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Bill Belichick sounds like a big believer in Jaguars

Patriots coach Bill Belichick sees similarities between the Jaguars and the NFC champion Seahawks.JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick sees big problems with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Literally.

When assessing Sunday’s opponents, the Patriots coach definitely believes size matters.

“They’re big, strong, and fast at every position,” said Belichick. “They have big corners, big receivers, big tight ends, a big quarterback. They have a bunch of big backs, big safeties. Both their safeties are 215, 210, whatever it is. They’re big.’’

Belichick has been impressed with not only the size of — but the transformation of — the Jaguars, long an AFC doormat but now a team on the rise and fresh off an upset of the Dolphins under Gus Bradley, who served as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator for four seasons before landing the head job in Jacksonville last season.


“I think [general manager] Dave Caldwell [and] Gus Bradley and their respective staffs [have] done a really good job putting this team together,’’ Belichick said. “They’re a very talented team. They’re young, they’re hungry . . . We’re going to have to do a great job this week of knowing the personnel we’re playing against because they do move players around to create matchups.’’

Belichick touched on the similarities between Bradley’s last two stops, saying there’s “quite a bit of carryover’’ with the Jaguars and Seahawks.

“Their fronts are similar, their coverages are similar, the type of players they’ve acquired or assembled there,’’ said Belichick.

Facing the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, in a way, helped the Patriots prepare for Sunday’s game. The personnel may be different but a lot of the same looks come up.

“As a coaching staff, we’re familiar with the scheme,’’ said Belichick. “The players who were here last year, which is certainly not all of them by any stretch, there’s some carryover in playing against that scheme. But the skills of [Chris] Clemons and [Jared] Odrick and [Tyson] Alualu and [Roy] Miller, all of those guys, [Ryan] Davis. They’re all — [Michael] Bennett — they’re all different. We’ve got to, regardless of where they line up, the actual individual that we have to block has a unique skill set to the next guy who comes and lines up there.


“We’ll have to do a great job of identifying not only what we’re doing but who the guy actually is.

“There is a big difference if they’re blocking Odrick or Clemons or [Chris] Smith. But they’re all going to be in that spot somewhere along the line.’’

Belichick called the Jaguars “efficient’’ and saw a lot of good things in their win over the Dolphins — a victory secured on Jason Myers’s 28-yard field goal with 43 seconds left.

“When you go down there and play Miami and don’t turn the ball over, don’t get sacked, play as cleanly as they played, and have the situational plays that they had at the end of the half, the situational plays that they had at the end of the game — to win the game, there was just a lot of really good football,’’ Belichick said.

Bortles blossoming

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles presents a challenge for opponents. The second-year player has great size (6 feet 5 inches, 245 pounds) plus exceptional mobility. Those qualities make him kind of a hybrid of Ben Roethlisberger and Tyrod Taylor — the signal-callers the Patriots have faced this season.

Bortles (“He’s hard to tackle,’’ said Belichick) has thrown for 456 yards and three touchdowns this season. He’s also rushed for 53 yards on six carries.


Bradley said Bortles has taken giant steps this year and it started with a dedication to off-field preparation.

“This offseason he put a lot of time and work into coming up with a routine,’’ said Bradley. “You know, last year he kind of got thrown into the fire a little bit and he made it through and had some good games and some not-so-good games . . . I think he came back [this season] with some confidence and some poise and we’re seeing those aspects of his game greatly improved.

“In the short period of time that he’s been with [offensive coordinator] Greg Olson’s system he’s gained confidence in the protections and knowing some of the answers, and we were kind of on the race to maturity with the new offensive coordinator, but I think he’s responded really well to it.’’

Bortles, who led the Jaguars to scores on late drives in both halves against the Dolphins, said it was exciting to get that win but now the focus is on the Patriots.

“Gus preaches all the time, ‘Handle both imposters the same, whether it be adversity or prosperity.’ It’s consciously easier to come to work and you’re more excited and you have a little more juice coming off a victory — that’s inevitable,” said Bortles. “It was cool to see that.

“It was cool to see the guys excited and celebrating for a little bit, but then be able to have a short-term memory and then move on.’’


Papal message

With Pope Francis making his first visit to the United States, Tom Brady was asked whom he ranked higher, Belichick or the pontiff? “In Bill we trust,’’ said Brady with a laugh. “Are you kidding?’’ Coincidentally, Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated a canonization Mass for Junipero Serra, a Spanish-born Franciscan friar known for starting nine Spanish missions in California in the 1700s. Brady is a 1995 graduate of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif. . . . Brady, who threw for 466 yards and three TDs against the Bills, lost out on AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors to Roethlisberger (369 yards and three TDs in a win over the 49ers) . . . Brady needs one TD pass for 400 in his career. “I don’t think he’ll care about it,’’ said Belichick. “I don’t think I’ll care about it. I don’t think Josh [McDaniels, the offensive coordinator] will care about it. I think whatever helps us win, I think that’s what we care about.’’ . . . Center Ryan Wendell (illness) was the lone Patriot to miss Wednesday’s full-pads practice. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (hip), and cornerback Logan Ryan (shoulder) were limited. Defensive end Trey Flowers (knee) was a full participant . . . Safety Jordan Richards, running back Travaris Cadet, tight end Asante Cleveland, and linebackers Jonathan Freeny and Brandon King sported black jerseys as practice players of the week.


Full effort

Belichick made a point of emphasizing the need for his team to give a full effort for the entire game on Sunday.

“We have to play and execute well for 60 minutes, which is something we haven’t done this year,’’ said Belichick, whose team allowed 19 points in the fourth quarter against the Bills and a late TD to the Steelers in the opener. “It’s been coached since Day 1 that we started working in OTAs in the spring — obviously not very well, so we need to do a better job of it.’’

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.