The Seahawks will host the Patriots at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, marking just the fourth meeting between the two teams since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in Seattle a decade ago.
But while the Seahawks and Patriots don't play often and haven't faced off since Seattle's 2016 win in New England, there's still some familiarity there due to the continuity at head coach with both teams, and because two of the Seahawks' most important players, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, have been around since 2012, and because their recent All-Pro acquisition, safety Jamal Adams, previously played in the AFC East, meaning Belichick saw Adams and the Jets twice a year.
On a conference call with Seattle-area reporters Monday, Belichick raved about the Seahawks and some of those players he has seen over the years. Here's what Belichick had to say about the Seahawks:
Bill Belichick on Pete Carroll
"Pete's a football guy. He's got a great background, of course defensively and then as a head coach, both in this league and then in college, and then his career at Seattle. He makes great decisions. Personnel, he and John (Schneider) do a really good job of improving their roster and making roster decisions. They've lost some great players, as we all have, big contracts and other teams that just can't keep everybody, but they constantly find players that are good players and sometimes under the radar or guys that other people have given up on for one reason or another, so they do a really good job of that. They turn over a lot of rocks and find players and they know what they're looking for. They know the type of program they're going to run, they know what it takes to be successful in that program. Pete's very consistent, and we've had players that have come from there, and when you have a player to plays for Pete, you know you're getting a certain type of player—if the guy doesn't really love football and want to play football and play hard is passionate about it, then Seattle's probably the right place for him. New England's probably not the right place either.
"I have a ton of respect for Pete. His consistency, his record, his ability to handle whatever comes, and do it in a way that doesn't distract the team—injuries and whatever things that we all deal with from time to time, but he does a great job of handling and keeping the team focused. They go out there and play hard play competitive every week, it doesn't matter where it is or who it is or what the circumstances are. They came in here and handled us in 2016. It was a great football game, it was as competitive of a game as I think as we've ever played in this stadium. We've played a lot of them, a lot of big ones, but that was a great football game—two evenly matched teams and they got the better of us. That's the type of effort you get from Pete and the Seahawks."
Bill Belichick on Russell Wilson
"He's more than a good quarterback; he's one of the top players in the league, and has been for his entire career. He's just a tremendous player, obviously tremendous person. He's just really good at everything. You have to defend the whole field with him. He's very dangerous in the pocket, out of the pocket, great deep ball passer, excellent vision, super competitive, hard to tackle. He's a great football player, and there's nobody I have more—I mean I respect a lot of players, all the players really—but he's certainly at the top of the list of people we compete against. He's really tough.
"We've had a lot of trouble with him every time we've played him. They beat us here in 2016. It came down to the final play, but they hung up a lot of points on us, 30-some points. He's had a variety of backs, a variety of receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen. Each time we play them, it seems like it's quite a different group from the time we've played them before, '12 to '14 to '16 to now. There's a few guys, but there's been a lot of turnover, and he just continues to be super productive with whoever it is and whatever he has to work with. He's very resourceful and he has the ability to do so many things that if you take one thing away from him, he can still kill you doing other things, so that's the mark of a great player, and he can make the other players around him better. He consistently does that with all of them, so he's problem No. 1."
Bill Belichick on Bobby Wagner
"He's a great football player. Super productive, got a great nose for the ball, very instinctive, runs well, anticipates plays well. There's just no price, you can put on that, just knowing what's going to happen or being anticipate what's going to happen and then being able get there make the play went right in the middle. You're a bull's eye for somebody on every play. There's no plays where you're not blocking 54. You're accounting for him on everything, and still he continues to have tremendous production in the running game, the passing game, he's a good blitzer, always good on outside plays, he's got good instincts on the inside runs, he's quick, he can escape blockers, he can also take them on. He's a good tackler, really understands the coverages that they play. He almost plays like a safety around a line of scrimmage in some of the things that they do where he has to carry the over route and things like that. It's a very difficult position to play in that defense, and he's exceptional."
Bill Belichick on Jamal Adams
"He's a tough player to handle. Of course we saw a lot of him with the Jets, and he was very disruptive player against us in our games with the Jets. He's a guy that you've got to game plan for you, you've got to be able to handle. He can really do everything well. He's very good around the line of scrimmage, fast, good tackler, good pursuit player, instinctive in coverage, and he kind of controls the middle of the field. You've got to be careful about throwing the ball around his area or he'll put a hard hit on a receiver, jar the ball loose and get it tipped up in the air and everything else. So he's a guy you've got to know where he is. I thought they did a good job with Atlanta; he made several plays, tackles for losses, hit the quarterback, then they put them up there around a line of scrimmage and you're worried about him and he doesn't come and they do something else. So he causes a lot of cause a lot of issues for an offensive football team."