[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="504366"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]BILL BELICHICK, HEAD COACH
Q: What is it about the Ravens defense that makes them so efficient in creating turnovers in the passing game?
BB: I think they're very opportunistic. They take advantage of opponent's mistakes. They've been able to hit the quarterback and they've got good instinctive players in the secondary. [Lardarius] Webb and [Eric] Weddle do a great job of finding the ball and getting around the ball. Their corners are instinctive. Their linebackers have good range - [C.J.] Mosley, [Albert] McClellan - but if you don't take care of the ball they get it off of you. They do a good job of raking the ball out and taking advantage of poor ball security situations by the quarterback, or running backs, or receivers, whoever's carrying it; tight ends.
Q: Does this look like the similar style of Dean Pees' defensive scheme that you've seen before?
BB: Well, Dean [Pees]' background is primarily in the secondary so they're well-schooled back there, good fundamentals. They give you a number of different coverage looks - single-high, split-safety, man-pressure, zone-pressure - so they do a good job of mixing it up, making it hard for you to really get a real consistent read on what they're going to do. They're going to play a number of different things and you're going to have to block them, figure it out, and get the ball to the open guy. It won't necessarily be an easy read for the quarterback or for the receivers in terms of route adjustments and things like that.
Q: What was your thought process on the two fourth-and-one opportunities that your offense faced on Sunday? Is there ever a hesitation to run the same type of play out of fear that they've already seen it or is it more a case of making them stop it?
BB: Right. Well, that's a great question. That's always something to consider as whether to run a play again after they've already seen it kind of with the mentality of 'Make them stop it. Let's see if they've got it figured out,' versus running it again and feeling like not running it again and saying 'Well, they're probably going to make the adjustment to that. Let's move on to something else.' It's a great question. It's always something that you have to take into consideration with your play-calling and the same thing defensively. You run a blitz or you run a punt return or a kickoff return and you hit it. Do you come back with it again or do you, like I said, figure that they're going to stop it and move on to something else? Yeah, and if you do it right then you feel good about it, and if you do it wrong you always feel like you should've done the other thing. That's a good question. You have to sometimes just kind of have a feel for the situation or maybe anticipate if you've seen those types of situations from the team before, figure out what they're going to do with it. Are they going to really adjust if you hurt them with something or are they going to just say 'Well, we didn't play it well. We're going to play it better and keep playing the same thing that we've been playing. We're just going to do a better job of it.' Yeah, that's kind of the pendulum swing on that one. It's an interesting point.
Q: What have you seen from this Baltimore Ravens run defense this season?
BB: Yeah, they have a lot of good players. They're big up front. They do a good job of defeating blocks and getting penetration. It's a hard group to block. They do a good job of setting the edge with [Terrell] Suggs, [Albert] McClellan, Za'Darius Smith and those guys. They're tough to handle. Their linebackers are fast. They run well - [Zachary] Orr, McClellan and [C.J.] Mosley - so it's hard to outrun those guys. They're kind of big and stout inside with the defensive line and fast with the linebackers and they play good technique. They're well-coached. They mix in some perimeter plays. The secondary blitzers, the secondary run-force players that you have to account for do a good job of mixing it up. They do a good job. They're well-coached, good fundamentals on the defensive line. They use their hands well, hard to block.
Q: Is there anything that stood out between the first half and second half in regards to your own teams running game?
BB: Well, we hit the big run in the first half. That was a big part of it - the short-yardage run for 40-something yards, whatever it was. Yeah, we didn't have as much consistency in the running game as what we would like to have. We had our moments, had some good positive plays, five, six-yard gains. We had a couple of holding penalties which hurt us, and then we had some long-yardage situations with holding penalties or in a couple of situations where we lost yardage in the running game and ended up in second-and-12 or second-and-13 or whatever it was. So those aren't great situations to be in. But I mean overall, again, we need more consistency. I wouldn't say it was any one thing, any one defense, or any one play, or any one player. It's something here or something there that we didn't quite do a good enough job on and that hurt the play.
Q: What are your big-picture thoughts on the overall season LeGarrette Blount has been having?
BB: Good. He has run well for us. He's made a lot of tough yards. He's also made some big plays for us, has ripped off some big, explosive plays. He's been out there every week. Yeah, he's done a good job. He's had a solid year for us, no doubt about it.
Q: In terms of his running style and physical makeup, who are some other running backs you've been around before that remind you of him?
