Every conference call with Bill Belichick kicks off with highlights of the week's opponent. Tuesday, his lauding of Arizona -- from the Cardinals' kicking game to its defense -- seemed to stretch on and on.
The offense in particular drew heaps of the coach's respect.
And Larry Fitzgerald, of course.
"He does everything well," Belichick said. "Hes a great, great receiver; will go down as one of the all-time greats and might end up being the best one ever, I dont know. He has size, quickness, ability to separate and gets open, exceptional hands. Hes good short, deep, with the ball in his hands after the catch; strong, very smart, sets up his routes well. They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, its hard to even find him; you have no idea where hes going to line up from play to play. He has a very big route tree; he runs all the routes with double moves off of them and complementary moves so one route sets up another.
"Its very hard to defend him. Its very hard to find him and then its very hard to defend him. Again, hes just as dangerous going down the field as he is taking a shorter pass and running with it so thats not really the answer either just letting him catch it in front of you and not give up any big plays because he can make plays there too. You have to try to keep the ball out of his hands, but thats not easy."
New England's 'D' looked improved from 2011 in last Sunday's game against Tennessee. Surrendering 284 net yards to the Titans was nearly brilliant in light of last year's 411.1 average yards surrendered per game.
But nobody's celebrating. Matt Patricia is too busy hunkering down in front of a very full plate.
Even with the cruel simplification of Arizona's quarterback scouting -- John Skelton suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and will miss two to four weeks, making way for Kevin Kolb -- the defensive coordinator sees the Cardinals offense as a dangerous one.
"I think, in general, just trying to prepare for Arizona as a whole, with as many skill players and the quality offensive scheme that they have as far as the blocking and the run game," Patricia said. "Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald is a fantastic player for them who does numerous things in multiple roles and is a real significant player in their offense.
"Early Doucet and Andre Roberts, all of those guys, including the running backs and the quarterbacks, do a great job with the system thats in place, so I think really theyll just be able to keep moving no matter what the situation may be out there and be able to run their offense the way they want to run it."
Making sure that doesn't happen must be the fun part.