Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 15, 2009.
Q:When Jerod Mayo went down last night, how did you guys specifically adjust and how did your guys handle it?
DP:Well, kind of the way we always handle it. We always have a contingency plan. There are always players that back up other players at different positions. It may not be your No. 1 position, but everybody kind of learns a couple different spots. We've always had kind of a contingency plan - a 'What if?' plan. If somebody goes down, you put the backup in, or either move somebody over, or move somebody else up and kind of go with it. We certainly could've done better things on the field. It's always hard when they haven't practiced it during the week. We may not practice a whole lot of plays that way. But some plays, when guys go in, they certainly have an idea as of what to do. The guys from the sidelines handle it real well. We certainly could've handled some things better, but it is hard when a guy hasn't practiced that position all week. But for the most part they understand what to do; it's just a matter of recognition. But, hey, that's part of football.
Q:Adalius Thomas has played some middle linebacker in the past and some in the preseason. Is there something you have considered or will consider?
DP:We consider a lot of things. I would never say any one thing; we consider everything. Like I said, we have had guys that are defensive ends play linebacker, and linebackers play D-End. Guys play outside and inside, both. We always look at whatever personnel is the best for what we need to try to do to win the game against that team and try to get the best players on the field in the best possible positions we can get them in. I'm not necessarily trying to avoid your question, it's just that we look at all the alternatives. Nothing is out of the realm of what we would try to do. Then again, it's whatever's best for the defense that week.
Q:Question surrounding missing players on the defense: How would you assess the group's performance overall?
DP:We made some good plays and we made some not so good plays. Uh, we have to do some things better. There's certainly some plays out there last night that - no matter what the call is, no matter who's in the game - we certainly could play them better. Then again, there are some guys playing in some positions that they hadn't played in that I thought - at certain times - they did play well. It's hard to always have to assess the game. It's never as bad as you think when you come in and watch the film the next day, and sometimes at night, you're thinking it's terrible and then you look and there are some good things. Then, there are some games you thought you played well, you think we really played well. Then you come in and watch the film and you think you didn't play as well as you thought. You just have to weigh some things. Overall, we won the game. That was the bottom line. We did what we needed to do at the end of the game and make some plays. That was the difference in the game. Overall, we've got to move forward and do better than we did last night.
Q:What made their screen pass so effective against you last night?
DP:Well, they did a good job of ... It was a good play against us. I gave them credit for calling a few of them. You're right, we were doing some things to take away their wide outs, but at the same time it was a total defensive thing. I would say it's a combination. We just could've played those plays better. We have to recognize them better and plan better, and I really think, too, in some situations, I put a little bit on me. I could've made some calls in a situation or two. I could have helped our defense a little more than I did.
Q:Obviously, it's early, but what do you think of Mark Sanchez and how do you think he's looked so far?
DP:Obviously, I think they're very productive on offense, especially at quarterback, the guy who's pulling the trigger. They have a lot of weapons: [Thomas] Jones, [Leon] Washington, [Dustin] Keller, [Jerricho] Cotchery. I mean, there are an awful lot of weapons out there they've got. They're a good offensive line. Those guys are all back and they've played well together. So it's a lot of things. I think they're doing a good job with [Sanchez] asking him to do what he can do. He's seems to be very poised for his first start. So I thought they certainly put a lot of production out, that's for sure.
Q:It is Sanchez's second start. Are there some things you can do with a young quarterback, as opposed to facing a veteran quarterback?
DP:Well, I think you have to look at the whole offense. I don't think you want to put all your eggs in one basket and say, 'We're going to take care of this guy and do this and this and leave some other guys alone.' It's just the total scheme of what we need to do to their offense to be able to slow them down or stop them, not necessarily to [Mark] Sanchez; it's a lot of guys.