Patriots linebackers coach Matt Patricia addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, October 11, 2010.
Q: The last couple of weeks we've seen Jerod Mayo's tackle total spike a little bit. What have you noticed from Jerod that maybe has contributed to that increase?
MP: I think Jerod's approach is the same every week. I think he comes in and he works hard. I think he's a great student of the game and I think he really wants to try to do things the right way. I think he's just out there and doing what we ask him to do. Every week that might be different. I think he's just trying to do the best he can. So I'm happy to see the production, but more importantly the defense and the team winning is what we look for.
Q: The sample size is pretty small at this stage of their career, but what have you seen from both Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham?
MP: I think you said it exactly right, I think they're both early in their careers. I think they're working hard to improve every day and that's the most important thing we have to ask of them, to try to get better, to work hard, be professional and go out and do their job, which they've done. And they do work very hard at it. I'm very pleased with that. But they have lot of learning left to do, a lot of improving and we're just trying to get better every day.
Q: What fundamentals or skills do you like from Cunningham the most?
MP: I think Jermaine has a wide range of skills that we're looking for at that position. I think he has a good body type for the position. I think he's got a good combination of power and some speed and quickness. And it just depends on the situation when he can use what skill, but I think overall he's still trying to learn the position and figure out the right technique and the proper use of everything that we're asking him to do.
Q: When you look at the defense, can you pinpoint one thing for some of the struggles on third down?
MP: I don't think we really pinpoint one thing. I think everybody's just go to do their job better and try to do everything that we're asking them to do a little bit more detailed and precise. I think that's what you try to do every day you come to work; you try to get better in every avenue, whether it's third down or whatever. I think you're just trying to tighten it down and as we go here hopefully we're doing a better job of just getting better at those individual details.
Q: For the game-planning process for the Ravens, where do they hurt you? What are the areas that you identify as something that you have to stop?
MP: I think there are a lot of things that the Ravens do. Offensively, I think they're playing real well right now. They have a lot of weapons both in the skill positions, at the running back position, at the tight end position and at the offensive line. And their fullback is pretty good, too. I think you have to be prepared to handle all of it. I think they do a good job of mixing it up week in and week out. I'm sure we're going to get a heavy dose of everything.
Q: Are you surprised at where Rob Ninkovich's production is? He has sort of become a key part of the defense. Does it surprise you a little bit?
MP: I think you have to give Rob credit for coming in and working hard and trying to do his job and getting better every day. I think whoever we put out there and ask them to do a job, they all take it very seriously and that's what they're trying to do, is trying to get better do whatever it is we ask of them. I'm happy that he had the production he had and he was able to do what we were asking him to do. But I think what we're trying to do right now is move forward and look ahead and hopefully get ready to play well against Baltimore.
Q: What did you do over the bye week in terms of watching the rest of the league? Anything you catch up on from a league perspective?
MP: I think what you try to do is take a good look at what you're doing and what's happened over the last couple of weeks and hopefully try to improve that and take a little bit of time analyzing and trying to get better. What you're trying to do every day is go out there and improve and get better and correct it and feel like you're moving ahead and moving forward and progressing as a defense.
Q: What have you liked about what you guys have done and where do you need improvement?
MP: I think I like the way our guys work. Our guys work really hard. They come out here and they have a great professional attitude about everything. They understand that they're going to work hard and try to get everything right. Our guys take a lot of pride in trying to do things the right way. You have to be real thankful that you have a group like that that takes pride in their work.
Q: How about the flip side of that? An area you pinpoint and say we've got to get better there?
MP: I think you try to get better in all areas. There are some that are better than others and the ones that aren't so good you're going to work hard at. But I think, in general, what you try to do is improve overall as a defense the best you can.
Q: How much do you use last year's playoff game with the Ravens as a tool for this year's defense or linebackers?
MP: I think any time you play a team more than once in a season or the last time that you played them you certainly want to take a look at the film and go back and analyze it and see what it looked like and try to figure out what you can do better and what was good and what wasn't. I think anytime you play a team, you're always going to go back and check the film from the previous [game] obviously and combine that with all the great things that Baltimore is doing this year and try to figure out the best plan of attack. It's definitely something we do with every team.
Q: From an overall NFL perspective, any trend stand out to you from the first five weeks of the season?
MP: I don't think anything in particular that I can come up with off the top of my head from a league perspective. We're pretty focused on our job and doing what we're trying to do and trying to get better at doing what we do. So nothing that sticks out.
Q: What in Spikes have you liked specifically? He talked about some things he's trying to improve on, like finding the tight end in pass coverage? Where does Spikes need to improve and what have you liked about him?
MP: I like Brandon's approach to coming in and working hard every day. He knows that in all areas we're going to try to improve and try to get him playing in an NFL defense. I think he's doing a great job at it. I think he's working hard to get better. We'll continue to work the fundamentals and the techniques that we're asking him to do and that's really where it has to start.