Inside The Bills

Belichick reveres Jackson

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2010 – 9:50 am

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick often talks up other teams players in an effort to get his own team to focus on their next opponent, but it’s rare that he has mentioned any Bills player in recent year as one of the best at his position in the league. Until now.

In a conference call with Boston reporters this week, Belichick was asked about Bills RB Fred Jackson and the Patriots coach made it clear that he holds him in very, very high regard.

“[He’s] one of the best backs in the league,” said Belichick. “I’d say he’s outstanding. [He’s] good at everything: good on blitz pickup, a good outside runner [and a] good inside runner. They use him in the passing game as a receiver, split-out and empty and those kinds of things. He’s a very good screen back.

“The play he made against Pittsburgh (65-yard TD catch and run) really highlighted his skills: great balance, run-after-catch and then he outran everybody. He’s got big-time speed as well as power, but he’s very tough in the tackle-to-tackle area. It seems like he can always find some space and get a few yards and squeeze through there or power through there. I think the Cleveland game is a good example. I think they ran about the last six or seven minutes off the clock and he did an excellent job of just really running out the clock.

“They just gave him the ball and he gained three, four, five yards a clip and ate it up. So, he’s outstanding. I have as much respect for him as really anybody we’ve played. He’s a complete guy. [He] does it all and shows really good toughness and can get the tough yards.”

In past years Belichick has praised the likes of Travis Henry and Willis McGahee and a number of other skill position players, but never to my recollection has he ever pegged any of them as one of the best in the league. No one looks at more tape in this league than Belichick, so to get that kind of respect from one of the more respected coaches in football speaks volumes about Fred’s game.


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