Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft stands with his girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander on the field before the 2014 BCS National Championship game between Florida State Seminoles and Auburn Tigers at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Kraft compares '13 Patriots to '01 team


Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has praised the job done by Bill Belichick this season by comparing this season’s team to the Patriots side that won the Super Bowl in 2001.

Speaking to WEPN-FM in New York, Kraft was full of praise for his coach:

“This is his 14th season with us but I really think this might be his most outstanding coaching job. The way these guys have stepped up, ‘Next man up’ so to speak, has just been unbelievable.

Of course, having Brady at the helm — you think about it, your quarterback touches the ball usually 70 times in the course of a game; low 70s, high 60s. So you need someone with good judgment in that position who also understands how to manage the clock, what’s going on, and how to adapt. So we’re lucky to have that position filled at such a high level. And I think we’re lucky to have a coach that understands the game and pays attention to detail, and also adapts to whatever the situation.

The Patriots have survived losing plays from the top of the depth chart at almost every position, from tight end Rob Gronkowski and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer on offence and Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Jerod Mayo on defence.

“This team we have now reminds me of our ’01 team. It wasn’t the biggest names or collection of stars. It was a team that had a certain mental toughness and truly played together as a team. … I think this year the sense of team and putting team first is at the highest level. We’ve learned it’s not the teams that have the best collection of talent, but it’s the teams that really come together, especially in December and January.”

Whether the Patriots will have enough about them to get past Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos remains to be seen, but if they do then the comparison will be even more accurate, and the job done by the Patriots coaching staff even more impressive.

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