BB: That's a good question. I don't know if there's a lot of guys really that I would compare him to right off the bat. You see him making some tough runs and running guys over and then you see him hurdling guys like in the Miami game and you see an open-field run like he had last week against the Rams where he kind of, you know, spun the safety around and ran by him. So he's got a good combination of moves and style. It's not all one thing. He's effective. He's got an effective stiff-arm. He can be elusive, he can be powerful. And he's got good run vision. It's hard to find another guy like him.
Q: Would Corey Dillon or Ottis Anderson be a similar type of back to LeGarrette Blount due to their size?
BB: Right. I mean, there are some similarities there. I'd say there are some differences, too. But yeah, Ottis [Anderson] was big like that. Corey [Dillon] was big like that. They both had some elusiveness. They weren't just big, power run-straight-ahead backs. Corey certainly had as much skill and athleticism for his size as I've been around at that position. Yeah, sure. I think there's some similarities there Mike [Reiss].
Q: What have you seen from your young practice squad receivers this season? How have guys like Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White been coming along?
BB: I think they've made good progress. As you mentioned, DeAndrew [White] came with us after training camp. Devin [Lucien]'s been here the whole time, but DeAndrew has another year of experience in the league. They both have been consistent. They've been out there every day. They work hard. They've made plays for us in practice on the scout team against our defense, so overall our guys on the practice squad do a good job. They certainly help us get ready for the games by simulating our opponent's schemes and playing styles and at the same time they've improved with their individual skills and techniques. Both of those guys - they've done a good job for us.
[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="504371"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]MATT PATRICIA, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Q: What do you see on film that makes Steve Smith such a unique receiver?
MP: Great question and what a tremendous competitor. This guy is tough. He plays extremely quick. You wouldn't really think that he has been in the league as long as he has but he out-competes his opponents every play. He's just got a drive about him that is definitely, I would say a little bit of an old school mentality that just he's not going to be out-worked, he's not going to be out-hustled, he's not going to be out-competed by anybody else on the field. He's a tough guy. He plays with great strength and they do a good job of utilizing him. They're going to move him around, they're going to put him in different positions and get him the ball where he can either make some people miss or try to run over some people, just kind of use his natural ability to create some space and get yardage. But this is a guy that will compete in the run game. He's going to go in there and he's going to block, he's going to get after the defensive backs and he's going to try to really impose his will and be a physical presence in the run game also - which you don't see that out of all the receivers week in and week out. This is a guy that just comes to play every week.
Q: Have you seen any changes in Steve Smith's game over the years in terms of his route running and how he gets open?
MP: That's a good question. I think the thing is there are different offenses that he's played in so it has been some different types of schemes and systems. I'll say with Baltimore though, for what they're asking him to do, I don't really see a - people want to say a decline, or anything like that - I don't see it. I mean this is a guy that is really competitive and goes out and just out-works. In a lot of cases the hustle, the things like that that show up, really out-produce anything else that maybe people are looking for. I think the routes and the system, the West Coast system, with Marty Mornhinweg and what they do from the passing game fits those quicker-type shorter throws where the ball is going to be on him fast and he's going to be able to get the ball in his hands and be able to get yardage after the catch, if that makes any sense.
Q: Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator the last time you played the Baltimore Ravens. Is preparing for Marty Mornhinweg like preparing for a completely different scheme?
MP: Yup, and I mean if you go back to that season, the 2014 season with Gary Kubiak, you know we played Marty Mornhinweg too with the Jets. So there are two games there from that year where there's going to be things that we have to take a look at and take an understanding of what the team is and what they do. Kubiak has a lot of principles that carry over from the West Coast offense from a passing game standpoint and really in the run game it's very similar to what we've seen before also. So there is a lot to tie together as far as the overall package and the overall philosophy of what they're trying to do. Certainly Coach Mornhinweg has a great command of this offense and this system. I mean he's been in it for a really long time going back to Coach [Mike] Holmgren, [Steve] Mariucci, and Andy Reid so his knowledge and background of the philosophy and the concepts that they want and how they're trying to distribute the ball are excellent. There is quite a bit of carry over and there are some differences too, stuff that is specific to Coach Kubiak when he was there but this is Marty Mornhinweg all the way. The thing is that even just from the transition there are a lot of principles that are carried over from before also. So everything is, just for them, really kind of falling into place.
Q: What have been your impressions while working with Kyle Van Noy in the short time that you've had him and how he is progressing?
