|Bill Belichick breaks down the Tim Tebow option||01.12.12 at 8:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Who says Bill Belichick won’t break down the specific game plan before a big game?
He certainly provided insight on Thursday, 48 hours before his Patriots begin their hopeful march toward Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis with an AFC Divisional matchup against the Broncos.
“I think what separates them from everybody else is the amount of option that they run, whether it’s the triple option where there’s actually three players involved or whether it’s the quarterback handing the ball off but potentially keeping it away from the direction of the play. You don’t see a lot of teams do that, I think that’s what’s – when they just hand the ball off, then their plays are similar to everybody else’s,” Belichick said of the NFL’s top rushing attack, led by – of all people – quarterback Tim Tebow.
Denver averaged 164.5 yards a game on the ground and everyone remembers the first quarter on Dec. 18 when Tebow and the Broncos ran through the Patriots for 173 yards. Tebow rushed for 660 yards this season and six touchdowns, two of which came in their December meeting in Denver. He ran for an average of 5.4 yards per carry on 122 attempts.
Willis McGahee led the Broncos in 2011 with 1199 yards on 249 carries, good for a 4.8 yards per carry average.
“They obviously have their own unique players doing them and that makes them unique, but the amount of the quarterback keeping the ball with the different combinations of blocking schemes that they have and the true option plays, either speed option or triple option where it’s dive, quarterback, pitch, you don’t see that very often in this league,” Belichick said. “We’re going to see that a lot Saturday night and so is every other team. Those are the things you really have to, they’re different. We just don’t see that.”
Belichick also broke down exactly what that means for his secondary.
“Safeties and the corners, it’s a little different game than I think most of the time you play in this league,” Belichick said. “I think as a defensive back, you’re expecting passes on every play and then when you don’t get it, you don’t get it. But here it’s run-force, option responsibilities and then play-action or double moves and things like that. Every time you come out of the huddle, again, The secondary’s primary responsibility is always pass, but in addition to that, they have a lot of run-force responsibilities in this game and option and those kind of things.”
No doubt, the game-winning play against the Steelers – when Tebow found Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard post pattern – came up in discussion this week as well.
“It definitely puts pressure on from that standpoint, that you have a lot more things to think about for a defensive back,” Belichick said. “Instead of going into the game where you’re expecting that every play is going to be a pass. You have to be ready for that on every play, but the reality is that the every play is not a pass. There are a lot of outside runs, there are a lot options plays, there are a lot of plays the secondary force is critical on. It is, it really attacks the entire defense. They do a good job of working sideline-to-sideline and goal line-to-endzone.”
The balance on defense is what Belichick will no doubt be going over with safeties and secondary coachMatt Patricia, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and the rest of his defensive staff this week.
“I think you have to worry about everything with Denver’s offense,” Belichick added. “You have to worry about the running game, the passing game, the backs, the receivers, the quarterback, the offensive line. They’re a well balanced unit. They get production from everybody. Everybody has to take care of their job. If you just load up on one thing, then you pay the price somewhere else. You have to be able to handle all the elements of the offense. They’re going to test you on all of them, you know that.
“They’re going to test you with their receivers down the field on catch-and-run plays, they’re going to test you inside, outside in the running game, with the quarterback, the running backs, some type of reverse or gadget play. They run those things every week and you’re going to have to be ready for them. You don’t know when or which one it’s going to be, but they’re going to test you out on that. I’m concerned about all of it, of course.”
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