Q: Unfortunately we've seen this last year with Jerod Mayo going down [to injury]. Bill [Belichick] just talked about how it's going to take more than one guy this year to fill that void. How have you assessed that situation going forward and into Thursday? **
MP: Well, I mean obviously we've got to prepare to go here against the Jets with whoever is available and ready to go. I think in situations like that one, that occurs in the game - when anybody with an injury situation comes up, everyone else has to step up and increase their role and their responsibility and everyone just has got to do more. Certainly, with a guy like Jerod, who is a great leader for us and communicator, signal caller for us on defense; then a player like that is removed from the game, then you know, obviously, communication is the biggest thing we are focused on to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Q: What is your base assessment of the Jets offense to this point in the season?
MP: We're obviously diving into them. You know, short week here, getting ready to go. I think a lot of it, if you take a look at the Jets, they're a very multiple team, they run a lot of different personnel groups. I think that's a huge challenge for us to try and get matched up with all the different personnels they have on the field. From the skill players, obviously Eric Decker is a really good wide receiver for them, very productive player and a guy that is kind of a leader there in the wide receiver position, but certainly they've rolled everybody through, you know [Jeremy] Kerley, [David] Nelson, you see on film. You just see everybody out there contributing. Obviously the backs, they have two very explosive backs, actually three very good backs. [Chris] Ivory and [Chris] Johnson both being extremely fast; very good space players, so it's kind of a similar situation where we get running backs that tend to be moved from the formation, spread out or situations where they will get them the ball out in space quickly. Similar offensive philosophy with coach [Marty] Mornhinweg and what he tries to do and spread the ball around to his different skill players. The tight end position is another real dangerous position and useful position for them. [Jeff] Cumberland does a great job and the rookie from Texas Tech, [Jace] Amaro, he really had a great game [against Denver] and he's another guy they've done a good job of getting him the ball and featuring out there. I think [quarterback] Geno Smith has done a great job. He's an extremely tough football player. He does a good job of moving in the pocket; he can escape from trouble. He does a good job, obviously, with the zone read-type of offensive system that they can run and distribute the ball out to the wide receivers. Certainly, it's a good skill set, good receivers, the tight end position, the backs, so on a short week it's a big challenge for us to try and really get on to all the different personnels and schemes that they do run.
Q: How has [linebacker] Deontae Skinner come along this season?
MP: I think Deontae is obviously still trying to learn and develop in the system, but I will say that he works extremely hard. He's a very good athlete - he's fast, he can run well, he tackles well, so his physical ability out on the field tends to shine through and we just have to keep working to get the fit into the system with everything we are doing. Obviously, he's just a young player, so he's still trying to figure it all out and to learn exactly what the situations are that present themselves on the field. I really think he has some good athletic ability, some good ability at the linebacker position and just keep working and trying to get him better.
Q: It looked like you guys played more dime formation after Jerod Mayo went out against the Bills. How much of that was a result of drawing things up on the fly to account for the unexpected loss of Mayo during the game or if that was something you had planned on doing going into the game?
MP: We are always trying to go into the game – we've got a bunch of different packages that we were going to try to take a look at and run and see what we feel most comfortable in. Depending on the situation, the circumstance, those packages can either be in or be out or change based on the situation, so it was just kind of the flow of the game and the way things went and situations that arose and we just kind of try to put the best people out on the field that we could during those times.
Q: The Jets used Michael Vick as their quarterback a couple of games ago and I'm just wondering, as you guys prepare this week, if you will prepare for both guys and how those two guys are a little bit different in the way they play?
MP: Yeah, I mean I think you definitely have to be alert and aware for both of them. There's certain packages that Michael Vick can easily be in on and be running the offense and situations, so you certainly want to be ready to go with him. Obviously, the run threat – they are both very athletic guys that can run the ball extremely well, but I think when Vick is in there it's for a particular purpose or package that you have to really be highly aware of. I think both of them, from the quarterback standpoint, I think the system is the system and I think they are both trying to run the plays in the design of the scheme that coach Mornhinweg has set up for them for that game itself. They are a very game plan-oriented team, so it's going to change week-to-week based on the way they are trying to attack the defense. That can certainly change, but I think the quarterback position is doing a good job of just trying to run and execute the plays that are designed. But it's certainly an awareness and something we have to be ready for when he is in there and the quarterback run game with him, also.
Q: How do you address the loss of Jerod Mayo, especially the loss of Mayo's communication on the field? Is that also a more than one player proposition?
MP: Well, certainly when we go into a new week, we will obviously have our communication system set up and be able to do address all the pertinent information that needs to be communicated on the field by player, by position. I think it's more when something like that happens in the game and you need to change gears then everyone else kind of needs to step up or divide up the responsibility in that particular situation. We will obviously try to get the communication handled and with the different people out on the field that do communicate – obviously, Devin McCourty does a great job in the deep part of the field and with the communication and Jamie Collins does a great job and Dont'a Hightower, when they are both in there, can handle a lot of things and really, in our front, too, we have two really experienced guys – Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones that will help communicate to the linebackers. And then Vince Wilfork actually does a great job from the inside out of really trying to get the information across, so there's really a lot of players on the field that communicate. Communication is a big key for us and something that we are trying to emphasize. Again, it's more of just a situation in the game when a particular player that is a key communicator for you goes down that you really have to address the issues of where the communication is really coming from and who is going to step in for that particular situation.