New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick took to the podium on Wednesday, and before he could even field a single question, went on a 5:04 monologue praising the Bolts' virtues.
Here is what he had to say:
*"Well, this is a real impressive team to watch. I think especially in the last month, the last three or four games, I mean they played well early in the year, too. I'm not saying that; they played a competitive game against Denver in the opener. It really looks like they've hit their stride in a lot of areas. That was a very impressive performance they had Sunday against the Broncos. This is a well-balanced team. They do a lot of things well. *
*"They're very good in the kicking game. Obviously, [Nick] Novak has helped them quite a bit. They do a good job in coverage and obviously have a very explosive return game with [Travis] Benjamin. Their vice players, the guys that hold up the gunners on the punt team, are probably as good as we'll face all year so that gives Benjamin a lot of opportunities to get started. He's very difficult as we remember from Cleveland. A very tough guy to tackle, great vision, speed, good quickness, just the same skills you see on offense when he has the ball there on catch-and-run plays and his vertical speed, so he's a tough guy to handle. *
*"Offensively, this is a very big skill group. [Tyrell] Williams, obviously [Keenan] Allen, [Antonio] Gates, Hunter [Henry] – they're kind of receiving tight ends. They have a lot of size at those positions and then Benjamin gives them kind of the explosive catch-and-run player to go with that group. Big receivers, good players after the catch. Allen's very, very good with the ball in his hands. Hunter Henry is a tough guy to tackle and they use their backs quite a bit in the passing game, as well; [Melvin] Gordon, [Austin] Ekeler. Their backs are very productive in the passing game, as well. It's a well-balanced attack. *
"Of course, the running game with Coach [Anthony] Lynn is always a challenge. They do a lot of different things. They probably run as many different running plays as any team that we will face or have faced. They do multiple groups, multiple formations, multiple schemes and all of the complementary plays that go with it; the boots, the reverses, the misdirection plays. They really challenge you in the running game and then they have a very explosive passing game down the field. [Philip] Rivers throws a great deep ball and they have a lot of good catch-and-run players with their skill guys, and their skill guys, again, are big so they do a good job of blocking in the run game so a lot of the plays that get to the perimeter with this group, really they have a mismatch with the size and the aggressiveness of their receivers. They're tough to handle there.
*"Defensively, two great, great pass rushers with [Melvin] Ingram and [Joey] Bosa. Those guys do a lot of damage. [Chris] McCain comes in and he does a lot of damage, too, and that moves Ingram inside. They're very explosive players. They're good inside with Corey [Liuget] and [Brandon] Mebane; two very disruptive guys on the inside part of the defense. They create a lot of negative plays there, very good on third down. Third-and-long's basically just a sack and turnover reel. They create a lot of bad plays in those situations. Obviously, we need to try and stay out of as many of those as possible. *
*"They're a very opportunistic defense. They strip the ball well. Their backs, their linemen, their linebackers have been involved in turnover plays, strip plays, batted balls, things like that. Ball security, like it always is with this type of defense with Coach [Gus] Bradley and as aggressively as their players attack the ball like they did in Jacksonville or Seattle. It's going to be key for us to be able to maintain possession at the end of each play. *
"The team has been in a lot of close games over the last three years. That's the type of game they seem to love. The Denver game really wasn't one of those but they've been in a lot of them. They've played very well in those critical situations. The missed field goals this year cost them a couple wins. Had those kicks been made we'd be looking at their record a little different. They could easily be 6-1. A good football team, playing well right now and a lot of guys we have to get familiar with in all three phases of the game."