Bill Belichick and Patriots ready to face noise of Seattle
|10.09.12 at 4:00 pm ET|
Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is accorded as one of the loudest places in the league, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday that they will spend the week trying to prepare themselves for the raucous atmosphere.
“I think it might be the loudest stadium that we’ve been in — and we’re in a lot of loud ones,” Belichick said on a conference call. “I’ll put that one right up there. Their fans are vocal, it’s really loud. When we were out there before, four years ago, their record was 2-10, it wasn’t very good and there was a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, a great atmosphere for football. The crowd is totally into it. They do a great job of being loud, causing false start penalties and things like that on the offense.
“Seattle has historically played very well at home. It’s a huge home field advantage for them. Record-wise, their record at home has been among the best in the National Football League really. They’re right up there with the Packers in the NFC. Absolutely, that will be another big challenge for us. The long trip out there and then the environment, the hostile crowd we’ll be facing. Yes, all that is certainly part of the whole preparation and Seattle week.”
It was a point echoed by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
“[Seattle] is an incredible venue to play at. I’ve had an opportunity to be there three or four times, and it never disappoints in terms of how loud and how vocal they’re going to be,” McDaniels said. “I think it’s a great environment to play in and certainly for us on offense it will be important for us to do a good job of communicating and paying attention to all of the little details, so that we make sure that we can work together and try to execute our assignments the best we can.
“Certainly they make it difficult, but I think that the best way for us to do that is to practice with the noise here and do the best we can here; focus on our assignments and our execution and hopefully go out there and play well. If we do that we give ourselves the best chance to be successful.”
Here are some other highlights from Tuesday’s conference call with Belichick:
Obviously takeaways are very important to you. Are turnovers something that you look at as a bonus that’s out of your control or can you actually generate them?
BB: “You could definitely generate them, as Seattle does. I think they do it as well as anybody. Certainly, turnovers come in different categories. Some of them are just mistakes by the offense that the defense doesn’t really have anything to do with, like fumbled snaps or a pass that goes off a receiver’s hand and gets batted up in the air and is an easy interception and the defense doesn’t affect it. Then there are other plays where the defense does affect the play that they read the quarterback, jump the route, strip the ball from the runner or receiver who is obviously trying to hold on to it but the defender is alert and if they don’t put pressure on the ball then they just tackle the guy around the legs instead of trying to get the ball, those aren’t going to be fumbles. I’d say there are a number of opportunities in most games for the defense to at least get the ball out, whether you recover it or not that’s another part of the play but at least get the ball out or put pressure on it. That includes tipped passes and coverage and stripping the ball from the runner or quarterback and all that. It’s an awareness of those opportunities and then taking advantage of them when they occur, which isn’t on every play but they do happen. But then, there are some turnovers that are just unforced and those are just sloppiness by the offensive team, whoever it is just losing the ball. The defense doesn’t cause a turnover, it’s just bad offensive execution.”
I’m assuming you like where your team is at right now in regard to takeaways?
BB: “Yeah, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s Seattle; it’s what happens this week. Hopefully we can be on the plus side of the turnovers against Seattle but that’s hard to do because they do an excellent job of taking it away and they do a great job of protecting it. Their backs really run hard, they get a lot of extra yardage. That’s often a time when backs will be less protective of the ball because they’re struggling for those extra yards and trying to break tackles and all that but not these guys. They run hard, break tackles, gain extra yards and don’t fumble. We’ll see how it all plays out Sunday but just because it happened in a couple other games or didn’t happen, I don’t think that really means anything for Sunday.”
What are your thoughts on height as it pertains to the quarterback position? Is it important, unimportant, overrated, underrated?
BB: “Well it goes along the line of a lot of other things. There are plenty of guys that are good quarterbacks, like the Drew Breeses of the world, that aren’t 6-4. There are some very good quarterbacks that are up in that range. I think it’s a lot more than that. Is it a positive? Yeah. I don’t think there’s really much negative about it, although generally speaking shorter guys are a little quicker than taller guys at every position, generally speaking. It’s like anything ‘ you give up something to get something. I think the decision making and throwing mechanics and accuracy are a lot more important than height.”