BB:** How are we doing? Christmas shopping done? Started? Yeah, I'm with you. We're on the same schedule. Alright, well, Jets week. It's a big game for us: tough, tough matchup. These games, so many of them come down to the final play, the final possession. We really have to be ready for a good 60-minute football game. Every play is important, every situation is important. Hopefully we'll have a real good day today in terms of cleaning up all the situations and specific game plan type things that if they come up will make a big difference.
Q: If they get Muhammad Wilkerson back on the defensive end, Quinton Coples has been playing the last three games, how does that change the look of what they try to do defensively?
BB: I don't think it changes the look too much; it's just another good player. He's a strong, physical player, runs well. He's very athletic. Yeah, it just gives them another guy. It doesn't really change what they do, but he's a good player and they can have a little more size, a little more power. I mean, Coples has done a good job for them as well; [Jason] Babin, same thing. Those guys have played well. They have a lot – they have a good front.
Q: The first time you played the Jets they were 9-of-16 or something on third down.
BB: Yeah, killed us.
Q:** When teams are able to be that efficient on third down, how much pressure does that put on your defense?
BB: Third down was a big problem for us in that game on both sides of the ball. It's been a problem for us with them. We don't have the ball very long on offense and we're out there on the field too long on defense. It's us converting them and it's us, well, it's converting them on both sides. It's us converting them offensively to stay on the field and it's us converting them defensively to get off the field and get the ball back for our offense and with good field position. We haven't made them punt very much. We just have too many, they have too many extended drives and we've had too many short ones.
Q: With Dominique Easley going on Injured Reserve, how do you think his rookie season went? How did he progress?
BB: I think he made a lot of progress, but that chapter is closed for this year. He'll have a lot of opportunity to make gains in the offseason, like all first-year players will.
Q: Was that a tough decision to make? Obviously he missed the game and a few practices before you decided to put him on IR. Was there a lot of back and forth about maybe keeping him on to maybe help you down the road?
BB: I mean, the decision we made was based on what we felt was best, so I think that pretty much answers the question. It's really more a medical decision. So, [we] followed that advice, that protocol. In the end, I think what we did was the best thing, so hopefully it will turn out that way.
Q: How do you think Darrelle Revis will be perceived in New York?
BB: I don't know. I'm really focused on the Jets, trying to play [and] compete against the Jets. [I] can't do anything about the fans.
Q: What kind of strides has Duron Harmon made from year one to year two?
BB: Good, good. Duron worked really hard in the offseason. There was hardly a day that he wasn't in here. I'm talking about January, February; way before any of the formal stuff started. Just working out on his own, trying to improve his – get into the lifting program, just continue to train. [He] certainly gained a lot of experience from last year and he's been able to use that to catapult the start of this season. I think he understands, not that he didn't before, just better, more experience, better understanding. He's a really hardworking kid, smart, does a good job with the understanding, communication in the secondary which is a big part of his position playing safety, to work with the rest of the secondary and to a certain extent the linebackers. That's obviously way ahead of where it was last year due to his experience and probably confidence. He's done a good job.
Q: When you talk about in January and February is he one of five guys or more like 30 guys?
BB: Yeah, probably closer to five. He's one of the most consistent guys on our team. [Jerod] Mayo obviously is a guy that would be in that category that they're just here. They're working on something: they're working on lifting or flexibility or getting some cardio in or in the training room. He worked really hard. Like I said, I don't think the season really ever ended for him.
Q: What about Steve Maneri makes him a good fit?
BB: I thought he did a good job for us [at] the end of training camp. We had a roster spot when Easley went to IR. [We] just wanted to bring him in. Maybe he can help us here as we go forward. I don't know, we'll see. He's been out of football for three months, whatever it is. So, that's a little bit of – it's not the greatest situation. He's not practice squad eligible, otherwise he would have been there. We'll just have to see how it goes. But I thought he did a good job for us in the time that he was here in training camp; [we'd] like to keep working with him.
Q: You've talked about playing good football in December. How do you think you're playing now? Are you satisfied with where your team is?
BB: I think there are always areas that we can improve in. We all know that whatever last week was doesn't matter in terms of this week. This week is all about this week: our preparation, matching up against the Jets and what they do and their schemes and their players. This week is just, it's all about this week. But, yeah, no question as you get to fewer games each game becomes more important. But where we were last week or some other week, [I] don't think it really matters.
Q: The other day [San Antonio Spurs head coach] Gregg Popovich called the Patriots a fantastic organization. Can you talk about the respect you have for Gregg and the way that team plays with very similar discipline and unselfishness that you guys do?
BB: Tremendous respect for Gregg. I think consistency that they've had there, the level they've played at – I love the way he coaches that team. I love to watch that team. He's really good. He's really good. It's not like I watch 100 basketball games a year or anything like that, but I think [the way] he handles himself and his team I admire it, I really do.
Q: Do you see similarities?
BB: It's flattering that he would say that. It means a lot coming from somebody of his, I'd say, stature and given the amount of respect that I have for him; I would say that our organization has for that organization because I think it extends well beyond me. That's a very flattering comment.
Q: Have you two had any general discussions?
BB: We've had, I'd say without going into it, we've had a lot of indirect conversation, let's put it that way.
Q: His job just became a lot tougher with Rajon Rondo going to the Mavericks.
