|12.21.09 at 6:20 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke with “The Big Show” Monday afternoon on a number of topics. (The complete audio will be posted here.) Here are some of the highlights from that Q&A:
On Buffalo’s first possession – did you make adjustments after that, or were the plans in place to shift to that different defensive front…
We used that, the five-linebackers and six defensive backs mainly on third down. That was the plan coming in. We actually used it on the first drive. On that third and goal, third and goal and five or six, whatever it was. Last play. That was more of a third down game-plan, but Buffalo did a good job running the ball, and we made some adjustments. Once our guys saw it, they played some of the blocks a little bit better. The backs are good — Jackson got outside a few times and broke a tackle, so we tried to tackle him a little bit better after that drive. Sometimes you need to see those guys —not that we haven’t seen them before, but you know, see them in person. You recognize how quick they are and it helps in tackling them later on.
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|12.21.09 at 3:15 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
BB: One thing, after being out all last week, it seemed kind of mild there yesterday in Buffalo compared to what we had here. Maybe that was a good thing, but as I said, it was good to get a road win. It was good to win in the division on the road and I thought there were some good positive things in the game. We didn’t have the kind of consistency we’d like to have in any area and we’ve just got to keep working harder to have more good plays and eliminate some of the ones that weren’t quite up to the standard that we’d like to have. We’re ready to move on to Jacksonville and start getting ready for them, but I’m sure you guys have some things on Buffalo, so we’ll clean those up first.
Q: You mentioned consistency, is there anything you can put your finger on? Was it stuff they were doing?
BB: Oh, well, I think there was a number of close plays. We missed a couple third-down conversions. We didn’t run the ball as well in the second half, after we had that long drive in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, we didn’t run the ball as well. We missed a couple tackles on defense that gave up some yardage, as well as in the kicking game on our coverage teams, kickoff coverage play at the end of the half. Just plays that — had they been a little bit better — would have put us in a better position than what we were in. It wouldn’t have taken a whole lot. There were a couple throws down the field that we just missed on. Knock a couple balls out there on the punt returns, couldn’t get them.
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|12.21.09 at 3:02 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just got out of the Patriots locker room, and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain was one of the few players available during media availability. Here’s a portion of what he talked about with reporters.
On making defensive adjustments Sunday against the Bills…
I mean, I think in the beginning, I think we were stumbling a little bit with getting them off the field, but I think as the game went on, we were able to neutralize what they were doing and come out with a good performance.
You guys talked about simplifying the defensive game plan last week against Carolina. Was that the case on Sunday?
I think that some of the play calls were a little bit more limited for our thinking process, but I think overall, we’re going to have to go through those games where we’re going to have to make adjustments, and I think yesterday was a chance for us to cut loose and play a little more football.
Do you see an improved level of communication on this defense?
I think we’re starting to grow as a defense. Guys are starting to get to know each other better. Obviously, communication comes with that, so we’re starting to really understand where each other fit in the defense and communicate as players. We’re definitely gellin at this point.
On the defensive front — with no down linemen — the Patriots flashed against the Bills…
We mix up things weekly, and that was just an example of something we practiced during the week and were able to execute it during the game. You know, it did confuse their offense and gave us some opportunities to get some mismatches.
|12.21.09 at 12:50 pm ET|
After the opening series of the game, one in which the Bills’ Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch ran wild, the Patriots defensive line had lots of work to do.
And the coaching staff had lots of adjusting to do.
As it turns out, Mike Wright was the perfect bridge between the two, as Bill Belichick pointed out on Monday.
“Mike Wright had a tremendous game,” Belichick said. “That’s as good as a defensive lineman can play, really. All the things he did in the running game, the passing game, pursuit. He played a couple of different positions, played left end, played nose and had some snaps in sub [defenses].”
