The Patriots made offensive and defensive position coaches available on Thursday morning. Some of the quotes from those interviews have been used or will be used in Globe stories, but here is a roundup of some of the more interesting answers:
Running backs coach Ivan Fears
On the backs' performance as pass protectors
The guys have done a good job with it so far. Everybody has got to pass protect, I don't care who it is. Danny [Woodhead] is probably our most experienced guy back there are figuring out what's going to happen. But Shane [Vereen] and "Rid" [Stevan Ridley], they've all got to do a good job. We can't play without having a guy be able to pass protect for us. That's an important aspect of their job. All of them work at it in the drills and in the meetings and figuring out what we expect our opponent to do to us, and then they've got to get out there and see it. They've got to anticipate it and be able t pick it up. Kevin [Faulk] was great at anticipating it – figuring out what these guys were going to do. Danny is probably the best at that right now, but the other guys are doing a good job of figuring it out.
Linebackers coach Pepper Johnson
His thoughts on rookie Dont'a Hightower to this point
It was as expected. The guy is not your average rookie. He's like Vince [Wilfork] in the mindset that he came in already a professional, already fine tuned into what it takes to be a professional football player. He's young sometimes in conversation, but his approach to the game is strictly professional, so he's easy to coach to me.
Tight ends coach George Godsey
On what he teaches the tight ends and how receptive they are
I think as an offensive staff, there are a lot of points that go into each particular play that applies to each one of them differently. I think whether it's in the passing game when we go over routes as a whole with Josh [McDaniels], or when we get individually with myself or likewise in the running game with Dante [Scarnecchia], they each have different roles – Aaron [Hernandez], Rob [Gronkowski], Daniel [Fells], Mike [Hoomanawanui] – and they're different players. So it's trying to get those guys as prepared as possible for what their particular role is, and not the big picture of maybe a play that they won't be playing in.
Safeties coach Brian Flores
On devin McCourty's move to safety
It says that he's a selfless player who just wants to do whatever he can to help the team win. I think Devin is always selfless. He has all the traits: he communicates, he's a focused player, he's smart, he does a lot of things well. He can make that transition, a lot of guys can't. I'm happy to have him.
Receivers coach Chad O'Shea
On the performance of the receivers through the first eight games
Just as all facets of our team and our offense, there are areas that we definitely have to make improvements in. That's what's great about having a bye week is the opportunity to kind of address some of the things that we need to improve on, really make those points of emphasis clear to our team and to move forward. The one thing our team has done a great job of, whether it's the receivers or any other positions, is they've really taken the coaching and really handled that really well and responded well to that.
Defensive line coach Patrick Graham
On Chandler Jones's ability against the run
I think number one your job as a defensive lineman is to help stop the run and he understands that and we've made that clear in our room from day one that that's going to be part of your role and your job. He's done a good job doing that and I think he has room to improve, but we all do, just like I have room got improve on a daily basis in terms of helloing the guys prepare. But I've been pleased; he's doing a good job for us.
Cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer
On the chemistry in the secondary
I think in the back end we have a very close-knit group. I think those guys have a good chemistry together, they work very hard, they're here all the time, they watch film together, they're working to improve. There are some good things that we've done and there are some things that we need to improve on. I think those guys are all headed in the right direction. I think the key thing for them is that all of them have stayed the course, they understand what we're trying to do – we're trying to improve each day, we're trying to get better on some things. When we have some bumps in the road, they know, ‘OK, we have to try to fix this, we have to make this better.' Sometimes it's a matter of, the other team, they have good players, they'll make plays too. Sometimes we're technique-sound there, other times it's, "OK, if I just do this little thing here, maybe the result will be a little bit better."