Training camp is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
Game recognizes game. Those are the vibes Ron Rivera and Bill Belichick have been giving off this week.
Rivera and Belichick are two of the most respected head coaches in the NFL. That isn't a statement of opinion; it's a fact that has been backed up countless times by players, executives and fellow coaches.
Both of them have established strong cultures in their days. Belichick's Super Bowl rings speak for themselves, while Rivera turned the Panthers into a Super Bowl contender and plans to do the same in Washington.
With a preseason game between their teams looming, the two traded compliments on their successful careers.
"The best thing about Coach is there's no apologies for who he is," Rivera said. "He's true to himself. He's true to form."
Rivera referred to what Belichick built in New England as a dynasty, and there's no other word to describe it. He has 17 postseason appearances, nine conference championship victories, nine Super Bowl appearances and six championships. It's about as iconic as one could hope for.
There are some coaches Rivera watches to see if he can borrow some of their processes and incorporate them into his own. He mentioned Andy Reid and Pete Carroll as two of his favorites, and Belichick is right up there with them.
"He's one of those guys that you can learn from as you watch because this really is a league of beg, borrow and steal," Rivera said. "You watch what happens, you use what they do."
Rivera might not have as decorated a resume as Belichick, but it's nothing to turn your nose up at, either. In his first five years on the job with the Panthers, he took a team that finished the 2010 season with the league's worst record to Super Bowl 50 with one of the top offenses and defenses in 2015.
Over the course of Rivera's nine-year tenure, the Panthers had three straight division titles and four postseason berths. It didn't take long for him to replicate some of that success as Washington's head coach, as the team won the NFC East in his first season.
That kind of work has earned Belichick's respect.
"Coach Rivera always did a good job. He did a good job in Carolina and had some success last year in Washington. I think he does a great job having a good, sound fundamental team. They're tough and physical. So, this is a good opportunity."
Thursday's game will be the sixth preseason between Rivera and Belichick as head coaches. Their shared mindset of molding tough, hardworking teams makes it easy to understand why they've played so frequently.
"Those are good games for teams, for us to work on our fundamentals and techniques and see a good, solid, hard-nosed, tough football [team] that he teaches," Belichick said.
Rivera and Belichick will primarily be focused on their respective teams, but they want to play against opponents they know are going to compete. Seeing as how both of them know how to get the most out of preseason games, that's exactly what they're going to get out of each other.