New England Patriots defensive end Derek Rivers chases Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second half of the Patriots’ 21-11 win Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. Steven Senne/Associated Press

In his Monday morning press conference, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick lauded the resilience shown by defensive end Derek Rivers, who has missed two of his first three professional seasons due to injury.

In the Patriots’ 21-11 win, Rivers, who was born in Augusta, picked up a sack.

“Derek’s really done an incredible job with some of the adversity he’s been through. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen him in a down day. He’s always got a positive attitude. He’s worked extremely hard,” said Belichick. “He always works on the things that will help him and help the team. First one in, last one out of the building. Really glad to see him out there yesterday and have an opportunity to play and have some success and help us win. He’s really showed a lot of mental toughness, really an incredible amount of mental toughness over the last three years to deal with some of the setbacks that he’s had, none of which were really his fault. Just bad breaks really. I don’t think he did anything wrong. That’s football.

“He’s never been anything but a positive, hard-working competitive attitude. He did what he could do. He’s had a good camp here and a good start to the season. For him to have the opportunity to play yesterday and helping the team win was very gratifying I know for him, but for all of us, all of his teammates and other people on the team, the training staff, the strength staff who have worked with him during that time as well to help him regain all of his physical attributes… it came to fruition yesterday and it’s gratifying for everyone.”

Rivers was drafted in the third round in 2017 out of Youngstown State but suffered an ACL tear then ended his rookie season. He was healthy for the Pats’ Super Bowl season in 2018, though he was inactive for the title game, then had his season last year wiped out by injury.

IT HASN’T TAKEN long for Cam Newton and Bill Belichick to click.

Though the two may appear opposites, a commonality has brought them together: They want to win football games. Newton and Belichick were able to do that with style on Sunday, as the offense racked up 217 rushing yards in a stampede of the Dolphins.

On WEEI’s Greg Hill Show Monday morning, Newton was asked what he’s told his friends and family it’s like playing for a coach like Belichick.

“I mean that’s a complex question to me,” Newton said. “I think the thing that people must know: He makes even the smartest players more cerebral. With that being said, we go over situational football each and every single day. There is no point in time when he can not stop something and teach you something. He’s the ultimate teacher and I just respect that.”

Before Newton came to New England, there was plenty of speculation that a marriage between the two wouldn’t work. While Newton is exceptionally flashy – did you see the sharp yellow suit he wore on Sunday? – Belichick can be dour. The quarterback admitted he wasn’t sure what it’d be like inside the walls at Gillette Stadium.

“I just feel as if, I didn’t know what to expect coming in here. You hear stories. I just am blown away by his professionalism,” Newton said. “To adapt on the run in-game, there was a lot of in-game adjustments yesterday and that was something cool to watch and see. But the preparation leading up to it. We do a lot of self-scouting here. Self-scouting means that if we just focus on our fundamentals and focus on how we can become better, that helps in itself. That’s something that’s just blown me away: Knowing that I just have to be the best version of me.”

Belichick is quite pleased with Newton, too. Asked about the quarterback after Sunday’s win, Belichick offered glowing praise.

“He’s a very, very unselfish player,” Belichick said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s earned everybody’s respect, really, daily. He just continues to do everything that he can to help our team and that’s really all you can ask from anyone and he continually does that, puts himself last and puts the team first. So, I think he’s done a tremendous job there and I thought he played well today.

“He hit a lot of passes. He ran the ball well. He led the team,” Belichick continued. “He made some good checks and adjustments, so I thought that he did a good job. There’s room for improvement from all of us, so I’m not saying it was the best executed game in the history of football, but we did some good things today in all three phases of the game. We’re proud of that and we’ll go back and work on the things that we need to do to get better, but I thought he did a good job for us.”

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