Tuesday, October 15, 2013
What we learned from coaches' calls
By Mike Reiss
Every Tuesday during the regular season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDanels hold conference calls in the 12 p.m. hour.
Here are some of the things we learned today:
1. Discussions on Armstead and Harrison coming: Defensive tackle Armond Armstead (non-football illness list) and wide receiver Mark Harrison (non-football injury list) are eligible to begin practicing for the first time this week, and Belichick was asked if that will happen. "That's one of the things that we'll be talking about later on today," he said. "[Those are] some of the things that we do on Tuesdays, in addition to game planning for the Jets, we talk about our roster [and] find out what the expected practice availability is for the players." It's hard to imagine Belichick doesn't have a feel for whether either player will begin practicing; this is probably a case where he just doesn't prefer to reveal the information.
2. Jets as a "game-plan" team: One week after facing Rob Ryan's Saints defense, the Patriots now get Rex Ryan's Jets defense. Asked the common threads between the twin brothers, Belichick focused on how each is a game-plan specific coach. "What they decide to do in one game could be dramatically different from what they do in another game," he said. Opposing coaches have often said the same thing about the Patriots.
3. Practicing the two-minute drill: Belichick was asked about the team's practice sessions working on the two-minute drill, and he revealed that it usually happens once per week, and "We usually do it without timeouts so we can emphasize the hardest situation, which is the continual play and keeping the ball moving and stopping the clock either getting out of bounds or spiking the ball so that we create the type of situation that had in the New Orleans. That's really as tough as it gets, where you have to go down the field with just over a minute and no timeouts so you don't have any artificial way to stop it."
4. Collie making an impression: Receiver Austin Collie came through in the clutch for the Patriots on the game-winning drive, and he's made an impression on McDaniels. "I think it is probably uncommon, and Austin is impressive," he said. "With the time we've had to spend with him so far, he's really working hard to learn our offense and our system, which is new to him. He is a player that adds veteran experience to our group. He knows how to play and handle himself during the course of the games. He knows how to handle himself during the week of practice, and really he's a guy that has an opportunity to carve out a good role for himself and he's got flexibility that allows us to move him. We maneuvered him a little bit, not on that two-minute drive because we were under the gun in terms of time, but if he goes in there on another play during the course of the game when we had a couple guys go down, we switched some things on the sideline and he showed poise and composure in a situation where certainly we were under a lot of pressure. That was really his first exposure to playing in a game for us. So I have a lot of respect for him, and he's done nothing but try to work his tail off to learn our offense and help us any way that he can. We look forward to future contributions from Austin."
5. Getting ready to stop the run: Will this be a week in which the season-ending injury to defensive tackle Vince Wilfork especially hurts the Patriots? The Jets like to run the ball and the Patriots seem to be expecting it. "I definitely think that's the heart and soul of what they do," Patricia said. "They certainly provide many different attack points in the run game, whether it's the traditional run game that they can line up in two-back sets and pound the ball downhill, which they like to do, or their one-back run game, or incorporating their different packages, whether it's the running back taking the direct snap in the Wildcat formations or the quarterback in the shotgun 'triple look' being able to run from different packages there too."