Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 6, 2009.
Q: Starting with the secondary, it seems like you have a lot of options, going seven or eight deep this past game. Could you comment on having all those options and how you feel the secondary has come together?
DP: We play a lot of packages, so we need a lot of guys back there in different spots. [We are] just always trying to find the best place to put those guys. We did some things well in the last game, and we did some things not as well as we wanted to. Every game we go into, we have a little different coverage package or scheme, and some guys fit that scheme better than others. In some games, you might see a lot more guys play and some games you may see fewer guys play because they may just not fit what we're trying to do against that particular team. So I think we have a little experience there with Shawn [Springs], and Leigh [Bodden], and James [Sanders]. But I think some of those young guys are coming along pretty good, and giving us some depth, and giving us some ability to try and do some different things using them.
Q: At one point in the fourth quarter, you had [Jonathan] Wilhite and [Darius] Butler out there at corner. I asked Bill [Belichick], "Is that a pre-planned rotation? How do you decide who's out on the field when you have so many players?" He mentioned that some of it was pre-planned and part of it was an equipment issue during that game with one player. What was that equipment issue in the game and how is it managing that rotation?
DP: He's right. Sometimes we go into a game where we're saying, 'OK, second series or maybe so many plays into the game, we'll rotate this guy in to keep everybody fresh for our two-minute situation at the end of the half, or at the end of the game.' Or we feel competitively like the guy has done really well all week in practice, and deserves a chance to get out there, and be in the rotation, and playing. Again, it just really varies on the number of plays we play, how the guy's playing, how the other guy practiced all week. It could be a situation in the game where there is just an equipment issue, or maybe a guy has been on a couple of special teams, and they run back a kick, or we have a penalty and you have to do the kickoff twice. There are all kinds of things like that where hopefully you have enough depth that you can put a guy in and it's not going to tail off too much. Right now, obviously, if you put those two guys in there together, we have confidence in them.
Q: How strange is this week for you as you start preparing for an offense that probably looks pretty similar to the one that you see every day?
DP: You really don't think of it in that regards. Certainly, there are similarities, and I'm not unaware of the fact it's Josh [McDaniels]. But really, when you prepare as a coach, you get kind of in a routine every week of, 'OK, here's what I have to break down with the team. Here's what I have to work on. Here's what they do on first and second down. Here's what they do on third down. Here's what they do in short-yardage, red area and goal-line.' You get into a routine when you take it as a team and at some point in time when you may say, 'That's similar to what we do.' And in that case, there are a few of those this week. Really though, it's a matter of routine for most coaches, no matter who you're playing. You just kind of get into that routine and that's how you kind of build your week.
Q: This was the third straight game we see Brandon McGowan starting and James Sanders coming in on sub packages. Do you feel one guy is better coming off the bench in the sub package or is that an indication that Brandon has a slight edge over James at this point in the season?
DP: It's still very competitive. We still feel very good about all those guys back there. It kind of goes game by game, of what we think, and who they have on offensive personnel, and what their scheme is. Who fits that? And how are we going to utilize our players in the best fashion? That really can change from week to week. It's still very competitive, and it's just going to be a week-to-week thing.
Q: Can you talk about the confidence level you have in Mike Wright and the progress he's made?
DP: We have had confidence in him all along. I don't think it's necessarily just all of a sudden the last couple games. He's made plays for us before and in years past. Down in the Tennessee game, I remember him making some plays down there for us late in the year, I think it was in '06. I mean, he's in that rotation when we're playing more four-man line this year. But even when we go to thirty-four, we go back and forth, and we have a lot of confidence in him - as I do in all those guys up front. I feel like we can rotate some guys in there, play some different positions and not have a drop off.
Q: You say he's [Mike Wright] made plays in years past and he's maybe not in a starring role, but he's a guy you've counted on for quite a while now…
DP: There are a lot of guys sometimes that way. Maybe one guy will get picked up on a lot of the hype, but we know as coaches - behind the scenes - we'll look at film and it may look like another guy played a great game. But it may be the guy everyone didn't even notice that played a great game. It's just that a lot of other people got the credit for it. That's happened with Jarvis [Green]. That's happened with [Derrick] Burgess. That's happened with a lot of guys.
Q: How did Terdell [Sands] look jumping in on short notice?
DP: I though he did OK. We asked him to do a few things and he jumped in there. We got some plays and production out of him, and got some things we wanted to get. He went in there and did his role on the defense, like we asked him to do, and he did a good job
Q: How good was it for the guys to get an interception?
DP: Absolutely. We've been pleased with some of the production we've had back there. We've had more pass beak-ups here in the first four games than we had all last season. We've been around the ball quite a bit and we haven't given up many big plays. We've been happy with those things. You're right. You like to get those turnovers. You like to get some interceptions and show some productivity for your efforts. And that interception [by Leigh Bodden] was a great catch, just a great catch. [He was] very aware of the sideline. I think it got everybody in the secondary and the whole team excited.