INDIANAPOLIS — Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Colts media got a chance to speak with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick ahead of the two teams' showdown on Thursday Night Football.
Although known to have an at-times gruff demeanor while speaking with the media, Belichick was very candid on the topics presented, even heaping quite a bit of praise on familiar Colts names of the past and present.
On Colts quarterback Andrew Luck
Belichick doesn't have a personal history with Luck, but he's always had an appreciation for cerebral players like the Colts' quarterback.
"Obviously, Andrew Luck didn't play last year because of his injury. What are your observations of him this year after knowing what he has been through and if he looks like himself to you?"
"Well, he looks pretty good. Andrew does an excellent job of just running the team, making decisions pre-snap, post-snap and handling the team. He is an excellent thrower – all throws down the field, inside, outside the numbers. He goes to the second or third receivers based on coverage. He is a strong guy and hard to bring down in the pocket. He makes some timely scrambles to buy time to throw or to pick up the first down. He is a hard guy to tackle. (He's) strong, a good athlete and tough. I have a ton of respect for him. I think he has done an excellent job of leading that team and that franchise the time that he has been there and he is always a tough guy to play against. So, I know we will have our hands full with him on Thursday night."
On Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri
Before joining the Colts during the 2006 offseason, Vinatieri was with the Patriots from 1996-2005, the final six of those spent with Belichick as the head coach. During that time, he made countless important — sometimes championship-winning — kicks.
"Adam Vinatieri just passed Morten Andersen for the most made field goals in NFL history. I wanted to go back to the snow kick in the playoffs. That is probably Adam's biggest kick and when he got put on the map. What do you recall the toughest challenge was that night when he made that kick? Do you recall what that atmosphere was like and the challenge he faced in kicking in all that snow?"
"I would say it was by far the greatest kick I have ever seen. The conditions were very difficult. There were probably three to four inches of snow on the ground. It was a soft snow that kind of didn't go away. I mean, there was no way to get around it. The magnitude of the kick was significant. It's got to be the greatest kick of all time, certainly that I've seen. Adam is a great player. He was a great player here and has been a great player for the Colts, great person. He works hard. He certainly doesn't fit the classic profile for a kicker. He is more of a football player. He's physically and mentally tough. When he was here, he trained and worked out with all the players. There was no special program for him as a kicker or anything like that. He embraced that. He had a great relationship with his teammates because of the way he worked, how competitive and mentally and physically tough he was and how he was willing to help out in other areas of the team – scout team and things like that. Whatever the team needed he was always great about that. He was a clutch, dependable player in his role. So, you can't ask for much more than that. He has had a fabulous career. Certainly, in my opinion, the greatest kicker in the game. Not just for his longevity and production but again, the magnitude of some of the kicks that he made and the difficulty – particularly the one that you mentioned. But there were many besides that – the kick in the Super Bowl and the kick in the Carolina Super Bowl. So, I mean there were just big games after big games that we couldn't – back in 2001, it seemed like every game came down to the last possession or the last kick. Every point was critical. Those games we won in 2001 and 2003 – especially in the early part of the year in 2003 – were all close games and tough ones. Adam came through for us with some enormous kicks. Congratulations to him and to the great career that he has and honestly it doesn't seem like there is much sign of him slowing down. The ball continues to go right in the middle of the uprights. It never curves. It doesn't hook. It just goes straight down the middle. So he just has an unbelievable level of consistency."
On Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II
The Patriots were the first to sign Moore II as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State following the 2017 NFL Draft. He had a standout training camp and preseason, but the team made the tough decision to waive him during preseason roster cuts (Moore II will not play tonight as he is in the league's concussion protocol).
"I know you had Kenny Moore II in 2017. He has become a starter here for the Colts. What did you like about him coming out of college and what did you see from him in the few months that you had him?"
"Yeah, Kenny is a good football player. He is a very instinctive guy. He has a real good feel for routes and anticipates route combinations. He sees the quarterback and sees the ball well. He has good hands. He is able to play inside and outside, which he has done for the Colts. He plays on the perimeter and then he moves inside and plays nickel in their sub situations. Again, I think that speaks to his intelligence, instincts and awareness. He is a tough kid and is a good tackler. That enables him to play inside and also be part of the Cover 2 scheme that they use to jam receivers and get involved in a lot of runs and perimeter tackling plays. So yeah, I like Kenny and really respect how hard he works. He is one of those guys that came into the league without a lot of notoriety but has earned a spot in the National Football League and has continued, I'm sure, on a daily basis to work hard to maintain that. We've got a lot of our guys on our team like that and it's one of the things that attracted us to him. Unfortunately, we weren't able to keep him on the active roster. (He) was a good pickup for the Colts and there is a lot of guys like that in the league. I think he is a good poster boy for that type of unheralded guy that comes in and works hard and earns it. So, I've been impressed with him. I was impressed when we had him and watching on film, he is a good player. He's done a good job for the Colts."
On Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett
The Colts drafted Dorsett late in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. However, in an effort to acquire more talent at quarterback in Luck's absence, the Colts traded Dorsett to New England in exchange for quarterback Jacoby Brissett last September. Dorsett is having a solid year for the Patriots, on pace for career highs in several key statistics.
"What have you seen from Phillip Dorsett's development from when you got him to what he is doing now?"
"Phillip has done a good job for us. He really has – as you know, he is a smart kid. He works hard and he's got good skills. He can run. He's got good quickness. He's got good hands and plays multiple positions for us offensively. He's done a good job for us. He's made some big plays in the passing game. He's made some big plays on catch and run type plays with the ball in his hands. Again, he has played multiple positions for us. He has enabled us to move him and other players around in our offense. He learns very easily and is very adaptable to playing 'X', 'Z' and inside. (He) runs multiple routes."