FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick typically shies away from praising his own players in the media. But as a video posted on the New England Patriots’ official website after Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals illustrated, that isn’t always the case behind closed doors.
In the behind-the-scenes clip, Belichick can be seen complimenting Jimmy Garoppolo for a job well done in his first NFL start after presenting the 24-year-old quarterback with the game ball.
Asked about the moment Wednesday, Garoppolo said he appreciates any sort of encouragement he can get from the Patriots head coach.
“It’s nice,” Garoppolo said. “In that moment after the game, everybody’s emotions are running very high at that time, so it’s always good to hear that from the head coach. You take those when you get them.”
Some additional notes from Wednesday’s Patriots media availability:
— A popular topic of conversation Wednesday was the Dolphins’ defensive front seven, which chased Russell Wilson all over the field Sunday in Miami’s near-upset of the Seattle Seahawks.
The Patriots must keep Garoppolo upright when they host the Dolphins this Sunday, and to do so, they’ll need to find a way to neutralize Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams and the rest of Miami’s powerful pass rush.
“The front’s very disruptive,” Belichick said in his morning news conference. “Those guys are big, they’re physical, they really penetrate the line of scrimmage, they cause a lot of holding penalties. They get their share of plays, sacks, tackles for loss, all of that, but they also get a lot of holding penalties shooting the gaps there.
“Guys just can’t get a hold of them or get in front of them. They grab them, and now its first-and-20 or second-and-20. I think that’s kind of a part of their game that goes a little maybe under the radar.”
New England’s young offensive line held up relatively well against Arizona’s stout defense, but the Patriots did commit four offensive holding penalties, tied for the second-most by any team in Week 1. Seattle also was called for holding four times in its 12-10 win over Miami.
— Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is 3-5 against the Patriots in his career but 0-4 at Gillette Stadium, where Miami has not won in seven seasons.
Speaking with reporters in Miami, the fifth-year pro said New England’s ability to mix in newly installed coverages and defensive alignments makes its defense difficult to game plan for.
“I think that’s what you get when you face New England, you really never know,” Tannehill said, via the Palm Beach Post. “They like to play their man coverage, but they’re always going to throw something at you that they haven’t shown much of on tape and try to make you stumble a little bit — whether it’s in protection, a stunt up front, a blitz or a coverage that they haven’t shown.”
Interestingly, the Dolphins’ most recent win in Foxboro came after they unveiled a concept rarely seen at the NFL level: the Wildcat offense, which Miami used to snap the Patriots’ 21-game winning streak in Week 3 of the 2008 season.
— A reminder of what typically happens when someone asks Belichick about injured players:
— Sunday night’s win over the Cardinals was the second-highest-rated Patriots season opener ever, behind only last year’s Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
— Safety Jordan Richards, special teamer Brandon King, running back D.J. Foster and practice-squad safety Vinnie Sunseri were chosen as the Patriots’ practice players of the week for Week 1.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images