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Belichick on Kittle: If you don’t pay enough attention to him, he can kill ya

The Patriots head coach also shared the qualities Jimmy Garoppolo has that led New England to draft him.

NFL: OCT 18 Rams at 49ers Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has never been the “word vomit” type when asked a question. For example, when asked how he was doing, Belichick responded, “ugh, OK.” The Pats head coach said that the San Francisco 49ers would “present a lot of problems” for his team.

He didn’t seem too interested in talking about the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. When asked about Jimmy’s development since he’s left New England, Belichick said, “Well, we haven’t played him since then. I haven’t really studied him. He’s a quality player.” As far as Bill’s recollection of how the trade happened, he responded, “It’s been three years. We’ve all talked about that plenty. We’ve moved on from that. Hopefully, John [Lynch] has too. That was a long time ago.

The trade questions did not stop, and neither did the short answers. Belichick opened up when asked about Kyle Shanahan’s offense:

“Kyle’s got a great offensive mind. He really knows how to attack and stress the defense. He puts the defense in a lot of compromising positions with his formations and play-calling and, most importantly, his high level of execution that his teams have always shown. Running the ball, throwing the ball, playing situational football. They’re very difficult to prepare for, and he’s an outstanding coach. He’s shown pretty quickly in San Francisco how great he is and how quickly he can put a great team on the field and take them to the top of the NFC.”

Belichick spoke about George Kittle and the value he brings to the Niners offense. He gushed the 49ers star tight end:

Kittle’s a great player. He does everything well. I put him right at the top of the league there. Period. His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block. He does everything at a high level. He’s as good as anybody as I’ve coached against and as good as anybody as we’ve played against. Great skillset and the 49ers put him in positions to stress the defense. They also use him as somewhat of a decoy to open up things for other guys too. If you pay too much attention to him, it creates opportunities for some of their other outstanding players. If you don’t pay enough attention to him, he can kill ya. He’s in a great system. He’s a great player. I don’t think there’s a tight end in the league, and we’ve seen a lot of good ones and had a lot of good ones, but I don’t think there’s one in the league that does everything overall as well as he does. He doesn’t have any weak points at all. He’s outstanding at every phase of the game.”

Translation: We’re not going to let Kittle beat us.

Belichick spoke highly of Fred Warner and the defense as well. That’s not much of a surprise, as the Patriots head coach is known for going over the top with his praise about everyone.

Belichick has been known to have a great relationship with Garoppolo, who said at the Super Bowl that the two have kept in touch with each other through the years. Belichick said he didn’t feel like it’s appropriate to share his personal conversations and asked that the media respect the privacy of those personal conversations. When asked about what Jimmy’s non-physical traits were that led the Patriots to draft Garoppolo, Belichick said:

We liked his personal characteristics, his intelligence, his toughness, his work ethic, his playing skill. He came from a situation where we thought he would need some development, and I think he did, but he worked very hard to improve, particularly playing under center. Dropping back under center and turning his back to the defense—things you don’t do when you’re in the shotgun all of the time. Obviously, reading coverages and seeing things at this level. He handled that well and showed toughness and leadership, and the opportunities he got to play for us or practice when Tom [Brady] wasn’t able to practice, he would step in there and did things at a very high level. Everyone here had a lot of confidence in him. It’s one of those situations where you’re not able to keep all of the players based on how the system is setup. I’m glad that it’s worked out for him in San Francisco. I hope it doesn’t work out on Sunday, but otherwise, I’m happy he’s had the opportunity to play for a great coach and a great organization and play on a great team. I think he deserves that.”