Bill Belichick explains leadership qualities of first-time captains James White, Patrick Chung

Ryan Hannable
September 07, 2018 - 1:27 pm

FOXBORO -- On Thursday, the Patriots announced their six captains for the 2018 season -- Tom Brady, James White, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Patrick Chung and David Andrews.

For White and Chung, it was their first time being elected captains.

At his final press conference of the week, Bill Belichick praised both players for their leadership.

"We have a lot of good leaders on our team," he said. "I think it's a very deep group, so I think the leadership extends far beyond the guys that were elected for that. James has done a great job for us. He's given us tremendous on and off-the-field leadership, as has Pat. We have a very strong room at safety with Duron [Harmon], who has been a captain, Nate Ebner, Chung, [Devin] McCourty. It's about as strong of a room as you can have. But yeah, those guys all do a good job."

White has made tremendous strides since his first season in the league, which essentially was a red-shirt year.

"Obviously, he had a good player playing ahead of him his rookie season [Shane Vereen]," Belichick said. "I think he was only active for two games. As we've seen from a lot of players, there's great development and jump from Year One to Year Two. It's pretty common. Again, he's done a great job for us both on and off the field. He's one of our most dependable players. Everybody has a lot of confidence in him because he's earned it. He’s earned that confidence and trust from his teammates and his coaches by doing it on a consistent basis. There's no real magic to that. It’s just going out there and being consistent and dependable. He's done a great job of it."

As for Chung, it isn't just being a vocal leader, it's leading by example.

"Pat's maybe down the middle," he said. "He's not the most outspoken but he's certainly not quiet. He's tough. He's a tough football player. He has a great football-playing mentality, very competitive, plays well, has played against a lot of good players, plays against good players every week and competes hard every week. He's out there on everything. He's out there on defense, special teams. He runs a lot of scout-team plays for us on offense, kind of like Rodney [Harrison] used to do. He just loves to get out there and play and compete. He's in great condition. He can go all day. He can go hard all day. He's a very well-conditioned athlete with good playing strength, good instincts, good toughness. He's a very versatile guy, does a lot for us and does a lot for our team, whatever we ask him to do."

Dont'a Hightower, Rob Gronkowski and Duron Harmon were all captains last year, but weren't re-elected.

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