|The ‘well-coordinated’ details that make Ryan Allen and Patriots special teams so important to Bill Belichick||09.24.16 at 9:31 am ET|
Bill Belichick has always been a huge proponent of emphasizing the significance of special teams.
On Thursday, that attention to detail paid off in huge dividends as Ryan Allen pinned the Texans inside their 15 six times with punts and the kickoff coverage team forced two turnovers that led to two of New England’s three touchdowns on the night.
“Tremendous, tremendous. Field position was phenomenal,” Belichick said immediately after the game. “It seemed like they had to go 90 yards every time they had the ball. Our kickoff team, once again, came up big with field position; two turnovers. That’s a very aggressive unit. I think Joe [Judge] and Bubba [Ray Ventrone] have done a great job.
“They have a lot of leadership on that unit, a lot of pride. We punted well, we covered well, we covered our kicks well, we had a couple of chances in the return game, we converted our scoring opportunities. The entire special teams unit, the coaching staff, they did a tremendous job tonight. We obviously needed that tonight and they really delivered it.”
Allen knew coming in that with rookie Jacoby Brissett starting, one way to take some pressure off would be flipping the field and making the Texans go a long ways while keeping the field shorter for the Patriots. It worked. Houston’s average starting field position was its own 16. New England’s was its own 40. Playground slides aren’t tilted that much.
“Really at the end of the day there has been times where I, I think I’ve learned that. Steve and I have talked a little bit about that,” Allen said. “You never really know how games are going to go. There’s sometimes at the beginning of the game we’ll make a comment or two about how we feel, where we’re at as a team right before we play and we’re totally wrong most of the time. So you just really like assume you never really that’ll get you anywhere and you have to just be prepared and when you’re called go out there and do the best you can. So I think it was a good collective effort tonight.”
|The anatomy of a perfect game plan from Bill Belichick: How Jacoby Brissett TD run happened||09.23.16 at 12:49 pm ET|
Sometimes one play can reveal a lot about a team’s preparation on a short week.
After Thursday’s 27-0 blanking of the Texans, Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of the coaching staff and players to get ready and execute at a high level. Belichick knows it’s hard enough on a regular week. But when the week is compressed, every detail becomes critical.
No play reflected the Patriots’ preparation better than the 27-yard bootleg run from Jacoby Brissett, a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start.
In order to make Brissett comfortable against a defense led by J.J. Watt, Belichick and his coaching staff of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and running backs coach Ivan Fears got their heads together to scheme against former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Texans defensive guru Romeo Crennel.
On the designed bootleg at the end of the first quarter, several factors were involved. Watt lined up over left guard Joe Thuney. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney came down on the line of scrimmage to set the edge on the other side. Watt blew through but there was nothing for Watt to get at. The reason? The play was designed to run on the other side, with right guard Shaq Mason executing the key block on McKinney to spring Brissett.
“I didn’t think J.J. Watt really had anything to do with the play,” Belichick said Friday in his conference call with reporters. “He was on the other side of the line. I don’t think he would’ve had any chance at all. Jacoby just took the ball, kind of took one step back, gave a quick ball fake to LeGarrette [Blount] and just went to the edge and it was timed out well with Shaq, who cut McKinney on the line of scrimmage and got him down, kind of knocked him off balance. By that time, Jacoby is already outside. Once Jacoby got to the corner, it was really a run all the way.”
Brissett made free safety Andre Hal miss at the 5 and used a block from Malcolm Mitchell on Johnathan Joseph to dive into the end zone.
|Bill Belichick rags on color-rush uniforms: ‘Can’t even tell you how I excited I was’||at 11:40 am ET|
Bill Belichick won’t be rushing to the Patriots Pro Shop to get his color rush uniform from Thursday night.
The Patriots coach, in a classic sarcastic response to being questioned about the all-blue “Captain America” look Thursday night, said he’s not really into different uniforms and how sweet they may look on the field.
“Yeah, I wish that was all there was to it. Just put on a new pair of socks and change uniforms or something like that. There’s a lot more to it than that,” Belichick said in his best deadpan. “I can’t even tell you how excited I was about the uniforms last night. It was really incredible.”
The NFL and Nike came up with the marketing idea to make Thursday night football games stick out – and of course, sell more jerseys, something Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft acknowledged before Thursday’s game.
Kraft said the team ordered a huge shipment of what they thought would be a season’s worth of uniforms for the Pro Shop. Kraft said they’re two-thirds through it.
While the Patriots easily beat the Texans, 27-0, in the unis Thursday, Belichick recalled a not-so pleasant experience in 2002, when Lawyer Milloy went into Belichick’s office asking that the team wear blue-on-blue.
The Patriots wore blue-on-blue against the Packers on Oct. 13 and lost 28-10. After a bye, they came out and lost, 24-16, to the Broncos on Oct. 27. The two games, both at Gillette, were part of a four-game skid that would factor heavily in the Patriots missing the playoffs at 9-7, the last time a Belichick team didn’t win double figures in a season.
