-word responses, grunts and dodges questions about the past by repeatedly mentioning, “we are moving on to [insert next team name here].”

He’s famous for it. And we all secretly love it.

Asked about the matchup between his Patriots’ defense and our Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Belichick was unusually talkative.

New England Patriots quarterback

Tom Brady

talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports photograph

He praised Rodgers skill set, saying “he has no weak points.” He acknowledged Rodgers’ ability to extend plays with his legs, his accuracy and cannon of an arm, his expertise making checks at the line of scrimmage. Belichick was freely giving Rodgers honorable mentions throughout the press conference.

Truthfully, Bill knows that Rodgers will be his defenses’ biggest test this season – and perhaps for the remainder of it. Rodgers and Brady have never squared off as starters – and Belichick’s defense is relatively new to him and each other.

None really have a working understanding of what Rodgers really brings to the table.

When asked why Rodgers will be such a challenge – considering all the mobile QBs the Patriots have faced in the last few weeks, Bill just shook his head and interjected, “not like this guy. No offense to any of those other guys, but they aren’t like him.”

The bead is out – Bill Belichick openly believes Rodgers to be a special talent; an opinion widely accepted and shared around the league.

And this is really his first time getting an up-close-and-personal look at him.

When asked to describe the similarities between Rodgers and his all-pro QB Tom Brady, Belichick quietly reverted back to his old self again, saying, “they both wear number 12.”

On the other side of the coin, the Patriots defense is gearing up to face Rodgers for (most of the players) the first time. Darrelle Revis will be one of the huge factors for the Patriots in trying to limit Rodgers’ opportunities. Brandon Browner will be on the opposite end of that, fighting with Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson or a combination of them both. This is a very talented secondary, one of the most talented that the Patriots have had in a long time. Rodgers won’t have an easy go of it.

Revis and Browner know what they need to do: be physical and stay in command of their guy. Both men know that Rodgers has an uncanny ability to escape pressure and that puts the bulk of it back on the defensive backs.

If Rodgers is allowed 7 or 8 seconds to wait for receivers to uncover – there is a real good chance that they will. It’s a lot to task of a DB to stay with a guy like Jordy Nelson or a twitchy receiver like Cobb for longer than a few seconds. Both men have reiterated that they are up for the challenge.

Meanwhile, the real talk of the town is the matchup of QB brains and brawn in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

New England Patriots cornerback

Darrelle Revis

. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Brady didn’t have much to say in the way of praise for his counterpart, though Rodgers did touch on it briefly in his Tuesday morning radio show interview.

Rodgers mentioned a casual friendship between the two future Hall-of-Famers. He said they have been known to throw on some film and talk football. What in the world do you think that is like?!?

Brady has said that he respects Rodgers and gave the obligatory “talented defense we are facing this week” answers, though nothing really exciting or specific from which to draw conclusions. Brady and Rodgers are both looking at it as a Patriots versus Packers matchup – though the rest of the NFL world is renaming it the Super Bowl preview, Brady/Rodgers “clash of the titans.”

One thing is for certain: This game at Lambeau Field is going to be a dog fight. The two most powerful teams in the league, both mutually respecting one another, will put their best foot forward. And the one that takes the greatest step on Sunday will quiet the vast majority of whatever critics still remain to plague them.

Rodgers and Co. will need to do much more than R-E-L-A-X if they wish to live up to the expectations that Belichick and the Patriots have bestowed upon them.