MP: I think the good thing about the play at the end of the game is if you take a look at the whole defense, it’s everybody on the field really doing their job – making sure the coverage matches what we’re doing up front, giving those guys up front an opportunity to get to the quarterback and making sure we cover those guys well enough to allow that to happen. I think it’s just a complementary play as a defense in general and obviously with Jermaine and Rob applying some pressure, but understand that it’s a full team effort. Everybody up in the front handling their business is really what allowed us to be able to get there.
Q: Was there a blitz call on that play?
MP: Just one of our normal defenses that we run; check our situation. Just a good individual effort by those guys, along with Vince [Wilfork] out on the field and you mentioned the guys up in the middle and Chandler [Jones] and like I said the coverage too. So it was a good complementary play.
Q: What went into the decision to move
MP: I think all of our defensive players are ready to go at multiple positions into whatever fits best for whatever particular play or series of plays that we ask them to go out there and handle. Devin does a great job as far as understanding our defense and knowing the communication that has to take place in the secondary and obviously is in a position to go out there and work with Tavon and understand the corner play at the same time. Like I said, all of those guys are multiple-role players and the particular role for a play or a series or that game just depends on what we feel is best. He did a good job with Tavon in the back end and the outside, but obviously there is a lot of room for improvement to try to keep getting better here as we move forward.
Q: What were your impressions of Dont’a Hightower’s performance in his first game back from the hamstring injury?
MP: I think Dont’a is obviously just doing a good job of learning the defense and trying to come back. He does everything we ask him to do and [we’re] obviously pleased with the effort level to go out and give us everything he has when he’s out there on the field and like I said, just be ready to do whatever we ask of him, which is a great quality that he has. It’s good to see him try to come back and get some plays out on the field and hopefully just keep working to get better.
Q: How much does the versatility of someone like Rob Ninkovich allow you to do other things with other players on the defense?
MP: That’s a good question. I think the [goal] of all of those guys, all of the defensive players on the field working together is what we try to get to if we can and then that helps everyone else in their positions. So, whatever it is that everyone on the field is asked to do at that particular time, those guys are trying to go out there and do it to the best of their abilities. We’re just trying to improve on it right now and trying to get better. Obviously everybody that’s going to be active for the game we expect to be ready to go. That’s just kind of how it plays out.
Q: You guys have allowed 39 passes of over 20 yards to this point. What is happening on those plays that you are giving up? Do you feel that you are now being targeted and teams are just going for it because you have allowed so many of those plays?
MP: Again, we’re just trying to improve on everything each week and obviously trying to eliminate those to the best of our abilities. [It’s] something that Coach [Belichick] mentioned earlier: we spend time on it like we do on every aspect of offenses that we tend to see each week. We understand it is a little bit of a copycat league, so we are prepared for those things to try to repeat from week to week and we’re trying to do a good job here of getting everything handled to the best of our ability.
Q: Every team in the league is trying to improve every week and every coaching staff is too, so that is kind of granted. When you are 16th in the AFC in pass defense and you are 29th overall and you are just as bad last year as you are this year, what in particular are you working on?
MP: I think we’re just focused on this year, I don’t think we’re concerned with last year right now. We’re trying to get the guys that we have out there defensively working together and improving and trying to, like I said, get better. That’s really our plan. When we take a look at it and whatever the particular play is or the particular play we’re seeing and those individual specifics, we’re just trying to manage those on each individual situation.
Q: All 32 teams are trying to do that. Why is it so hard for there to be a concrete improvement on a week-to-week basis? Why are you having such a difficult time getting your secondary to play better?
MP: Like I said, we’re going out there just trying to improve it every week and we take a look at it, evaluate it and try to make sure that there is some improvement in what we’re doing – try to make sure that we understand what’s happening in the back end and as a defense as a whole. So that’s just what we’re trying to do right now.
Q: Everybody is trying to do that. What is the barrier to your success? Is it coaching or communication? Are the players not sharp enough? Are they not talented enough? What is up?
MP: I think it really comes down to us just trying to get better every week and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: When you moved Devin McCourty to safety, is it because you think it is a position that he ultimately is more comfortable with in your defense?
MP: Well, I think for us it’s important to have someone that would be able to have a little bit of experience in all the different positions – like Devin – that we ask him to play and understand the defense as a whole. I think that’s important for us when we try to ask those guys to play multiple positions and certainly in this case it’s what we had to do in that particular situation. So, that’s kind of how it worked out.