Patriots linebackers coach Matt Patricia addresses the media during his conference call, on Monday, January 10, 2011.
Q: How do you think [Brandon] Spikes has looked since his return?
MP: I think Brandon is a guy that is out there right now getting himself back in the groove of everything we're doing here and what we are trying to get done. I think anyone that misses any type of work for four weeks, comes back to it with a little bit of a degree of having to get adjusted, so I think that's all to be expected.
Q: What kind of stuff can you do to help him get back in the swing of things or is it more physical - getting into shape kind of stuff?
MP: I think it's just in general everything - physical and mental. You know, progression he's going to work at obviously and we're just going to truck along like we normal do working hard every day, trying to get better [in] each individual performance so that collectively as a whole we can get better.
Q: What are the challenges you guys face in stopping the Jets running game?
MP: Yeah, that's a huge challenge for us. Obviously, their offense has been doing a great job - Brian Schottenheimer is doing a great job with their offense and getting them rolling. I think across the board they're a team that you know, really has benefited by playing the whole year as a unit - a solid unit working together. I think they have great skilled players on the outside, along with a great running game and it certainly [will be] an excellent challenge for us this weekend obviously coming off a good game where they got their running game going. That is something that's got to have our attention.
Q: How did you think [Gary] Guyton held up against the run in the past four games and has he done enough if [Brandon] Spikes isn't ready to kind of step in and take that role?
MP: I think Gary is someone that fits in our system very well no matter what that role is. He's a very [versatile] player for us. He does an excellent job in whatever avenue we ask him to prepare and play. I think he is a guy who is active and plays for us every Sunday and whatever that role is, he's going to go out and do it to the best of his ability. It's something that we have a lot of confidence in and that's him doing that, so whatever that role is - whatever it can be and give us the most opportunities to win, then that's what it's going to be and that's what he'll do. He is great in that manner.
Q: When you looked at Brandon Spikes improvement from week one to his last game before he was suspended, how would you sum up his progression?
MP: As with anybody on our team, I think hopefully you're seeing progress from week one to the end and a player that is getting better, a team that is getting better and a unit that is getting better. We all hold everyone to the same standards. I think those guys - including everyone on the defense and our offense obviously as well, but just defensively, everyone works extremely hard to improve themselves every day. They come out with a very professional attitude to know that they've got to get better and it's a day-to-day thing to do our job and make sure we are going to get done what we need to get done that day to the best of our abilities. I think we are trying to get better every day and [we're] trying to get better every week. That's what we are really focused on more so than the specifics of any individual.
Q: You mentioned the challenges of the Jets running game, what are those challenges - is it their scheme or the power of their offensive linemen? How would you prioritize the challenges?
MP: Sure. I think it's an excellent combination of both. I think they've got great running backs. I think they've got a great offensive line that works well together like we talked about - it's a very cohesive unit. I think anytime that you have an offensive group like that - that runs the ball and can handle playing together for an entire season - I think you've got a big challenge and it's going to stretch across the board with all of those skill sets. You've got to be ready to handle it.
Q: Bill Belichick had a little fun when he was matching himself up against Rex Ryan saying he may have a little speed on him. I am curious who do you match up with?
MP: Yeah, the problem I've got right now is that I'm pretty much out of breath just walking up the stairs to practice, so I am just going to stick to making sure I don't get any of those challenges right there. I would have a problem with that I think. I can probably stand outside the longest in shorts. I think I could take that one. The rest of that, I think I would have an issue with.
Q: What have you seen from Eric Moore from when he's playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 in terms of his ability to adjust to that, I don't believe he has done much of that prior to being signed by the Patriots?
MP: I think Eric is obviously a guy that has come in here and really worked extremely hard to understand what we're trying to do on defense in multiple positions. And I think he's a guy that just based off what he's done here over the last couple of weeks, has shown that he is a productive guy on the field. We are just going to keep working with him to get better. He is a guy that comes in and takes it very seriously. He works extremely hard and [he's] very conscious of what he's doing. Anytime you've got a guy with that kind of desire, like we have in multiple positions here, I think those are the guys that are going to try to do the best that they can for you out there in the position that they're asked to play. He is doing a good job of that and he's just got to keep getting better at learning everything. And he's certainly not perfect, but I am pleased with his ability to come in and work at it to get better.
Q: We've seen a couple of your outside linebackers pop up on the injury report, do you have a good confidence level that these guys will be ready to go for this game and if not, what are your thoughts on being able to overcome that?
MP: I think with anything, we take it day-by-day and everybody is just out there trying to get better and get the best they can. We will deal with the issues when they come up, that's just kind of how we handle it.