MP: Yeah, I mean all of the guys that are in linebacker roles or even safety roles or sometimes defensive end roles are prepared to communicate or do anything on the field that depending on packages or the situation or whatever the case may be. So that's pretty normal of us to make that stand or move. I'd say just in general with him as far as - I think it's a guy, Kyle [Van Noy] has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we're doing and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language. It's like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it's just learning the vernacular and the verbiage and making sure that you can correlate it to either what you've done before or if there is any sort of relation that you can draw between things that you've run in the past. So that's a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there's a lot of - you know, there's calls and adjustments, things like that that we've got to do on the field. That's a big step and we're trying to just push forward and get better with that and I think just getting to know him a little bit better. He's extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game. He's very cerebral; he'll ask a lot of questions, he really wants to understand what we're doing and why, which is great. We're trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that. So that's really good. Then on top of that he's trying to obviously learn our techniques and the way that we want to play from a fundamental standpoint too, which varies from system to system, scheme to scheme, coach to coach, so just trying to get all that technique work down also. You know, just continually trying to work in that forward kind of progress and hopefully just try to keep improving.
Q: What are your thoughts on how Logan Ryan and Patrick Chung performed on Sunday with regards to rushing the passer? Why have we seen so little blitzing from defensive backs this year or why did we see more of it on Sunday?
MP: I think just in general with those guys I think they did a good job of executing the game plan. I think both Pat [Patrick Chung] and Logan [Ryan] being in some of the positions where they play where they're closer to the line of scrimmage at times, you have that opportunity to be able to maybe add an extra guy or not into a call. Those types of calls are actually pretty common for us and I think obviously for just the basic sort of looking at the game, obviously it's easier or more recognizable when it's a passing situation. Unfortunately, I don't always know when they're going to pass so sometimes we call those against the run which isn't bad either. So sometimes you may not necessarily see that those have been called but it might be a run play or a different situational type of play where those have actually been called and have been good also. I think in general for us week in week out, everything is different. We're just trying to do the best we can to play the particular offense we're playing that week and whatever we think is going to be most helpful for us in that situation. There's certainly a big part of communication that's involved with all of that. From my standpoint it's going to be a little bit more complex than just being able to get a guy to come off and we've got to make sure that other areas of the defense are covered or communicated or handled and just kind of as you progress through the season when some of those opportunities come up where you feel you have a pretty good handle on either what the offense is doing or your defensive personnel or the situation, it could be dictated by a whole variety of things that come up during the game - quarter, down-and-distance, whatever the case may be - where you can take a good shot at some of those.
Q: Does this Ravens team appear to be as physical as past Ravens' teams and are you anticipating another knock-down-drag-out bout?
MP: Yeah, great question. I mean, I think Baltimore's philosophy from top down is to be physical and aggressive and to have that sort of play style that's going to come in and play the game probably how it should be played for the most part - with the pads. I think they do an excellent job of that as an emphasis as a team. I think it spans through the offense, the defense and the special teams. Certainly from their offensive point of view, [on] their offensive line they have a lot of experienced guys that play very physical, very aggressive. [Marshall] Yanda at the guard is an extremely good player. This guy is physical, aggressive, he's athletic, he's all of the above, and [Jeremy] Zuttah who is in there and [Vladimir] Ducasse. I mean they're just big, strong, physical guys up front. I mentioned Steve Smith earlier just being a physical-type player. Both these running backs too, [Terrance] West and [Kenneth] Dixon, who you'll both see in the game, [have a] very aggressive downhill running style; little different from each other. West has some quickness and some change of direction and Dixon is extremely difficult to tackle. This guy is a downhill, hardnose runner and West - both of them do a good job of continually trying to get positive yardage. So they'll use the run game, they'll pound, they'll throw the short passing game and they'll block for each other, and they've really done a great job of playing physical in all aspects of the game. [That's definitely] top on the list for us.
Q: Is it a matter of matching their physicality or countering their physicality?
MP: I don't know exactly the right English word for it but you just want to make sure - we want to play physical, a physical brand of football. That's what we - we try to do that every week. We're trying to always be physical and aggressive. That's just kind of the game. I think [that's] really what's most fun about the game.
Q: When the team acquires new defensive players via trade, how do you evaluate their skill set and how do you implement that skill set into your system to help them excel in ways they maybe weren't exceling with previous teams?
