INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick had a lot of praise for newly-crowned Titans general manager Jon Robinson in a recent TitansOnline.com story.
Belichick told the team's official site, in part, that "Jon patiently worked his way up through the Patriots organization and was unselfish in his team-first attitude to do whatever he could to help us win.
"Jon educated me on the changes in the landscape of scouting and we made adjustments in our process as a result of his perceptive comments.
"Jon Robinson is an asset to any football program."
Wednesday morning in his press conference at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, Robinson thanked Belichick for the kind comments and returned the praise as he described his career in New England, leading up to a two-year stint assisting Jason Licht in his program with the Bucs before getting his own top job this spring.
"I've talked to Bill a couple times," Robinson said. "He [was quoted in] a nice article the other day. I appreciate that. I owe a ton to that man. I respect the heck out of him. His record speaks for itself. But whether through discussions or just watching how he went about building the football team there in New England I learned a lot of football from my time in New England and it was really special."
So what was Robinson's biggest takeaway from his time working under Belichick from 2002-13?
"Finding players that have a team-first attitude," Robinson responded without hesitation. "There is nothing more important than the football team. No one part is greater than the whole. In the end it's about how many wins we have stacked up in that column at the end of the season."
Robinson and former New England co-worker Bob Quinn, who's now running the show in Detroit's front office, have added their names to a long list of personnel people who have grown under Belichick's tutelage before landing on their own in the NFL. Though New England's program has a questionable track record producing head coaches, the front office successes look like they have more potential throughout the league.
"New England is a very unique place," Robinson said of the program that's been rolling out GMs in recent years. "It forces you to learn football and it forces you to learn more than just, 'This player can do this. He can do this and this is how he can fit into our football team here.' It teaches you big-picture things when it comes to roster building. I think that's what prepared Jason, prepared [Falcons GM Thomas] Dimitroff and Scott [Pioli, former Chiefs GM and current Falcons assistant GM] and Bob and now myself to really attack our own individual clubs with our similar philosophy yet our own personality on the football team."
New England is a very unique place
Robinson admits that he and others, including Quinn, had talked about getting their shot as GMs someday.
"Oh sure. You are sitting there late at night, you're watching tape and trying to come up for air a little bit, like, 'One of these days we keep working hard, maybe we can be in that situation.' You talk about it, but in the end we just worked in our job to be the best at what we were doing."
For Robinson, Quinn and others that work paid off. Now he will try to put the lessons he learned in New England under Belichick to use trying to rebuild a Titans team that has the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's draft.