BB: Again, right now I'm really worried about the Jets. I can't worry about everybody else's team and what their challenges are and all that. I'm sure every team has a lot of challenges. We have a big one and that's really my job to deal with that one.
Q: Alan Branch has fortified your run defense and middle of the defensive line. What has he meant to the line?
BB: Yeah, Alan has done a good job. He's had some versatility. He's got length, but he's also got size. He's very athletic, [he] runs five flat or whatever. He has good quickness and can move. So, he has the versatility to play some different spots and do some different things along the defensive front. I wouldn't call him a one-dimensional type of player. He's a tough matchup on a lot of guys because of his length and because of his power. He's learned quickly. I think technique-wise there are some things that we do that are probably a little different than some of the things that he's done. But he learns quickly. He's smart; he has a lot of experience. I'm glad we have him. I think he's worked hard to try to do the things we've asked him to do.
Q: Have you learned anything about his technique and his skill set that you didn't know when he came in?
BB: Yeah, I'd say all those, sure. Yeah, you see a guy on film, but then when you start working with him and, 'Here's how we want you to do it. Here's what you do against this type of block, that type of block. Here's this technique, that technique.' Some things come pretty quickly because maybe that's what they're used to doing or that's kind of an easy progression from them. Then there are other things with et into the nuts and bolts of that it's hard to get that specific, especially when you've never coached the some players that, 'I haven't done that before,' or, 'I'm having a little trouble with that.' Until you actually get into the nuts and bolts of that, it's hard to get that specific, especially when you've never coached a player before. The same thing can be true of learning too. Eighty percent of the learning can be pretty quick and I don't want to say easy, but relatively easy, and then there might be 20 percent that, 'This is a little bit different,' or 'It's something I haven't done before.' Or trying to break a habit – 'This is the way I've always done it and now you're asking me to do it a little bit differently.' Things like that. I think there's always a little bit of that. I'm not saying that in a bad way. It's just a transition and adjustment and you really develop your consistency and fundamentals and techniques in training camp. That's what those training camp practices are for – go out there and grind through the individual drills, grind through the 9-on-7s, the one-on-one pass rushes, the sleds, the bags. Do it repetitively day after day four or five days a week for three, four, five weeks and that's how you build that. When you come in in the middle of the season and you don't have all that then you don't have some of the repetition, reaction, the reaction time from those multiple repetitions and multiple looks on smaller scale, but it's a foundation that you need to build. You just don't have that, so you're kind of trying to build without a great foundation. But it is what it is. Every team in the league has guys on their team that weren't with them in training camp. You just have to try to do the best you can.
Q: How important is it to have him after he wasn't here for the first Jets game?
BB: Right. Well, I'd say the combination of getting Alan and [Sealver] Siliga back. It was two weeks ago, right? Well, Branch was longer than that, Siliga and even Chandler [Jones] last week. Those players have definitely given our line more depth and more versatility really. Branch is a big guy, Siliga is a big guy, Chandler is more of an edge guy, but when you put them all together, it looks a little different than it did a few weeks ago. The guys that are coming back like Siliga and Branch [has] now been here going on two months, but they have improved. Just like Chandler, his timing and some of the things that he does this week will probably be fundamentally a little better than they were last week.
Q: To that point, outside of the medical clearance, how do you know when a player is mentally prepared to be fully involved and come back?
BB: I think you usually get a pretty good indication of it in practice, but there's no substitute for game evaluation. I think that's where you really can highlight it. A guy can look good in practice, you could feel like he's ready to go and then you watch him perform in the game and maybe it's not quite what you thought it would be, or maybe it is. I think that's when you really know. Some of that is just confidence too. You go out there and a guy hasn't played for a while and he kind of goes out there and tests it a little bit and then as he feels more confident then he becomes more aggressive. I'd say in Chandler's case, I think he didn't have much of a tentative aspect to his game. I thought that he really went out and right off the bat, as soon as he got on the field, his playing style was similar to what it was before. I'm not saying that's the case for him, but until you actually see it, the player himself might be a little 'need to see it,' and the coach might need to see it too.
Q: A few months ago, Darrelle Revis compared what Jerod Mayo does for this defense to what David Harris does for the Jets defense. He might be kind of an under the radar guy to us, but it seems like he's had some good production.
BB: Yeah, I have a lot of respect for David Harris. That guy is, first of all, he never comes of the field – not [just] this year, but any year. The guy is like a 98, 99 percent playtime player for them every year, year after year. It's obviously as defense that has a lot of communication and adjustments and he's certainly at the center of that, both as the signal caller and then at the line of scrimmage you can see him adjusting the front or making some type of communication calls to his teammates. He's a very instinctive player, which unfortunately we've seen that firsthand. He does a good job for them. he's been very consistent, durable, dependable, productive over a long period of time. How long has this guy been there? Like eight, nine years – yeah, it seems like he's been there a long time. He's done a real good job for them. He came in with Revis, right? Weren't they the same class? Was Revis a first and he was a second [round pick]? I don't know if it was the same year or not, but it seems like it was pretty close. But anyway, yeah, he's been a good football player for them for a long time. He's out there in every situation: third-and-inches or third-and-40. You're going to find him out there doing something. He's a big, explosive guy. [He] can rush, can cover, good run player and instinctive. He knows where the ball is so that accounts for a lot of his production.
Q: To answer your question, they were the same year.
BB: Revis was a first and Harris was a second, right? That's a pretty good draft.