Bill Belichick Has Good Reason To Be ‘Really Proud’ Of Patriots After Week 9


November 5, 2018

FOXBORO, Mass. — Moments after the New England Patriots beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in convincing fashion Sunday night, head coach Bill Belichick raved about his team.

Belichick went long in his opening statement, praising every Patriots unit for their efforts in the win. And while the defense deserves a ton of credit for limiting Rodgers and the Patriots’ offense to just 17 points, the Patriots’ offense might deserve even more for scoring 31 points shorthanded.

The Patriots were without three of their most valuable players Sunday night in tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Sony Michel and right guard Shaq Mason.

If you made a list of the 10 most irreplaceable players on the Patriots’ roster, then Gronkowski, Michel and Mason probably would be on it. This writer stupidly thought the Patriots’ offense would struggle to function without them. Bad take.

Gronkowski is the Patriots’ highest-paid pass catcher for good reason. Despite the fact that he’s having a down year, by his standards, he’s still second on the team in receiving yards behind running back James White in just seven games. With Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister inactive, Dwayne Allen was the Patriots’ only tight end. He caught one 21-yard pass.

Michel has only played six games this season, but he’s the Patriots’ leading rusher and really their only true between-the-tackles runner. Without Michel, the Patriots heavily relied upon White, a third-down back, and Cordarrelle Patterson, a wide receiver, to run the ball.

Mason is the Patriots’ highest-paid offensive lineman, once again, for good reason. He’s their most athletic lineman, one of the best run-blockers in the NFL, and he’s having another solid season as a pass protector. Ted Karras filled in at right guard and was forced to block Packers defensive linemen Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark. Quarterback Tom Brady was sacked just once.

So, it’s understandable why Belichick was beaming Sunday night.

“I’m just really proud of the team today,” Belichick said. “I thought we competed hard. Green Bay’s a good football team. We talked all week about how difficult they are to prepare for, to play against, and they were. They certainly gave us a number of problems in a number of areas, but we battled through it. We were able to make enough plays and kind of got a couple of plays there in the third quarter. They had us on the run a little bit. …

“It was a good team win. I’m proud of the way the guys came back after a tough game in Buffalo Monday night and really competed all week to prepare and be ready to go tonight. I thought we competed hard against a really good football team. …

“Offensively, we had a couple of setbacks there, a couple of three-and-outs and got blitzed on third down. We missed a few plays that we didn?t score there in the third quarter but just kept battling, kept fighting. Like I said, I’m really proud of the way the guys hung in there and just competed tonight and that’s really what it took. It?s good to be 7-2.”

Now 3-4-1, it’s not like the Packers are the best team in the NFL or anything. But the Patriots, despite not having three of their most valuable offensive players, made a statement in beating a solid unit led by one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks by two scores. It shows how dangerous this team could be when everyone is finally healthy.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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