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Cardinals coach thanks Bill Belichick for Tommy Kelly

Perhaps no player better encapsulates the prowess of the Arizona Cardinals' coaching staff than rejuvenated defensive end Tommy Kelly.

A disappointment in one season with the Patriots, Kelly was released in August as a 34-year-old veteran coming off ACL surgery. Now he's making plays on a weekly basis, filling three-time Pro Bowler Darnell Dockett's shoes on an overachieving defensive line that became the first this season to shut down DeMarco Murray.

"Tell Bill (Belichick) I said, 'Thank you,'" defensive line coach Brentson Buckner told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver Sunday night. "Kelly's been great for us. One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Kelly is symbolic of an organization that team leader Larry Fitzgeraldrecently compared to the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA's paragon of unselfish success.

"They say everything happens for a reason," Kelly explained to Silver. "I'm happy -- they work me hard but they treat me nice ... and no snow! It's a great group. We believe in each other. We believe in our scheme. And even with some big-time losses, we still feel we've got enough to get it done."

That team-first attitude is pervasive throughout the roster.

Whereas Fitzgerald's father castigated the Cardinals in September, the All-Pro receiver has embraced Bruce Arians' spread-the-wealth offensive philosophy.

"We're just a band of brothers," Fitzgerald said Sunday. "We really believe in each other. We fight for each other. This is one of the most unselfish groups I've ever been around. We don't care who gets the glory. We just want to win."

While it's easy to understand Fitzgerald's Spurs comparison, it's Belichick's upstart 2001 Patriots that come to mind when we watch the Cardinals' mix of motivated, savvy veterans and exciting young talent molded into one cohesive unit.

If Arians' troops follow that script with a Super Bowl XLIX appearance in Arizona, they will make good on his admonition not to let anyone dress in their lockers this season.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from an action-packed Week 9. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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