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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Feb 27 - 02:00 PM | Thu Feb 29 - 11:55 AM

Romeo Crennel Press Conference

During the Bye Week, the media had a chance to interview Patriots Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel.

Q: Where is your defense right now in terms of potential and where it needs to be?

RC: We have a lot of work to do. That is evident by the first two games. Each year is a different year, a new year. You have new players, so you have to try to develop that chemistry on your team. I think we are still trying to do that, learning to play together and know what each and every teammate can do. That is where we are right now. We have some work to do.

Q: In terms of the new players you have added and the players you have lost, how much has that changed what you are doing this year?

RC: We are still doing the same things. Our system is in place and we like our system and we will continue to play our system. We will fit the players we have into it. In coaching you have to make adjustments as you need to and we haven't felt like we need to make tremendous adjustments. That is why we go out and get players to put into the system and sometimes experience helps them become better players. Because they are young they have to get more experience, but we like the players we have and we like the system we have.

Q: How has the development of Vince Wilfork been?

RC: I think Vince has had a lot of progress in our system because he has come primarily from a penetrating defense and we play more of a technique-oriented defense. He has learned the system and he understands what we need to do and how we what to do it. He is trying to get that done on the field. We are pleased with his progress.

Q: What was your reaction to giving up 200 yards on the ground against the Colts?

RC: I was glad that we won the game, first of all. No one ever wants to give up 200 yards rushing particularly. That let us know that we needed to go back to work and work harder on tightening up our defense. We tried to do that some against Arizona and I thought we made some progress in that area, but we still have a lot more work to do. We will continue to work at it and try to get better every week.

Q: A lot of the players said that they were coached to do certain things against the Colts and that they just didn't execute it.

RC: Each week the game plan changes depending on what we think we need to take care of and have to defend. Sometimes you have to prioritize them. Going into that game, you know that Peyton Manning can throw the ball a little bit and Marvin [Harrison] can catch it a little bit. We wanted to try to slow those guys down a little. We didn't do a very good job of that. We didn't do a very good job of slowing down [Edgerrin] James. That is why I think we have work to do.

Q: The fact that Manning can throw the ball so well, how did that affect how you tried to handle the run?

RC: Going into each game, we look at who we need to stop and how we need to stop them. The passing game was critical in that game. So we put a little more emphasis on the passing game. When you play defense you need to stop everything and we didn't do a good job of stopping the run. That is why we have to go back to the drawing board and tighten things up. Hopefully we will get them tighten up as we go forward.

Q: The players didn't seem very concerned going into the Arizona game. They thought they would be able to stop the run from the very beginning. Did you have that same type of feeling?

RC: No. Each week you never know what is going to happen. You go into the game and you make the calls and they play the plays and then you see what is happening on the field. As we went into the Arizona game, we were able to stop the run and we were able to control the line of scrimmage a little bit. That helped us and as the game moved forward I believe that helped our confidence.

Q: Is controlling the line of scrimmage just a physical thing or is it assignment wise what guys are doing and trying to accomplish?

RC: It is a combination of both. You have to have physical, tough guys at the line of scrimmage and you have to play the technique properly. Then you have to know what the abilities of your opponent are and take all of that into consideration. Each player has to make choices on the field and they have to be snap judgments. Hopefully they have enough experience, so that when they are making their choice they are making the right choice the majority of the time. If they make the wrong choice that opens up a lane which allows the runner to gain more yards.

Q: How does having a guy like Eugene Wilson, who can play safety and corner, help you with defensive adjustments?

RC: The main thing that it allows us to do is keep one personnel group on the field. We don't have to try to match personnel groups. When they put the third wide receiver in, then Eugene can cover the third receiver. That allows us that flexibility, which is good to have.

Q: Charlie Weis just talked about how important it is to have Tom Brady in terms of his job. How does it help your job to have a defensive roster with a bunch of guys with so much versatility?

RC: When you have that experience it always makes your job easier because they help you in the locker room and then they are able to help you on the field make adjustments and handle different situations that come up. Particularly early in the year, sometimes you get plays that the opponent hasn't shown yet. Being able to handle some of those situations, veteran experience really helps with that.

Q: You are doing a lot of rotations with the outside linebackers and inside linebackers.

RC: If you look at us we have been rotating over the last couple years. We have guys that play multiple positions and different positions. That is part of what we do when we have enough talent to get it done. If you don't have enough talent then you might not be able to rotate as much.

Q: That is a pretty constant throughout with your defense.

RC: When you good players with comparable ability you can rotate. Part of that is that they have to have the ability and part of that is they have to be to understand the system. Then that allows you to do that.

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