Belichick sounded like a coach who was playing chess on Sunday, seeing what the Bills were doing to their base defensive package and then reacting. The Patriots were clearly shorthanded coming in, without in Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Myron Pryor. When the Patriots were not using their ‘Zero D-Line’ package, Wright was filling in all over the place.
“I think after the first drive, we kind of saw what they were doing, how they were attacking us,” Belichick said. “They had a couple of schemes for our 3-4 defense, which is not unexpected. We see that every week anyway.”
Belichick gave credit to defensive coordinator Dean Pees, linebackers coach Matt Patricia and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson for coming up with the mid-game adjustments.
“We talked about our technique a little bit, we talked about how we wanted to play the plays,” Belichick added. “We defended them better. We mixed in some calls. Dean, Pepper and Matt talked about making some adjustments in the front, from a call standpoint which would change where our players were placed and I think that might have helped us there.”
|12.21.09 at 10:37 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s win over the Bills. A transcript follows. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
You’re quoting Tom Sr. [in the press conference]: “Tall trees experience high winds”?
I think a lot of times — and I used it in reference to Randy, and the criticism he faced last week. When you’re a really great player like he is, people expect a lot. It’s a real competitive game. There’s obviously weeks where you come out of the game and wish you would have played better. We all do that, every week we probably do that. Sometimes you get criticized more than others, and obviously the guys who are expected to perform the best get the most criticism. You’ve just got to be able to weather that. That’s when it gets tough, and you’ve got to have enough mental toughness and be centered and grounded enough to overcome that. And he certainly did. We as a team certainly have over periods this season. We’re just going to keep battling. We’ve had a lot of close games. Being 9-5 and watching those two teams lose yesterday — the Jets and the Dolphins — that gave us a nice lead here in the division. We obviously have a huge game this week. We’ve got to take care of business at home like we’ve been doing all year. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.20.09 at 5:27 pm ET|
Tully Banta-Cain had three of the six sacks on the day for the Patriots and afterward he talked at the podium outside the Patriots locker room.
“We have the same hunger every week to get to the quarterback,” Banta-Cain said. “We obviously knew we would have our chances but we had to stop the run first.”
Banta-Cain and the Patriots’ defense made the biggest adjustment of the game when they shut down Fred Jackson and the Bills’ running game after Buffalo’s opening drive produced nearly all of their 69 yards, ending with a field goal.
“At the end, we were able to force them into passing situations,” he said. “I think we just made some just adjustments. Some guys, including myself were out of place. We were able to neutralize them.”
But most importantly for the Patriots, this was their first road win on U.S. soil this season.
“The fact we’ve been struggling on the road does get the monkey off our back,” he said. “Hopefully, we can build off this.”
The Patriots are now just one win away from another AFC East title after the Jets lost at home and the Dolphins lost in overtime at Tennessee.
“Oh, they lost?” Banta-Cain asked in pleasant surprise after being told of the Miami result. “We need all the help we can get. That’s good for us.”
|12.20.09 at 4:45 pm ET|
Randy Moss was a man on mission on Sunday and afterward he spoke about his performance at the post-game podium outside the Patriots locker room at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“It’s been really a tough couple of weeks,” Moss said. “You move on. That’s the nature of the game. I’m happy that we got this victory.”
He then acknowledged the support of his fans while taking a veiled shot at those who criticized him for his one-catch effort the week before against Carolina.
“I appreciate all of the support from my true fans, the players, the coaches, my family and loved ones,” Moss said, adding, ”I’ve been in this league 12 years, man, and I’ve been through a lot.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasted no time in giving Moss support after he caught five balls for 70 yards, including a 13-yard TD in the second quarter while drawing a 43-yard pass interference call on Bills cornerback Donte Whitner.
“He’s been one of our most consistent players the last three years,” Belichick said. “He does that a lot.”
Moss, who did not take questions, sounded a defiant tone before walking off the podium in Orchard Park, NY.
“These shoulders that I have on my body, you could put the earth on it,” he said. “Just to let you know, I bounce back.”
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