Notebook: Michigan Alums Square Off On Sunday

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October 25, 2001 at 1:54 pm ET

OXBORO, MA — When the Patriots head to Denver on Sunday, quarterback Tom Brady will be facing off against fellow Michigan Alumni Brian Griese who is currently the starting QB for the Broncos.

Brady is currently the one who is up and coming in the NFL and knew Griese during their days at Michigan. Brady arrived when Griese was in his third year and says that he is still a good friend. Both players are two hard-nosed kids and Belichick says that they are both solid players.

“I think both players have good field vision, they don’t make many mistakes with the football,” said Belichick. “They’re team oriented, they do what’s best for the team, they do a lot of little things that help the team win. Not just their passes, but snap counts, formations, tempo, and bring some energy to the game, things like that.”

“Brian’s a little more mobile maybe than Tom is, but they both can make a lot of throws they can make the touch throws, they can get the ball down the field. Both have good courage and stand in there under pressure and let the ball go even with somebody getting ready to nail them.”

“Brian’s just done it more than Tom has.”

Like Brady many doubted whether or not Griese could play in the NFL, and Griese faced a quarterback controversy of his own after it had initially appeared that it was Bubby Brister’s job to lose following John Elway’s retirement. Brister had a winning record as a starter but Griese impressed head coach Mike Shanahan with his gritty play and it’s lead to a successful career for him so far.

Griese is nursing a shoulder injury and reportedly is still struggling as a result. Despite the other injury problems that Denver is having this season, Belichick knows that there is still enough talent on that team to give them problems.

“I don’t really care about their record,” said Belichick. “I don’t really care about what problems they have, I have a lot of respect for this football team and the people who are running it.”

“I’m sure they’ll be ready to go and we need to be able to match that same type of effort on the road in Denver.”


Belichick said on Wednesday that he’s happy with the progress that he’s seen from linebacker Ted Johnson who finished second on the team in tackles last week. Said Belichick, “I think he’s getting there. I think he’s been able to string a few good weeks together both on the practice field and progressively more time in games and productive games. I think that his level of play is improving each week, and I thought he had his best game Sunday against Indianapolis.”……….Wide receiver David Patten received an award for AFC Offensive Player of the Week and as a result received an award from Miller Light. Belichick says that Denver won’t be impressed saying, “We just can’t think [we’re going to play well] because of what happened two weeks ago or because there was some beer award we got. I mean, Denver doesn’t care about that.” The Patriots now have players who have earned the award in back-to-back weeks after Brady earned it last weekend……QB Drew Bledsoe has been cleared for some light throwing this week and they will take small steps in working him back toward an eventual return…..Belichick called Tebucky Jones a “difference maker” on special teams and said he’s also improved over the last couple of years as a safety.