Bill Belichick and coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia took part in a lunchtime conference call with reporters on Monday. Here are some highlights from that chat.
On what the Patriots did well in their Week 14 game against Houston:
"There were several things in that game that went our way but I don’t think that’s really that significant at this point. We just have to go back and make sure that we’re well prepared for the things that they do. The plays will match up differently and I’m sure there will be new plays that weren’t in that game. I don’t think you can overanalyze that game.
"We’re playing a team – we have our team, they have their team and it’s a big picture thing. Every game comes down to some specific plays and matchups but you know never know that’s how it’s going to go at the beginning. You just have to wait and see how it unfolds. We’re just going to focus on our preparation and what we do and what they’ve shown that they’ve done and try to be ready for it all."
On making in-game adjustments and how quickly they begin
"Definitely, the first drive; as soon as we come off and we have a lot more information than we had going into the game even if some of it is just a confirmation of their personnel, their groupings, their matchups. [We] try to take a look at what they’re trying to do, why they selected the type of plays that they’ve selected in the first series and what does it look like they’re trying to attack or how they’re trying to play us.
"With a team like Houston that has some West Coast elements to it, you know that early in the game, there is a script portion or potential in the game and so that’s also another thing you have to factor in. Teams that are script-type teams, how you want to treat that because script isn’t always necessarily the way the whole game goes. Sometimes a script is just a script. But yeah definitely, it starts as soon as the game starts. You get halftime, fourth quarter, a lot of times is just situational football based on the score, whatever the conditions happen to be.
"A lot of times, the game plan really only goes two, two and a half, three quarters depending on the way the game unfolds and then a lot of times in the fourth quarter you’re just playing situational football or you’ve seen so much of the game that you’re no longer in a game plan mode, you’re [in] ‘Play the game the way this particular game is being played,’ mentality."
On whether Tom Brady's demeanor changes in the postseason
"Tom has a great approach and demeanor about his work every day. I think that’s really a great thing to have as a quarterback. If you can be consistent with the way you approach your job – how hard you work and the intensity with which you prepare for each opponent – I think that generally that sets a great example for your teammates and for anybody who is looking at you for leadership, in terms of how you would expect them to do their job too. We all get excited when you’re in the postseason, I mean this is really what we play and coach for, is to try to have an opportunity to play in these types of games and to coach in these types of games. I’m sure Tom is no different than any player who is really excited for our opportunity this week. But I think that Tom is a pretty consistent guy who has a great approach to doing his job every day as well as he can do it."
On playing defense against a well-rounded offense like the Texans'
"It’s every week that if we can just get our guys to focus hard and prepare for exactly what we’re going to see and then obviously adapt to the way the game goes, the better of we’re going to be in those instances. Obviously it’s just a great challenge for us again because they are such a good offense.
"They are a balanced offense, one that can run the ball. When that running game gets going, it obviously sets up a lot of other things that they can do. It really falls in the line of the same things of kind of what I said last time. Obviously a great wide receiver in Andre Johnson and [Kevin] Walter’s certainly very good. Their tight ends are phenomenal, between [Owen] Daniels and [Garrett] Graham and [James] Casey, who was in there also. I think they just really provide a lot of different weapons that they can use offensively that you have to be prepared to stop. It’s going to be another big challenge for us and they proved again last week that they can control the game and run the ball and really just do a good job of handling game from that standpoint."