MP: It's a good question and probably a little bit longer of a kind of process, you know. I think once those guys come in and matriculate into the system, for us the first thing is obviously just going to kind of begin to understand how they learn, how they process this and how quickly we can get those guys up to speed to what we're doing. Certainly in different points of the year when we have people that come into the program, there's going to be different time allotments as far as how much we can get done with them in that particular course. So if a guy comes in midweek, and sometimes maybe it's a week or so before we can even kind of see really what they're doing. Obviously, first you're looking at their ability to learn and grasp the concepts of what you have in the classroom. In some cases there are guys that come here with a lot of familiarity with our system because maybe it's similar to what they've done before and in other cases it's completely different. When that happens it's just - again it's a transfer of verbiage into knowledge that they already know, and then obviously you're trying to get a real quick, good evaluation of them on the field and certainly with us, the practice. The way we practice, it's a good opportunity for us to maybe get a live look at the action. You may see something on film that you think looks good or looks a certain way and then see it in practice and it may look either like what you saw or even better or whatever the case may be. Then once you start to process all of that you try to figure out, 'Alright, what can they do?' and 'How can they help us?' and 'What kind of packages are we running?' In some weeks it might not kind of add up because we might be in a different direction based on the team we're playing and some weeks it might just kind of fall in line to like, 'Hey, this is a good opportunity' or 'Hey, there is a chance for us to really be able to get a good, live look at this.' Then of course just the whole game day just roster just in general is going to tie into that too as far as guys that are up or down or not based on the whole team philosophy of how we've got to win the game that week. So it's kind of a little bit more of a process really, if you kind of understand what I'm saying there, to get that kind of those pieces put into place. But it's certainly going to start with their ability to understand what we're doing for us to be able to take a look at on the field in practice, things that they're doing and that they do well that we think that can tie into maybe what we're doing currently or game plans or future game plans. Then at that point it's going to be up to them to try to go out and show us that they can do that on a consistent basis, and at the same time like I had mentioned before with guys like Kyle [Van Noy], you're trying to also learn technique and fundamental basics of the way that we play which might a lot cases be different than other teams. So it's a lot that kind of gets poured into a short amount of time.
[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="504376"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]JOSH MCDANIELS, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Q: What does James Develin's versatility mean to the offense?
JM: Yeah, James [Develin] is one of our hardest workers. There is no question about it, and we've got a lot of guys that work hard, but he puts in a lot of time and effort. He's incredibly unselfish and he's tried to make himself a well-rounded player. He learns more than his responsibility. He's available and ready to back up in some other spots. He's aware of the assignments that the tight ends have to execute. He also is in some of our sub-back protection meetings if we needed him to do those types of things. Obviously, he plays a role every week as a fullback and plays a multitude of spots for us in that regard, and then does his thing in the kicking game, too. Brian Daboll has done an incredible job of just increasing his versatility, being able to maximize all the things that James can do and bring to our offense. Again, he doesn't show up a ton in terms of statistics, but he produces in a lot of different ways. He brings a physical element to our offense. He's dependable, he's consistent, you can trust him, you know he's going to know what to do, and he competes on every single play. He comes to work ready to get better every day and sets a great example for our young guys. He's a tremendous teammate, so I can't say enough good things about James.
Q: Danny Amendola has been highly-targeted on third down, what has he meant to that part of your offense?
JM: Yeah, Danny [Amendola] has always made the most of his opportunities on whatever down or wherever the ball was on the field. He's an incredibly dependable guy, knows what to do, creates separation or finds the soft spots in zones and has incredibly dependable hands, comes up big with a lot of big catches in critical situations and has helped us win a lot of games. He's a guy that does whatever you ask him to do and has really been a big part of what we've done on third down and really on every down since he's been here.
Q: What are your thoughts on LeGarrette Blount's overall body of work this season as he is one touchdown away from tying the Patriots single-season record for rushing touchdowns?
JM: Yeah, he came back from last year's injury situation and tried to put himself in good position to start the year healthy and on the right foot, and I think he did that. He's always been somebody who's been an unselfish guy. We kind of play a lot of different ways around here. Sometimes he gets the ball a ton and sometimes he doesn't get it much, and he's never complained or said one thing about that. He just embraces whatever his role is in the game and tries to do it the best he can. He's a big guy, runs fast, is hard to tackle, takes care of the football; we trust him with that. He's really come up big and produced in a lot of critical situations for us over the years. I'm happy for his success and look forward to continuing to allow him to impact our offense positively as we finish out the last four games.
Q: In your time around the league, can you think of anyone that has some similarities to LeGarrette Blount in terms of a physical makeup and skill set?
