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Vrabel, the great communicator

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 26, 2009 10:52 AM

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Communication in any line of work can be a bit tricky. There was a breakdown in communication earlier this week between the media and coach Bill Belichick, regarding defensive communication and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel.

Media members erroneously interpreted Belichick's comments on the team's defensive communication being improved this season -- "I would say it’s definitely improved over last year, not that that was a real high bar." -- as a dig at Vrabel, who wore the green dot signifying he had the defensive coach-to-player communication system in his helmet.

It was not a dig at all. Belichick wasn't even talking about Vrabel or the communication system.

Belichick told the Globe on Friday that Vrabel was as good a communicator as he has ever coached.

"I think there is no better communicator on the football field than Mike Vrabel," said Belichick. "I've coached a lot of guys. I wouldn't put him behind anybody. I might put him equal to other players, but as far as knowing what was going on, communicating it and doing the right thing he's one of the best I've ever coached."

That's high praise.

Belichick spelled out in his Friday press conference why he puts a premium on communication between players on both defense and offense.

"I think you’re always preaching communication," said Belichick. "I think if you have four tenured veterans, you’re still preaching communication. If you have four rookies, you’re preaching communication.

"Football is a team sport; you want everybody to be on the same page, doing the right thing, whatever that is. We’re really a lot better off as a team if we’re all wrong together than if half of us are right and half of us are wrong. We’re better off all playing the same thing even if it’s not what we should be in than half in one thing and half in something else.

"So, that’s just what communication is, making sure when the ball is snapped, when the play is run, whichever side of the ball we’re on, that we’re all consistent doing the same thing. Then, at least you have a chance. Once you’re in one of those half and half deals, it’s almost impossible to tie it together properly."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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