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Matt Patricia Conference Call Transcript: 'We're just trying to improve every day and every play'

Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

Q:Can you talk about Chandler Jones and the evolution you've seen in him in the kinds of things now that he can do in that dual role for as end of the line linebacker that he wasn't able to do earlier in his time with you?

MP:Well I think certainly as players mature through the system and spend more time and years of experience in the system, some things that initially when you are a rookie or a younger player that you are working to understand conceptually or from a big picture, or even a fundamental standpoint, when those things start to become second nature or just learned habit then you can start to expand yourself from a role standpoint where now you can handle multiple different looks or positions or fundamentals from that standpoint of just being in different alignments or stances or positions. Certainly as someone like Chandler plays over a course of period of time some of the things that become second nature to him allow him to focus some of his attention of becoming more of a versatile player. So, guys that come into the system that have experience doing that can handle it maybe a little bit quicker. Guys that are new to the system that are still trying learn the different fundamentals and basics we're doing as a defense are going to concentrate on that first and try to be productive in that avenue first before we try to expand the role.

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Q: **Looking at the skillset required to play those two positions, how is unusual is it for one guy to have both of those skillsets?

MP:I think when you get to this level, I think we have a lot of guys that have multiple skillsets and in general are professional football players, players that can play in different positions and handle a lot of different responsibilities and techniques, so we really kind of do that with everybody on the defense, from the front guys, to the linebackers, to even the secondary. [We] ask those guys to play in different positions and to fit into the defense and different spots based on what it is we are trying to accomplish that week, so I think it's a actually a pretty common thing for players in the NFL to do once you kind of get yourself established at being able to handle your job, first and foremost and like I said, that skillset and after that maturity period has gone through then you can really start to branch out a little bit more. Certainly Chandler obviously has some great skillsets for playing in the position he does. He is a long guy, he's got some good quickness and some ability to be powerful but like I said we have a lot of different guys that do multiple different things, including Vince [Wilfork] from the interior positions to Chandler and Rob [Ninkovich] at the outside position to Jerod [Mayo], [Dont'a] Hightower, Jamie [Collins], to our safety positons where a lot of our guys are playing multiple different roles.

Q:Just wanted to ask you quickly about one play this past week. We all focused on Vince and the work he did in making that interception, but Vince gave some credit to the defensive backs on that play and the work they did, and I just wanted to see what you saw from some of the other guys in the secondary there and how they contributed to forcing that interception.

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Team photographer, Keith Nordstrom, offers his best from the Patriots game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

MP: **Well I think when you look at any play on the football field with everybody that's out there, everyone plays a role. It's just such a unique sport in which all of the players on the field have to be doing their job or completing their assignment in order for plays to be able to occur. So certainly I would credit everyone from the pass rush to the coverage players, to the ability to diagnose the play that was happening and be able to recognize it and try to make a good play on the pass attempt. Then obviously I would say the hustle and pursuit to finish the play and that's really the key for us is to try to finish the play and put ourselves in good positions to make plays when the opportunity arises.

Q:I was wondering when you have a situation like the Chiefs this week where you know Jamaal Charles' status may not be known until much later in the week; how much time do you really have to put in to prepare for both him and Knile Davis? Are they two different styles you have to prepare for?

MP:Great question, I think obviously, if you look at Kansas City and their offense right now, I think what they're moving towards is a very efficient, high powered offense starting with the running backs. Obviously Charles, who is quite a dynamic and explosive player but they have really got quite a few guys at the position now, with Knile Davis coming on and having a tremendous game, is a very, very, very good, powerful, strong running back with a good skill set all the way to Joe McKnight who you will see on field also, who is a very explosive player and a dynamic guy who that can make a lot of things happen very quickly. So, they certainly have a lot of different avenues they can use at running back. I think they have a system in place where they use those guys and in a couple different positions and get you into some matchup situations there that they're trying to take advantage of. Certainly Charles is one of those guys, McKnight is one of those guys, and Davis really, you know he's done some of that also and obviously the efficiency that he's brought and showed with the running game. So they certainly have some very dangerous weapons in the backfield that they can take advantage of whether to match up in the passing game or in the running game, and exploit pretty quickly. I think the quarterback has done a great job of facilitating that offense and mixing in a couple different styles of play, whether it is the passing game, the quick throws, the deeper downfield throws to his skilled players, along with the little bit of the read option game with the running backs who obviously Alex Smith is a very dangerous, athletic player when he's given space to run which you can see in a lot of his plays even on the passing plays where he's been able to pull the ball down and gain a lot of extra yardage by running the ball. So certainly it starts in the backfield with this group, but then obviously it extends to the skilled positions, on the perimeter they are a very fast, very explosive team: Donnie Avery, obviously [Dwayne] Bowe with his size and his ability to go up and make plays. But even the receivers, [Junior] Hemingway is very fast, [Frankie] Hammond who's very, very fast, just very explosive guy that can get vertical downfield quickly, and they have now combined [the] tight end position with that also that they have gotten some big plays. Obviously, [Anthony] Fasano is very steady tight end in both the run and pass game, a guy that can do a lot of different things for them and a guy that is very trusted in their offense, and then you know, obviously their other tight end, [Travis] Kelce, who is a very good, big play type tight end who can get downfield and catch the ball. He's got some real productive downfield plays. They've certainly has done a great job of building the offense and I really anticipate them being at full strength when we head out there next Monday.

Q:On Demetrius Harris, was he a surprise to you? I mean he's a basketball player but he seems to have a lot of ability also.

MP:Yeah, I mean, I think those guys, obviously there's a good track record of the transition-type players, but you know people tend to fit in to the system and you know obviously, have become pretty productive. So, I think it's all three tight ends and all of the guys they use in those spots are very, very productive.

Q:After the rough second half in the opener, and then the first drive in Minnesota, your defense haven't given up a touchdown. How pleased are you with the progress?

MP:Well, I think obviously we are just trying to improve every day and every play, and every game, and obviously we are just really focused right now on getting better for next week. There are certainly a lot of things in the games we play and obviously last week that we can do better and that we can improve on and that's really what we're trying to focus on, is more every single play trying to get better than where we were the play before or the week before, so we're certainly trying to push forward and certainly trying to make that progress to get better. We've got a long way to go, but I will say that our guys work extremely hard, they study very hard, they practice very hard, and they are great as far as that mentality of trying to be better than we were the day before, the play before, the game before. So that's really where our focus is – moving forward and trying to improve.

Q:We saw Chandler Jones bat a couple of balls down last week, and obviously his length helps there, but how difficult of a play is that for a lineman even with a guy his length to do?

MP:You know what, I think you see a lot of defenders being able to have that ability to do that. I think it's a great situation where if you're in the throwing lane, and you have a good pass rush or cover drop, whatever the situation may be and you know, you can get your hands or whatever it may be, arm, in the way of the throw you're going to be able to recognize that situation and try to do it to the best of your ability. So, certainly, I think it's obviously part of a skillset a lot of defensive players have and have been able to do throughout the years.

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