New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t a man of many words. At any press conference you’ll see during the year, he’s evading questions or just being a downright bummer. But, for whatever reason, when he’s in the broadcasting booth during the NFL Combine—which now seems like a yearly tradition—he uncharacteristically opens up.
On Monday, Belichick joined NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock to talk about the weekend and other general NFL topics. Quickly, the conversation turned to former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
Belichick came straight with the love of the man who worked with him for the past 14 years. Here’s a transcript of their conversation:
Mayock: “What do you think he’s going to bring to the Detroit Lions, coach?”
Belichick: “He’s going to bring a great work ethic, a lot of intelligence, a lot of thought into everything that they do from practice to strategy to situational football. And they’re going to work hard, I guarantee you that. Matt’s as hard of working guy as I’ve ever been around. He grinds it.”
Mayock: “That’s a compliment right there.”
Belichick: “He’s smart too. He put together those rockets there in college. I can’t even get my cell phone on.”
And here’s video of the interview (Patricia talk starts at 5:45 ):
Those are humbling words from one of the best coaches in NFL history, and there’s likely not a soul on this Earth who knows more about Patricia’s coaching acumen than Belichick.
His words put a cap on a week where Patricia seemed to shine among the other NFL coaches. Jeff Howe of the Boston Globe said that people within the league have been “raving” about Patricia and his exuberant personality may even help the Lions with personnel recruiting. Several NFL head coaches, including Jaguars Doug Marrone and Falcons Dan Quinn, mentioned just how impressed they’ve been with Patricia.
So, it has been a good week for Patricia. But the real test comes in the upcoming weeks. With free agency just over a week away and a the draft a little over a month into the future, Patricia will have to put all this potential into practice and eventually turn his brilliance into wins.