Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
We knew Josh McDaniels’ first meeting against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots would be newsworthy in Denver and in Boston.
But after McDaniels -- who was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator before becoming the Broncos’ head coach in January-- has led the Broncos to a stunning 4-0 start, this game has the country’s attention. New England is 3-1 and tied for first place in the AFC East.
This will be a big game in Denver on Sunday and not just because Belichick is facing another protégée.
The subject of facing each other was a focal point of both McDaniels’ and Belichick’s Monday press briefings. Predictably, both coaches are trying to downplay the meeting while complimenting one another. The two coaches have stayed on good terms and keep in touch.
“(The Patriots) are the next team on our schedule, number one,” McDaniels said. “We are not going to make any more of this game than what it is. It is our fifth game of the year. I think it is going to be a great challenge to play against one of the best franchises in this league and one of the best teams in this league with, certainly, what I think is the best coach in this league. We are going to have our hands full in a lot of different areas, but it will be a great challenge to our football team. I think we are all going to be excited to go through this week of preparation and see what we can do.”
Belichick was extremely complimentary of his former assistant.
“Oh, they’re tough,” Belichick said. “I know Josh is very creative. He’s got a great offensive mind, and Mike Nolan, we had a great matchup with him last year out in San Francisco. I think he’s very good with the job that he’s done through the years with the Ravens, Giants and San Francisco’s defense. I have a lot of respect for Mike and the job that he does and certainly Josh. I know they’ll be well-prepared. I know they’re going to work hard. They’ll look at everything and try to get every tendency, tip and advantage on us, and we’ll have to try to do the same thing. In the end, it will be how the players play next Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to go next Sunday. We’ll need to be.”
This is only Monday. Expect the compliments to fly all week.