Belichick big fan of Jake Long

September, 16, 2008
9/16/08
2:54
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been breaking down Miami Dolphins film for two weeks.

He dissected the Dolphins' season opener while preparing for last Sunday's game against the New York Jets. He has been examining the Dolphins even more for their meeting this Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

One of the recurring highlights for Belichick has been Dolphins rookie LT Jake Long, the No. 1 draft pick out of Michigan. Belichick compared Long to Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth-overall selection in 2006.

"Long is relative to Ferguson, [but] is a lot bigger and physical player," Belichick said on his Tuesday conference call. "He may not be as quick or athletically gifted, but he is a much bigger and much more physical guy."

Belichick can tell why Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells, his old mentor from the New York Giants days, chose Long over anyone else. Belichick noted Long plays the same style as fellow Michigan alum Jumbo Elliott, the Giants' left tackle for the second of Parcells' two Super Bowl titles.

That Long is 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds didn't hurt.

"I think he already is a good, solid tackle," Belichick said. "I am sure he will end up being one of the top tackles in football as he develops and gets into his prime.

"He is being well-coached down there, and he is very fundamentally sound as well as big, tough and athletic. He is a good finisher. He pretty much does everything well. He run blocks, pass blocks, plays in space, is consistent [and] is a good technique player."

If Long hasn't had his welcome-to-the-NFL moment yet, it will come Sunday. The Patriots own the best defensive line in football and a front seven the likes of which Long hasn't seen yet.

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