Bill Belichick praises Peyton Manning

ByLee Schechter ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback he has faced in his 40 years coaching in the NFL.

"I mean, [Manning is] great, he's obviously a great quarterback," Belichick said. "The best quarterback I've coached against."

Belichick's Patriots face Manning's Denver Broncos in a battle of AFC heavyweights at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

"Not to take anything away from the Montanas, Marinos and Elways or whoever is up there with those guys, but [Manning] is tough," Belichick said.

The New England coach reiterated his comments from Tuesday about Manning having no flaw to exploit on the football field.

"He's good at everything. He's good at everything," Belichick said. "I see no weaknesses in his game."

"I truly appreciate those words because of just the unbelievable productivity and consistency of his teams over the course of his entire career," Manning said in response to Belichick's praise.

The Broncos star later added, "I appreciate that coming from a coach that's been as impressive as he has [been] in his career."

Belichick has faced Manning 22 times as a head coach or coordinator, sporting a 12-10 lifetime record against the Denver signal-caller. With Tom Brady as his quarterback, Belichick's record against Manning is 10-5 in the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason.

Belichick isn't reading into his past matchups with Manning as ways of gaining an edge on him for Sunday's 23rd meeting between the two.

This is a different Manning-led offense than the Indianapolis Colts offenses with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne or even last year's Broncos offense with Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno. This year, Manning continues to have explosive receivers across the offense in wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker, and tight end Julius Thomas.

"Each game is its own game," Belichick said. "The offense, I think they have done a good job of utilizing their personnel and what those particular players do well in different systems, [against] different teams. Peyton does a great job of getting the ball to the weakest point of the defense, whatever the defense happens to be."

As Belichick prepares to face the best quarterback he has ever coached against yet again, he said he appreciates the rivalry between Manning and Brady, but he dials it back and focuses on trying to get a win instead of getting caught up in rivalries.

"Right now, my thoughts are on this week," Belichick said. "All the experts can write about this and write about that."

Information from Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.

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