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Josh McDaniels Conference Call Transcript - 10/15/2012

Posted Oct 15, 2012

Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, October 15, 2012.

Q: After a couple of weeks of finding a pretty strong balance between the run and the pass, I think it was something like 26 run plays and almost 60 passing attempts yesterday. Was that something that, looking back on the game, was not quite how you hoped it had gone?

JM: We usually try to make a good choice of what we end up trying to do or how we end up trying to play the game. We knew Seattle was a really good, talented defense. We knew that there are certainly some challenges playing there in their stadium and then couple that with their scheme, where they really play with a safety down either in the box or at the line of scrimmage on almost every play. We knew we were going to rely a little more heavily on our passing game as kind of an extension of our running game yesterday. We mixed the running game in there – I think whatever it was, 27 runs or whatever it may be – and then used a lot of short passes to kind of go hand-in-hand with that to try to control the ball and control the clock and really try to effectively move the ball against the scheme that they implement, which is a good one and they have a lot of good players. Going into the game, we kind of knew that we would be a little heavier throwing the football than we were in the past few weeks and we just didn't make enough plays in the red zone and turned the ball over in a couple situations that really ended up hurting us in the final result of the game.

Q: Richard Sherman, the Seahawks cornerback, had a few things to say after the game. He said that the Patriots aren't ready for a heavyweight fight. He said that the Patriots have a gimmick offense and that their offense is just Tom Brady while the Seahawks' defense is 11 players. Do those things get under your skin or is that something that you do not pay attention to?

JM: I don't really pay attention to – they have a good defense, they really do. It's one of the top defenses in the league. I give them a lot of credit. They play a lot of players in there, they play the run well, they defend the pass well, they don't give up a lot of big plays and they played better than we did yesterday.

Q: You didn't have that much time with six seconds left in the first half. How much debate was there on the sideline about whether to go for one last shot at the end zone or kick a field goal?

JM: We've practiced that situation a lot. We understand the dynamic that's at play there and we made the decision to go ahead and run an extra play. We knew we had to go quick. Tom knew he had to throw the ball quickly, whether that was to find a receiver fast or to throw it away quickly. We've practiced that numerous times and unfortunately we incurred the penalty there that didn't allow us to end up kicking the field goal. I think the pass was incomplete with one second left, but just where we ended up putting the ball on the play was the thing that changed the result. But I think we've executed and run that situation before and we tried to do it the right way.

Q: After the first throw to Wes Welker on that drive – there was about 34 or 35 seconds left – and you guys sort of moved towards the line and were ushering personnel around a bit and eventually took a timeout. Was there a thought on the sideline of taking the timeout immediately to stop the clock at 35 seconds?

JM: Coach [Belichick] handles those situations and however that situation plays out then that's what we do. So we're getting ready to run another play; if there's a timeout called, there's a timeout called. If not, we get to the line as quickly as we can and try to execute our next snap.

Q: Who was Tom Brady's primary option on that play? Was Rob Gronkowski covered over the top, because it seemed like he broke open towards the corner on that one?

JM: On the play with six seconds left [in the first half]?

Q: Yes.

JM: Any time you're down there that close and then couple that with the time, there's a lot of quick options on a play like that. You try to give the quarterback a lot of quick options on a play like that so that he can make a quick decision on what he wants to do with the ball and get it out of his hand, understanding that time is an issue. Everybody is alive on those pass plays. I think we got five guys out into the pattern quickly. They did a good job of covering some things early in the pattern and I think Gronk did spring free late in the play, but I think at that point Tom had kind of made his decision that he was going to go ahead and get rid of the football by the time that happened.

Q: What was your impression of Aaron Hernandez's first game back from injury?

JM: Aaron made some key plays. We obviously limited some of the things that we did with him, but he made some important plays for us. He got some drives started with some positive plays, made a couple of third-down conversions there and then ended up scoring on the goal line. We thought he could help us and contribute and help us win the game. I thought Aaron tried to do exactly what we wanted him to do with his opportunities and hopefully that will continue to improve as we go forward.

