One of the benefits of joint practice sessions is that the comparisons never stop. Not only for the coaches watching their teams, but for the media covering them.
When swarms of reporters from both Washington and New England descended upon upon Richmond, Virginia to watch the training camp workouts, the starting quarterbacks for each club were placed immediately under the microscope.
The differences between Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III are many -- age, efficiency, playing style, etc. -- but one difference that has come more clearly into focus in the last two days is how the two interact with their respective coaching staffs. While Griffin is still learning how to manage an offense under a new head coach, Brady has appeared to have more of a say in the way things are run by the Patriots offense.
Before Tuesday's practice Bill Belichick was asked about his relationship with Brady, and why he trusts his quarterback as much as he does as Brady enters his 15th NFL season.
"Tom and I came in together the same year," Belichick said. "His rookie year was my first year with the Patriots. I feel like I’ve had a good relationship with Tom since he’s been with the team. Even as a rookie, even though he didn’t play and wasn’t active on the field, he had a very active role off the field with the scout team and the preparation. We had a lot of young players; we had 20-some rookies on that team. He was kind of in charge of those guys doing extra on their own and learning our system and so forth."
Belichick went on to explain that his relationship with Brady blossomed even further when Belichick took on some of the quarterback coaching responsibilities in 2001 -- the year Brady became a starter. In training camp that year, Patriots quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein died due to a heart condition and as a result of Rehbein's sudden death, Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis split the quarterback coaching duties. That meant Belichick got to work with Brady very closely throughout the season.
"Charlie took the quarterbacks half the time and I took the quarterbacks the other half the time. That, I would say, started the kind of daily relationship with Tom," Belichick said. "Really ever since then, since the 2001 season, I’ve met with the quarterbacks at least two times every week and then in a lot of cases, five or six times depending on what, the way the staff broke down that particular season over the last 15 years.
"I feel like Tom and I do have a good relationship and I have a lot of respect for Tom. No other quarterback I’d rather have quarterbacking our team than Tom Brady. I guess that’s the best way I could sum it up."