Think the Dallas Cowboys are overrated? Bill Belichick would like a word — 572 of them, to be exact.
The first two editions of our “Bill Belichick Lessons” series saw the New England Patriots head coach offer 1,500 words on long snappers and 800 words on blitz pickups for running backs, respectively.
Well, Professor Belichick on Wednesday began his pre-practice news conference with a nearly five-minute soliloquy on the Dallas Cowboys, whom the Patriots will face Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
First, watch the video, which actually cuts off the first 20 seconds of Belichick’s opening statement:
Now, read the full transcript, if you so desire:
Seeing a lot of these Cowboys the last couple days. This is a really impressive group. I was kind of going back through some of my notes and just looking at this team over a period of years. I would say one thing that really just jumps out, overall, is just the job that they’ve done acquiring talent. I think since 2006, they’ve had, by far, the most Pro Bowl players, and it just seems like they always have, every time we play them, seems like there’s always a lot of good players on the roster. Stephen Jones and the personnel staff have obviously done a great job of selecting players and acquiring players. Stephen’s really done a good job putting a strong roster together. Looking at their personnel staff, there’s a lot of experience down there. Those guys have been there for a long, long time. I think, on their personnel staff, they have over 500 years of NFL experience on that staff. That’s five centuries. It’s amazing. This is not a young group. I say that respectfully because of the job they’ve done, but they’ve been there a long time. They know what they’re looking for. They know what they’re doing. Stephen and the personnel staff and Lionel (Vital) and all those guys have done a remarkable job of consistently acquiring such top-level talent in all three areas. (On the) offensive side of the ball, it’s a really good line. They’ve got some of the top players in the league, and that’s after losing (Travis) Frederick with his injury situation. Obviously, the skill players are good. (Tony) Pollard leads the league in yards per carry, and Zeke’s (Ezekiel Elliott) Zeke. Dak’s (Prescott) Dak. You’ve got a couple of great receivers, but all that being said, (Dalton) Schultz is really the receiving leader, which is pretty remarkable considering the guys that Prescott is throwing to. Defensively, the front’s impressive. A lot of speed at linebacker. They can cover. They can rush. They can play the run. Between (Ceedee) Lamb and Pollard, the return game is good. Obviously, Coach (John) Fassel, “Bones”, is one of the top special teams coaches in the league, so it’s always a dangerous situation between him and the players. You know (Greg) Zuerlein’s field goal range. It feels like he can kick them, as soon as they cross midfield, they’re in field goal range. He’s a big weapon, too. Good mix of young players and guys kind of in their prime and some veteran players and some guys they’ve acquired and added to their team. Guys like (Damontae) Kazee and guys like that, and then there’s other guys that, obviously, are big draft choices and some of their core players. Just overall, very impressive level of talent. Offensively, Coach (Mike) McCarthy and Dan Quinn, I mentioned Fassel, they’re very, very well coached. They do a really good job offensively with their scheme and put a lot of pressure on the defense. Defensively, they, as I said, pretty much do everything well. They’re ranked at the top of the league in almost every category on offense and defense, and they’re good at the kicking game, so not really a lot of weaknesses on this team. They’re averaging 40 points a game the last three weeks and won pretty decisively. They beat the (Los Angeles) Chargers. They’re, obviously, a good team there. A pretty talented team. We know we’re going to have to play our best game, and that’s what we’re getting ready to do.