Bill Belichick on Broncos: ‘You can’t just shut down one guy’
|11.20.13 at 2:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has developed a reputation over the years of taking away one weapon from the opposing offense.
Well, with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Belichick says it isn’t that simple.
Belichick knows full well that the Broncos personnel unit is the most skilled and deepest unit he will likely face all season. With Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker catching the ball and Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno running and catching the ball, the Patriots defense will be extended to its limits.
“You have to play good team defense, that’s all there is to it,” Belichick said Wednesday. “It’s not just, ‘Take one guy away in their offense.’ They have a lot of weapons, they execute very well. Peyton does a tremendous job of getting in good plays and making good decisions, taking what’s there, what the defense allows you to have and he’s very, very accurate with the ball. Everybody is just going to have to do their job. You can’t just shut down one guy. I don’t think that will even come anywhere close to stopping them, they have way too many people that will kill you.
“We saw them last year, we saw them in the bye week last year in preparation for the playoffs, we saw them in the offseason, we saw them this year. There’s plenty of information on them, I don’t think that’s really the issue.”
While the Broncos have four receivers with over 40 receptions, Hillman and Moreno are both averaging over four yards a carry.
“Well, backs are a key part of the offense period,” Belichick said. “They’re important in the running game, they’re important in the passing game. They use them on screens, routes out of the backfield, flat routes, wheel routes. They catch the ball, they run with it. I’d say pretty much wherever the defense looks vulnerable, they’ll attack you with whichever players they want to attack with and they have a lot of them. Those guys have done a good job. They’re both explosive players, running game and passing game. You have to do a good job on them. You have to do a good job on the receivers, have to do a good job the tight ends. They’re all a factor.”
Here is the remainder Belichick press conference from Wednesday:
BB: OK, so we’re catching on the Broncos here. Obviously a real good football team; their record reflects that. They’re good in all three phases of the game. I think they’re well coached. They obviously have a lot of good players; good on offense, good on defense, good in the kicking game. They have a very explosive return game. A lot of guys contribute; it’s not one-man show. They do a good job in every area and they have a lot of people that can make plays and contribute so there’s a lot to get ready for. Quick week, but we’re on to it. We’ll get back on schedule here and get ready to go.
Q: What role has Wes Welker had in the Broncos offense? Do they play him much differently than you guys did or is he in the slot?
BB: He’s in the slot more than 90 percent of the time.
Q: Every quarterback is going to use his weapons differently, have you seen that?
BB: Peyton [Manning] uses everybody. He throws to everybody. He throws to the guy that’s open. He does a good job of that.
Q: How has Broncos offense changed with Welker and the emergence of Julius Thomas?
BB: They have a lot of players: they have receivers, they have backs, they have tight ends. They all contribute. They run the ball, they throw it; throw it to everybody. Depends on what coverage you’re in, depends on what play they have called, they get the ball to the guy that has the best matchup. They do a good job of that – go to anybody.
Q: Does what they do change with those guys?
BB: It depends on what you do; it depends on how you’re playing. How you’re playing them, then they attack how you’re playing them.
Q: How have they been protecting Manning?
BB: They have a well balanced offense. They have a couple plays I’m sure they’d like to have back, just like we all do. They move the ball, they score points – they’re a great offense.
Q: Has there been a significant change defensively with Von Miller back?
BB: I mean, he’s a good player, sure. No, I don’t think they’ve changed their scheme. They give you a lot of different looks. They have a variety of defenses: different personnel groups, different combinations. They just don’t sit in one thing all day.
Q: Do they flip sides with Von Miller?
BB: He’s lined up in different positions, yes. Usually on our right, but not always. When they’re [in] base defense, he’s really a linebacker, so that’s really formational.
Q: Have you had any contact with Wes Welker since he left? What was your overall view of his time here?
BB: Right now, we’re really just focused on preparing for Denver. What happened last year, five years ago, I don’t think it has too much impact on anything right now; just trying to get ready for Denver. He’s done a good job for them, he’s a good player.
Q: Peyton Manning says he feels stronger this year. Have you noticed any difference in the way the ball is coming out of his hand this year as opposed to last year?
BB: He looks pretty good. He’s looked pretty good every year to me. If that’s what he says, I’m sure that’s right. He would know better than anybody else.
Q: What has Von Miller brought to the team since he’s returned?
BB: He’s a very good player. He’s fast, he’s explosive, he can rush the passer, can play the run, pursues well. He’s a guy that you have to block on every play. They do different things with him. He’s definitely a force out there. He’s a good football player.
Q: Have you been able to discern any difference in tendencies with Jack Del Rio as opposed to John Fox?
BB: I think what they do is more determined by the game: who they’re playing, what that team does, how they want to attack them. I don’t know who all – how much of that is John, how much of that is Jack, I don’t know the inner workings of that but they don’t play everybody the same. They play them differently depending on how they want to play them. For whatever reason, they decide to do what they do in that game. So who decides what? How much input who has – I have no idea. You have to talk to them about that. It definitely changes.
Q: Will the injuries in your defensive backfield limit how creative you can get?
BB: We’ll do what we think is best for the game regardless.
Q: How do you simulate all their weapons in practice?
BB: We put our players out there and we run plays. We run them the way we think they’ll run based on what we defensively happen to have called on that play, just like we normally would do.
Q: Are there certain players you’d use to simulate a certain player on their offense?
BB: Of course. We take our players on the scout team and we put them in positions that approximate what they have or what they do. Receivers play receiver, tight ends play tight ends, backs play backs. Sometimes you have certain receivers simulate certain guys depending on the team you’re playing, sometimes you don’t. But whatever it is, you try to put the best look you can out there. The same thing on defense: somebody plays Von Miller, somebody plays [Derek] Wolfe, somebody plays [Danny] Trevathan. Guys that are key guys for you offensively or defensively, you make sure you identify them if it affects your alignment or adjustments that you’re making, that kind of thing, then you specifically tag those guys so that your team can see, ‘Where’s so-and-so? Where’s the safety? Where’s the tight end?’ Whatever key players you either need to be aware of or that cause you to do some type of adjustment, you want to make sure the defense can recognize it.
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