FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick couldn't help but smile during his press conference on Thursday morning. A little less than 24 hours beforehand he was chucking blocking pads at Tom Brady to help mimic a pass-rush. He enjoyed it, it seemed. Thoroughly.
"It's a good for all of us to do those," he said, smirking. "Look, if they can't handle it from us, then they're in a lot of trouble. There are a lot bigger, faster, stronger, more explosive guys than we have on our coaching staff. Hitting receivers with bags, and try to knock the ball away from them, and make them catch through contact. Make the quarterbacks avoid the rush, stuff like that. If they can't handle us, [they're in trouble]."
And so it goes, every day. Belichick finding ways to challenge Brady when Brady's seen and done it all. Even as he turns 40 years old on Thursday, it's clear Belichick relishes the opportunity to test the quarterback who has said he now feels like he has all the answers to the test.
When asked about that idea, which Brady mentioned to The MMQB's Peter King in a podcast after Super Bowl LI, Belichick seemed to take it as a personal challenge. He thinks he has all the answers? Really?
"There's a lot of us around here that have a lot of experience, but I don't think that's going to help us much in terms of this year," Belichick said. "We're in a new year. New opponents, new challenges, and we'll have to find a way to get over those hurdles. They'll be here every day, will be here every week. Yeah, we've probably seen some element of it before somewhere, but not with this team we haven't."
Brady will undoubtedly hear fans screaming "Happy Birthday" in his general direction during Thursday's practice, and maybe Belichick will make some mention of Brady entering his fifth decade. But even if August 3rd is a reminder to the rest of the world that what Brady is doing at his age is utterly confounding, for Belichick it's just another day for Brady to be Brady.
"Yeah, I mean he's had a great career, works hard, comes to work every day," Belichick said. "It's been like that for a long time. I don't want to say you take it for granted, but I wouldn't say it's a huge shock that's he'll walk in here today, come out, perform, and give us his best. That's what he's been doing for some time. We all expect that. He expects that out of himself. I'm sure he expects that out of me. We all expect that out of each other. But the level of consistency and the longevity of it is obviously very, very impressive."
New England Patriots
So anything special planned for the big day? Other than the usual, of course, trying to catch Brady off-guard, trying to challenge him in ways that will keep him sharp for his 18th season. Belichick thought for maybe a second.
He asked, "Like a parade?"
Right. Just another day.