Patriots linebackers coach Matt Patricia addresses the media during his conference call, on Monday, November 29, 2010.
Q: (On Jerod Mayo's performance this season)
MP: I think Jerod's production is a result of him just working really hard at doing what he's supposed to do on the football field for us. All of us don't really look at individual stats and are really more concerned with the team and how the team is doing. I know that's Jerod's focus every week. I don't think he really cares about who had what tackles, certainly on our team and definitely within the league. I think the only thing he wants to do is go out and win and I think that's the most important thing to the team and he'll do anything he can to help us. So, I'm obviously glad when Jerod does well, just like I'm glad when any of our players or our team does well. That's what's great about football, is that it's all about the team effort and the team performance more so than the individuals. Obviously, I'd like him to keep doing what he's doing out there and keep working hard. That's the most important thing, to keep working hard and keep getting better. That's what we try to focus on every day, every week here.
Q: (On the first matchup with the New York Jets and the struggles against Jets TE Dustin Keller)
MP: I think all the Jets players - offensively, they have a great squad of talent and ability - not just Dustin Keller. He's certainly a great player. The receivers, the running back position and obviously the quarterback and offensive line, I think all of it presents different challenges for us as a team that we're going to have to go back and look at and try to focus on and see what we need to do better and how we can do that better. That's what we're really trying to do, is get better each week. Obviously, we played them at the beginning of the season. They played us at the beginning of the season and things have transpired since then with games and what have you. But, we'll certainly look at that game as always, like any opponent that we've played before, and try to take a look at that and see how the game went. We just need to refocus our efforts, I think, and make sure that we're trying to [give ourselves a] chance for an opportunity to win. Whether that's involved with any of their skill players, we have a lot of them to handle. They're a good team and that's our main focus. We have a big challenge ahead of us: getting after their offense.
Q: What are the challenges for an inside linebacker covering a tight end?
MP: That's a good football question, I'll take those. The hard thing for an inside linebacker is that anytime you're in a situation where the run game can be at you and be on you very fast and very quick, and where you have a situation with a very dangerous receiver who can get down the field and get open... So, I think that's the hardest situation for an inside linebacker. That's one of the reasons it is such a difficult position, because you are in the direct line of the run game, but also critically and crucially involved in the passing game. So, I think that's why those guys are really hard working players for us and they have to do a lot of work and study and improve every week because they're in that situation where both the run and pass game can affect them very quickly. We're lucky we have good guys that work hard at that stuff. But, that's the challenge that we face in that position.
Q: How has Tully Banta-Cain handled his role and how have you viewed his production this season?
MP: I think Tully is a true professional and a great leader for us and a guy that goes out there and works really hard at his craft every day, every week. Obviously, he's been excellent in all those accords. I think the question of starter or not starter, I think that's really irrelevant. We play different players at multiple positions and depending on the positions they're playing at the time and point of the very first play of the game doesn't necessarily dictate whether you're a starter or contributor. Tully comes to work every day to work hard to improve and that's all you can ask him to do and be the best in whatever we ask him to do. That's what he does, so I think he has worked very hard to get better every day, every week and he'll continue to work hard and get better and to perform at a level he wants to perform at, which is what we all expect him to do every day. Just like all our players, we expect them to go out and get better every day and perform at the highest level they can.
Q: How much stress does the checkdown to LaDainian Tomlinson coming out of the backfield add to the linebackers?
MP: Tomlinson is obviously someone you have to take account of and where he is in the passing game, whether he's in the checkdown position or not. He's a guy you have to be aware for, just like you have to be aware of all their players and different schemes. Defensive calls will dictate whose priorities are where. [With] all the offensive weapons they have, [the defense] needs to be alert [to] where they are on every play. I think it's really important, especially with the great player that LaDainian is.