FOXBORO, Mass. — To say Bill Belichick is a fan of the Long family would be an understatement.
There are two Longs on the Gillette Stadium practice field this week as the Patriots and Bears hold joint practices: New England defensive end Chris Long and Chicago guard Kyle Long.
Belichick heaped praise on both, plus their father, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, during Tuesday’s news conference.
“Chris has great personal characteristics; elite, smart, really works hard, team oriented, tough, great motor, it?s all positive with him,” Belichick said. “Howie was unblockable. I never coached Howie personally, but playing against him he was pretty much unblockable. (He was) explosive, very strong, quick, had a real good feel for pressure of blocks, which ones to push through, which ones he could slip around. He had great quickness. He had a really good playing style, that same kind of high effort, always going all out. (He was) a smart player. You watch him run up the field and you?d think you could trap him but you couldn?t. He would recognize plays that you would use to counter what he was doing and he was good at beating those, too.
“Kyle, he?s a different kind of athlete. That kid?s big. He?s athletic, he?s long, I don?t know, 325/330 (pounds), whatever he is. He?s well put together with a lot of strength and a lot of athleticism. That kid is a really good player. Again, that?s given us another — we talked about matchups — another really good player to work against along with their front seven.”
The Patriots signed Chris Long to a one-year, $2.375 million contract with $500,000 guaranteed after he was released by the Los Angeles Rams this offseason. The 2008 second overall pick looks primed for a big role in the Patriots’ defense as he competes for snaps with fellow pass rushers Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Trey Flowers, Shea McClellin, Geneo Grissom and Rufus Johnson.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images