Pats DB Steve Gregory on M&M: Defense ‘starting to jell now’
|11.26.12 at 12:42 pm ET|
Patriots defensive back Steve Gregory joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about his role in Thursday’s Pats-Jets game, the defense’s progress, and other Patriots news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Gregory intercepted Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez during the Patriots’ 49-19 win Thursday. He said the defensive setup allowed him to read Sanchez and pick off the ball.
‘As in every play, you always want to disguise your coverages, disguise what you’re going to be doing so you can’t just kind of let the quarterback read and know exactly what we’re in,’ Gregory said. ‘So we did a good job at disguising the look and Kyle [Arrington] was covering in the slot. ‘¦ I got a good read on Sanchez where he was looking and was able to jump the route.’
Gregory recovered the fumble after Sanchez ran into linebacker Brandon Moore‘s butt. Gregory said he was in the right spot to recover the ball.
‘It was just a broken play,’ Gregory said. ‘Obviously he went to hand it off and he read it wrong. And then I guess just trying to salvage what little loss he had left, he tried to run up into the line and get some positive yardage. I just happened to be standing there at the time and the ball popped out and I picked it up and ran. It was just kind of an interesting play, I don’t know that I’ve seen it before happen like that. But, hey, I’ll take it.’
Added Gregory: ‘Sometimes some funny stuff happens out there. This just happens to be one of them. Like I said, I’m glad I was on the positive side of the play and not the laughable side.’
Gregory said the defense is beginning to do better working together in games and that the Pats have been focusing on that over the course of the season.
‘We’re starting to put it together now,’ Gregory said. ‘We’ve been getting to know each other over the year. Obviously a lot of new faces, new guys playing with each other. Sometimes, when that happens, it takes a little time to build that chemistry. We’ve been working on that really hard in practice. Understanding certain guys’ tendencies, techniques, the characters of some of the players we are playing with. And I think it’s all starting to jell now.’
Gregory said Bill Belichick‘s hands-on, detail-oriented coaching makes the team better.
‘He has high expectations for us,’ Gregory said. ‘The attention to detail, understanding the team you’re playing, the game plan that you’re going in with each and every week is really important. I think that’s a credit to the success that they’ve had here. The paying attention to the little things, the being in your playbook studying film. ‘¦ I think the type of guys that they bring into this locker room is high-character guys. Guys that take pride in their profession. Guys that want to be in the film room studying, that really care about winning, and winning for the guy next to you. And I think that’s what this locker room is about.’
Following are more highlights from the interview:
On Aqib Talib: ‘He’s been great. Obviously his first game back, he was a little rusty, and he’ll tell you that. He’s a great football player. He understands the game, has experience, and understands how to play technique and things like that. So bringing his experience in here and getting him used to this system, I think its grown since he got here, and it’s only going to keep getting better.’
On Devin McCourty: ‘Dev’s been great. He’s a great athlete. I’ve always said he’s a smart football player. He understands this defense and the things that we’re trying to do. He’s an aggressive football player and he’s a very unselfish guy. So whatever you ask him to do, his main focus is trying to win football games. Wherever he’s playing, whatever his job is, his role within the defense, he’s willing to do. He’s been great back there, he’s a good communicator, and somebody who is fun to play with.’
On the difficulty covering when penalty flags are thrown so frequently: ‘The flags come out so much quicker now. Guys going across the middle, if you pretty much light up a guy, it’s going to be a flag, 15-yard personal foul, expect the fine in the mail next week. From that standpoint, the game has changed. I understand they’re trying to make it safer for guys. We appreciate that as players, too.’
On Vince Wilfork: ‘He’s incredible. The things that go unnoticed. Taking on double-teams. Freeing up linebackers so they can go make tackles on the running back in the backfield. Just the unselfish things that he does and does at such a high level is incredible. It really helps this defense succeed. Vince is a great leader. He understands football. He’s been playing for a long time now. He understands coverages, sometimes better than I do, I feel like. He’s just a great guy to be around, a great leader, and I’m glad he’s on our side.’
On Chargers coach Norv Turner (Gregory played for the Chargers the previous six seasons): ‘Norv is a great coach. He’s having a tough deal out there right now, they’re not winning any football games. Anytime that happens, the coach is going to get a lot of blame. But I’m a believer in the fact that players play and coaches coach. A coach can only do so much. We’re the guys out there on the field, in between the lines getting things done. ‘¦ As a player, you have to take it upon yourself to go out there and get things done and beat the man across from you.’