NFL coaches can usually find a kind word, or a thousand, about an upcoming opponent.
Even a bad team becomes disciplined and well coached when they’re the upcoming opponent.
So perhaps Ray Horton’s adoration of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should be taken with a grain of salt.
Or perhaps it shouldn’t.
“I believe he’s the greatest draft pick in the history of football,” Horton, the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator, said. “I might go so far as to say he may be the greatest player that’s ever played. That’s not just because we’re playing him.
“That’s my belief.”
“The things he’s overcome, his will, his heart, his preparation for the game, I don’t know if there’s a better player in the history of the game than Tom Brady,” Horton said.
Brady was a sixth-round draft pick, someone every team in the league passed on several times before New England chose him in 2000 -- after the Browns had taken Spergon Wynn.
Horton’s challenge now is drawing up a way to defend Brady.
“You’ve got to give him different looks,” Horton said. “You’ve got to pressure him. You have to play at your best because I’m pretty sure he’s going to prepare; he won’t take any game, an opponent lightly.
“It’s an ultimate test for me as a coordinator, this one player. I think he’s everything you want in a franchise quarterback.”