Belichick: Saints “Clearly One of the Best-Coached Teams in the League” and More

The Patriots head coach was effusive in his praise for the team’s Week Three opponent, the New Orleans Saints, when speaking with the media on Wednesday.
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With the image of the New England Patriots’ Week Two victory over the New York Jets continuing to shrink in the team’s rearview mirror, it is time for the Pats to turn their attention to the New Orleans Saints. The teams will meet on Sunday, September 26 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Prior to taking the practice fields on Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media. Belichick praised the Saints as a “very good football team” with “explosive players in all three phases.” New England’s man-in-charge also complemented the abilities of Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, saying that New Orleans is “clearly one of the best-coached teams in the league.”

Here are some additional highlights from Belichick’s Wednesday morning meet with the media:

On the challenge of facing the Saints:

“They are a great situational team…on defense, special teams…offensively, nobody attacks defenses better than Sean [Payton.] They know what they are doing in all three phases of the game. No plays off this week.”

On the prowess of Saints’ running back Alvin Kamara

“He does everything well. He’s very good in the passing game. He can run for power, good speed…quickness…tough to tackle. He can do it all. He plays on all three downs. He’s always in there.”

On the challenges presented by New Orleans’ defense:

There is quite a bit of experience there, as well as some good young players. Strong [defensive] line…they’re deep in the secondary. The safeties, [Marcus] Williams, [Malcolm] Jenkins complement each other well. There are not a lot of plays that they get fooled on. They do a great job of containing the running game with good tackling. Good defense across the board. They’re a hard team to get big plays on.”

On former Patriots WR Chris Hogan, now with the Saints:

“Chris plays well for them in the kicking game and in a bit on offense. Chris is a tough kid and does a great job. He did a great job here [in New England.] He’s a good player.”

On Sean Payton attacking opposing defenses:

“There are so many different formations and schemes…it’s really hard to predict what Sean [Payton] is going to do. They have a huge playbook. It’s the reason why they have led the league in offense for the last 15 years. Sean is very good at creating situations that put the defense in conflict. They hit fast and you have to be ready for that tempo.”

On the Patriots ‘Doing Their Job’ against the Saints (i.e. ‘total team effort’);

“It becomes more important every week. Teams like this [New Orleans] can take away any part of the field. We need to make sure that we execute and take advantage of our chances…take as many opportunities as we can and get the ball in the areas that we can.”

On Josh Uche’s development,thus far, in 2021:

“Like a lot of guys from year one-to-year two, [Josh] has made a lot of improvements in his game. He’s gaining experience and taking advantage of his snaps. Sure, there’s room for all of us to improve. I wouldn’t exclude anyone from that list. But, he’s playing well for us”

On containing Saints’ quarterback Jameis Winston:

“If you have seen him run with the ball, you don’t want him running wild on your secondary. He’s fast…and he’s tough to tackle. He threw for 5,000 yards in Tampa, so he can be explosive throwing the ball. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s accurate, he can put good touch on the ball. He’s a big strong guy that can make every throw on the field. He’s a good player.”

In Assumption’s Deonte Harris as the Saints’ returner:

“He’s one of the best in the league, Small but he uses that to his advantage. He has great speed. When he gets the ball in space, he’s explosive.”

On the versatility of the Saints’ Taysom Hill:

“He’s a pretty special athlete and a good player. He’s great in the kicking game. He has size to be competitive as a blocker, and can line up as a tight end. Has skill to run with the ball and can run the QB Options. He has all those skills. And there aren’t many guys that can do that. Sean has a lot of guys that can play multiple positions, and do multiple things. But Taysom is very good at it.”

On the vastness of the Saints’ offensive playbook:

“[The Saints] showed that last year. They emphasize and attack what the other team is not very good at.”