New England Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees addresses the media during his interview at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 3, 2008.
Q: How much of a challenge does the 49ers offense present?
DP: It's always a big challenge. They like to get the ball down field in the passing game. [Frank] Gore is one heck of a back, I think you hear a lot about a lot of players around the league but I'm telling you this guy is a really talented back. [Mike] Martz has always had a great attack on offense. He likes to get the ball down field, spread you out [and] does a lot of different things so it's always a challenge for a defense.
Q: They seem to be a team that doesn't panic when they get into third and long. They seem to have a lot of ability to make those long third downs, what do you do to try and counter that?
DP: That's the thing about [Mike] Martz's offense. He's always been a guy that whether it's third down and four or third and 14 they've got a lot of calls. A lot of times offenses say they don't have a lot of calls for third and 14 but it seems like he does and he does a good job of converting them. The first thing we have to do on defense is we have to get them in those situations, that is the number one thing. Then the second thing is we have to do a good job of changing things up, like most people want to do, and get off the field on third down. Which we have not done a good enough job on this year and that's our challenge, we have to get off the field on third down.
Q: Option football is difficult to prepare for. Was that something that, going into that Miami game, if you don't have stuff in to defend it then it's really difficult to turn around in game and adjust to it?
DP: I think that's true of any offense. Anytime somebody gives you a different wrinkle you have to adjust to it. That's our job. They did a good job, I give Miami a lot of credit for having a little bit of a scheme to come in and give us a different look. It's my job though as a coordinator to do a better job of getting the adjustments to our guys quicker. We finally got it adjusted but I needed to do a better job of getting it quicker. I take responsibility for that and then the players, when we did get it adjusted, need to do a better job of tackling it. We gave up a couple of plays that we had it stopped we just didn't tackle. That was not the case early on. They caught us. I give them credit. I take responsibility [and] we have to get it handled quicker. I have to do a better job. The players have to do a better job.
Q: Early on it was the scheme that was getting you then later it was just some sloppy play?
DP: The first couple times yes, then we got it fixed and then we have to do a better job of tackling it. Because on the long run we had him [Ronnie Brown] stopped we just missed some tackles on the last 63-yarder. It's a combination of both but it's my job as a coordinator to get it stopped.
Q: Not that it was enjoyable [loss to Miami] but was it a good learning experience for you as a coach?
DP: Yeah, it's like anything, you have good days and bad days. I wouldn't say that was one of my better days. I wouldn't say that was one of our better days on defense period. You try to cover all bases, just like you do on offense. You're trying to cover all blitzes and there's always going to be something that comes up. Again it's how you adapt to that and how you adjust to that. Moving forward hopefully we'll do a better job against it.
Q: How would you assess the teams' pass rushing through these three games?
DP: Kind of like the way we've played defense, inconsistent. I think that's just been typical of what we've done in the first three games. We've played well at times. We've played poor at times. We just have to learn to be more consistent. Whether it be pass rush, whether it be tackling, whether it is playing deep balls, third down, all those things we've been good at times [and] we've been not so good at times. We just have to learn to be more consistent, which is what we have been in the past [and] we have to get back to that.
Q: How difficult is it to start as a rookie linebacker in this league?
DP: I think it's hard to start in any rookie position in this league. I don't think it's just necessarily linebacker it's probably difficult to start as a rookie in anything. You have to learn but the way to also look at it is at this point in time we've been through four preseason games, we're four weeks into the season that's eight weeks. You're not a rookie anymore. That's a college season already that we've played. If you were playing a freshman in college and you're in the ninth game of the season you wouldn't say he's a freshmen anymore, so I don't consider these guys rookies anymore.
Q: Do you like what you're seeing from [Jerod] Mayo?
DP: At times, he's playing just like the rest of the defense. He's good at times and not so good at times just like the coach, not so good at times and good at times. We just all have to be more consistent.
Q: When you played Brett Favre and the Jets you said be patient, considering Mike Martz's quarterbacks like to hold on to [the ball] to get that downfield play, does that help in preparing for this game?
DP: It's a different type of patience. With [Brett] Favre it was a little more you have to be patient because who knows when the balls going to come out, at what time and where he's running to when he throws it. You're right it's patience but it's a different kind of patience.
Q: What the Dolphins did and what you've seen some other teams do with the read option stuff that's in the college game, is it conceptually similar where they are trying to get the ball in space and maybe the line splits are a little wider?
DP: It's really hard to explain it to you right now. It's a lot deeper than that. One thing about being a coordinator in college for all those years, I've seen it and having been a head coach we actually ran it with [Josh] Cribbs as a quarterback at Kent State. I know a little bit about it but it's a lot more than that. It would take my whole interview to sit here and explain it to you.
Q: The 49ers lead the league in sacks allowed, has that been breakdown on their part or is that more the nature of an offense that tries to go deep is going to have sacks?
DP: I think it's probably a combination of a little bit of both. That would be something you'd have to ask [Mike] Martz not me.
Q: Do you think there will be opportunities for you get some sacks this week?
DP: I hope so. I hope so.