JM: The only guys that I would say in terms of overall size would be Steven Jackson or Corey Dillon. I was a young pup when Antowain [Smith] was here back in 2001 those first two years I was here, and then I had an opportunity to be around Corey [Dillon] when Corey was here. Corey was an incredibly big man; ran hard, incredible size and power. Steven was a big guy, had good feet, great speed, and LG [LeGarrette Blount] is really a different animal than most backs. He's got a really rare blend of size, and speed and elusiveness and vision. He's a good payer in a lot of regards and I'm telling you, he makes the most of his opportunities. He does a great job of creating yards after contact, and like I said, takes care of the football which is really important for us on offense, which is to make sure we don't give the other team the ball, and he's really done a good job of protecting it for us.
Q: How much time do you spend talking with Tom Brady and the personnel about what Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees likes to do as he spent four seasons in the same role here in New England?
JM: Well we spend a lot of time, we're going to spend a lot of time on Baltimore in every way, shape or form that we can. We're certainly; I mean this is as well-coached of a defense that we'll play. They're a physical group that doesn't really give up any easy plays; no big plays, stops the run, makes you one-dimensional, forces you into a lot of third-and-long situations, they're the best third down team in the league. They create a lot of turnovers; they're in the top five in that. They stop the run; second in points, 12th in sacks. They challenge you on every play and they don't give up any easy yards. That's the sign of a team that's well-coached, disciplined, knows their scheme really well. They have a tremendous amount of good players on all three levels of the defense. We're going to study what they've done this year. We'll study some of the things we've done against them in the past because those games, there's some relevance there, although there are a lot of things that are different, you always like to go back and just take a look at how things were and how they might have played against you and some things that might have worked against you. There is a lot of work to be done this week. They have some new faces on the defensive side, some guys in some different spots than where they were the last time we were preparing for them, and this will be a very significant challenge for us this week. This is as good of a defense as we've played.
Q: When you know a defensive coordinator as well as you know Dean Pees, how might that factor into game planning?
JM: I don't try to guess, that's for sure. Dean [Pees] is going to change things up. Dean is going to do the things that have made him successful as a coach and Baltimore successful as a team. I think my concern is not going to be trying to over-analyze how Dean may or may not think about this week, but to try to prepare the best we can with our staff and our players to get ready to play one of the best defenses in the league without question. They're aware of the fact that he was here. He had a great run here and he's doing an incredible job there. Their whole staff does a really great job. Coach [John] Harbaugh, they have a tremendous culture in the way that they play. They're going to do what they do and try to do it better than what we do. Hopefully we'll do a great job of preparing for them and do a great job on Monday night.
Q: Could you give a quick analysis of your three primary running backs and how they complement each other as all three are diverse?
JM: Yeah, we've got a really good group of running backs that are diverse. We've really got five guys plus James Develin that all do different things. D.J. [Foster] has played for us this year and Brandon Bolden has certainly played for us in the past and earlier in the season, and then James [White], Dion [Lewis] and LG [LeGarrette Blount], they can all do things with the ball. They all do good things without the ball. We count on them to do good things in pass protection, pick up blitzes and they do a lot of different things to help us win in every area that we ask them. It's not really a thing where we go in and make our mind up as to how each game is going to go. We try to allow our players to go in and try to do the things that they do well, and those three guys definitely have things that they have been successful doing, and we'll try to continue to put them in as many positions [to succeed] as we can. They work hard, they do well; they've got a really unselfish attitude about themselves. They're really happy for the success of the other backs or the other skill players and that's really a great team for our team to have and a great thing for our team to see is three guys that play the same position. Usually there's only one of them on the field at the same time, but they're just happy when we have success offensively as a group. They're not concerned about individual accolades or anything like that. I'm happy to have them all and look forward to try to use them and prepare this week for Baltimore.
Q: What have you seen from Shaq Mason in becoming a better-rounded player and taking over the job over the last two seasons?
JM: Shaq [Mason] has really come in and worked hard to try to improve and get better. He's played a lot of football since he's been here, so in two years he's played in a lot of games, a lot of important games against a lot of good players. I think Shaq comes to work every day trying to get better. He listens. He may make a mistake but he rarely repeats it. He's got a very good blend of strength and athleticism and allows himself to do a lot of good things in both the running game and the passing game in protection. His communication has improved; his ability to sort through different things with the center and the communication that happens between all the five linemen, it just gets better each week. I'm really excited for his progress and look forward to him continuing to improve because that's the way it works - to try to get better each week.