Q: How about the play of Wes Welker? He was one of the real bright spots yesterday. Just the toughness that he showed, the catches that he made and it seemed like he was all over the field and did some great work.

JM: Wes is a great player and we certainly rely on him to do a lot of different things and he usually comes up with a lot of critical catches on big plays and big downs. Yesterday was no different. Again, they're a tough defense to do a lot of different things against and I thought that Wes fought hard – along with the rest of our guys – to try to move the ball the way that we were trying to move the ball. He made a big play there on the touchdown catch and had a few other really important third-down plays for us in the game. I think that's what we expect Wes to do and he certainly comes out there and plays hard every week.

Q: Another guy that had a big game yesterday was Danny Woodhead. Did that sort of bring back any memories of Kevin Faulk for you?

JM: Danny is obviously a very important player for us, too. He's made a lot of critical [plays], whether it's catches or runs, third-down protections or blocking blitzers. Danny has filled that role and done a really nice job with it. Kevin was certainly one of the best Patriots ever and had a great career and did a lot of similar things, [but] I think they're different players. Danny did definitely show up and make some important plays for us yesterday like he has all year.

Q: For chunks of every game this year – other than maybe the Arizona game – the offense has looked as masterful as it has ever been. The past couple of games, other than the Buffalo game, there has been a fourth quarter lull. Can you explain the problem? Are defenses figuring out the offense? We can even go back to the Super Bowl game with the Giants, where Tom Brady completed 16 or 17 passes in a row and then it just did not move as smoothly in the fourth quarter when you needed to run the clock out. Can you talk about that briefly?

JM: Well, certainly the end of the game is the most critical part of the game and we need to do better. I need to do better. We can prepare better and we can play better in those situations to try to finish the games out. I think it's an important area that we improve in and certainly it can make a difference in any game. We just have to do a good job of trying to continue to coach and prepare for that situation better, because we've been in it a few times and we need to be able to close out the games when we get that opportunity.

Q: You guys were 1-for-6 in the red zone and Tom Brady has always talked about finishing in the red zone with touchdowns as many times as you can there. What did you see on film yesterday that kept you guys from finishing drives with touchdowns in the red zone?

JM: Each possession is different. Any time you go down there and you end up with any negative type of play, it can really hurt your opportunity to have success at the end of the drive in terms of scoring touchdowns. We were down there six times and didn't score enough. That's obviously an area that we can do better in and we have to do better in and get better in quickly. If we get the opportunity with six chances down there to score touchdowns and only come away with one, certainly that's not good enough. There are a lot of different situations. Each drive was a different scenario there. We had a few third-and-shorts that we didn't necessarily convert on and we ended up with the two-minute drive that obviously we were hoping for either seven or three [points] there and didn't get it. I think overall, your execution down there is really at a premium and whatever you're calling is really at a premium. You've got to do everything right down there because you really have no margin for error. We can do better and we have to.

Q: What kind of challenges does this Jets' defense present, or what opportunities does it present, without Darrelle Revis back there?

JM: Well, I have a ton of respect for Coach [Rex] Ryan and [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Pettine in terms of the job that they do on defense. This is always one of the most difficult preparations of the year. They do a lot of different things, they play a lot of different people and they've got a lot of great players. This game is always one where you've got to be ready for a lot of different things and some of the things that you practice you may never see and some of the things that you don't practice you may see a lot of, so schematically it's a big challenge for us. Their personnel is good. They've got a primarily veteran group. There are a few younger players that are starting to get mixed in there on the defensive side of the ball. They've got a group that understands how to play, they know what they're trying to get done with their scheme, they play fast and they create turnovers and put pressure on the quarterback. I know Revis isn't there, but their secondary is, again, a veteran group and I think they're playing better and better every week and we know it's going to be a great challenge for us on Sunday.