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Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan respect the other’s success
Mike Shanahan spent the 2009 season studying the NFL in ways he never had before. It was, after all, the first time he was out of coaching since 1974. He wanted to take advantage of the opportunity so he’d be sharper than ever when he took his next gig.
“I think we’ve watched each other through the years,” Shanahan said. “We know what type of people that we try to get on our football team, what’s your makeup going to be. I know that he’s watched me. It’s been fun to talk about over a couple beers or dinner, something like that.”
Shanahan’s challenge this week is steep. His undermanned 4-8 team has not scored more than 28 points in a game this season. That belies his reputation as one of the sport’s top offensive minds.
“I always felt like his teams were amongst the hardest to prepare for and to handle their game plans,” Belichick said. “He does a great job of that, as I can see with the Redskins now. This is a hard team to get ready for — the schemes they have on offense and defense and in the kicking game. They’re very good in all three phases.”
Three players in Sunday’s game have experience playing for both men. Redskins receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth were members of the 2007 New England team that won 18 games before losing the Super Bowl. Patriots defensive end Andre Carter played for Shanahan in Washington last season.
In comparing the two coaches, all three gushed respect for their accomplishments and their methods.
“I think the biggest thing that I take from being there and here is that the head coach understands that the most important thing is the health of the team,” Stallworth said. “Whatever they have to do to get guys ready to play at a high level on Sunday they’re going to do it.
Their attention to detail also resonated with players. Shanahan can recite the down-and-distance and result of certain plays that happened seasons ago. Belichick during his teleconference with Washington media this week dropped references to Redskins fifth receiver David Anderson and backup outside linebacker Rob Jackson — not exactly household names.
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About the Author
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