- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quick hits from Tuesday conference calls with coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Dean Pees:
1. Charlie Weis and a possible return to the Patriots. Asked his reaction to news of Charlie Weis' firing at Notre Dame, and any interest of having him return to the Patriots, Belichick said: "I’m disappointed for Charlie and his family and all the people they took out there with them. Of course, I go back a long way with Charlie and we have a good friendship. I talk to him on a pretty regular basis, so I’m disappointed for him on that level. But right now my focus is on the Miami Dolphins, and getting ready to go down there and play a tough division game on the road. That’s where I’m at right now. There are going to be situations like that -- there have been every year -- where things happen on other teams and on other coaching staffs or player rumors and so forth. Anything along that nature is something that would be addressed at a later point in time. It’s not anything that is on the front burner at all."
2. More on Devery Henderson's 75-yard touchdown. The Patriots were in a nickel defense (five defensive backs) and Pees said the call was something the Patriots have done numerous times. Pees said the breakdown wasn't a miscommunication, but a player simply freezing. He did not name the player. Reviewing the play independently from the conference call, it was a corner blitz (Jonathan Wilhite) and safety Brandon Meriweather appeared to be the player who missed the assignment.
3. Tallying up the big plays. The Saints had eight plays of 20 yards or more, hitting the Patriots in an area they had been excellent this season. Those eight plays totaled 312 yards. "We had more missed assignments than we’ve had in almost all the other previous games combined," Pees said, before adding that "I’m trying to find out what the factor was to that so that I can remedy it and fix it as a coach." Belichick said he views the Patriots' breakdowns as correctable.
4. Defense let issues snowball. After the game, nose tackle Vince Wilfork talked about the importance of players being able to put a bad play behind them. He felt the Patriots were challenged in that area Monday. Asked about Wilfork's remarks, Belichick said: "I think there could have been an element of that. I think I would agree with Vince’s comment on that that we probably didn’t do a good enough job of moving on to the next play. There might have been a residual effect on some of the plays that happened earlier in the game affecting, more than they probably should have, of how we played plays later in the game."