“Yeah,” Belichick said. “That was brutal.”
|Mike Lombardi on K&C: ‘Team won last night. Culture won last night. Chemistry won last night. That’s what won’||at 9:18 am ET|
NFL analyst Mike Lombardi made his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Friday morning, following the Patriots’ impressive 27-0 victory over the Texans, and defended his former boss Bill Belichick against accusations that he was pressuring Jimmy Garropolo to play in Thursday’s game. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.
Lombardi dismissed a report that Belichick was questioning Garropolo’s toughness because he was not able to play with a sprained AC joint he suffered in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins.
“Not even remotely close, OK?” said Lombardi, who was an assistant to the Patriots coaching staff last season and was an executive with the Browns alongside Belichick in the early 1990s. “First of all, I’ve known Bill since 1991, and his philosophy — as is mine — if a player’s not a hundred percent, if he’s 80 percent and you put him out there, you’re better off playing a backup.
“How can you make that statement when your whole emphasis is team? If you believe in team and you believe in the next man up, why would you ever pressure a guy? Why would you ever believe that? It goes counterintuitive to what your whole emphasis of the program is? It’s team. That’s what won last night. Team won last night. Culture won last night. Chemistry won last night. That’s what won.”
Lombardi wasn’t surprised the Patriots stuck with rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback rather than signing a free agent during the week, because adding a player on such short notice would be “wasting a roster spot.” The Patriots kept things relatively simple for the third-round draft pick because, “He just doesn’t have enough reps yet. So they’ve got to manage him and they’ve got to manage the game. Those are the challenges that come across,” Lombardi said.
|Bill Belichick extremely grateful for his players, coaches in shutout win on short week: ‘They never batted an eye’||at 1:55 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick isn’t known for his glowing praise of his teams during the season.
But on the night he tied Curly Lambeau for fourth place (226) on the all-time regular season wins list, the Patriots coach was very appreciative of his staff and players for being ready on a short week. It all added up to a 27-0 win over the Texans in a game where almost everything went right.
“This is a really satisfying win,” Belichick said. “I thought that this whole week our coaching staff, let’s start with them, did a tremendous job. Josh [McDaniels], Matt Patricia, Joe Judge – did a great job. Jerry Schuplinski with Jacoby [Brissett], just how hard they worked to prepare the team to get them ready, and then how committed the players were. We came in here Monday after the Miami game and just turned the page and got on to the Texans. We really asked a lot out of the team this week. They responded.
“They never batted an eye. We got great leadership from our captains; a lot of our veteran players. Everybody just got on board and stepped up. So, just really proud of the way that these guys competed. I thought that we tried to do what we wanted to do for 60 minutes. Houston’s a good football team. You know how much respect I have for Coach [Bill] O’Brien and their staff and their players.
“Just so proud of the way our guys competed and just tried to do everything that we asked them to do and they really worked hard at it. I’m just happy for the success that they had tonight. The coaching staff just did a tremendous job this week. Good to win and we’ll be moving on pretty quickly from this one, but we’ll be able to enjoy it here for a little while. It’s a good win.”
|Jacoby Brissett promises Bill Belichick not to give ball to Texans, gives it to Patriots coach after touchdown||at 1:30 am ET|
FOXBORO — Jacoby Brissett had one primary mission heading into the game Thursday night in his first NFL start.
Don’t give the ball to the Texans on turnovers.
He kept his promise and it was one of the big reasons the Patriots blanked the Texans, 27-0, at Gillette Stadium.
So, after his 27-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, he took the ball, ran over to Bill Belichick and gave him the ball as evidence of keeping his promise.
“I was supposed to give him the ball,” Brissett smiled. “Make sure they don’t get it. Make sure we get it. So, I gave it to him.”
Did he eventually give the ball back?
“Yeah, he did,” Brissett acknowledged.
Belichick had no problem keeping it in a safe place on the sideline before giving it back to his rookie QB.
“Yeah, of course, just like I did with Troy Brown and Asante Samuel and those other guys,” Belichick said. “I think he handled himself great last week, this week, all week, every day,” Belichick said. “He’s done nothing but come in here and work as hard as he possibly can – when we had three quarterbacks – to take his opportunities and learn from the other two guys, when it was him and Jimmy [Garoppolo] and then this week it was pretty much all him.
“He’s just a hard working kid that is really dedicated to doing what’s right for the team and trying to improve on anything that you tell him. He just wants to do what the coach tells him to do. I’m glad we have him. Yeah, I was just holding the ball for him. That’s his ball. That’s his first touchdown ball, so that’ll go up on his trophy [case].”
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price explain how Jacoby Brissett pulled off perfect ‘complementary’ win||at 1:03 am ET|
FOXBORO — How did the Patriots pull it off? Jacoby Brissett manages the perfect game and the defense and special teams play huge in the Patriots’ 27–0 win over the Texans on Thursday night. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your recap from Foxboro.
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