Extra Points

Analysis: Run D

FOXBOROUGH — Patience and discipline.

They are always important for a defensive player, but they take on added significance this week for the Patriots.

Stopping the run is priority No. 1 for the Patriots defense. The Jaguars rank 10th in rushing yards per game (122.4), while New England’s run defense finished eighth (98.8). It’s no secret that run defense sparked the Patriots’ late-season resurgence; the team ranked 28th entering its game against the Dolphins on Nov. 13, giving up 128.9 yards per game at the time.

When it comes to run defense this week, patience and discipline will be key because of the Jaguars’ scheme. Unlike gap-running teams that run plays to specific areas of the field, the Jaguars are a zone-running team, according to Bill Belichick.


That means the runner (most often Fred Taylor) doesn’t have a specific spot to hit, but instead reads the entire defense and hits wherever there is a crease. It’s similar, Belichick said, to the Broncos’ successful scheme.

Because of this, every defender must be aware that even if the play is initially run to the other side of the field, it could potentially cut back in the other direction. Hence the focus on patience and discipline.

“The backside is as much of a point of attack as the front side,” Belichick said. “A lot of those plays cut back more than they hit the hole that they originally look like they’re going to enter.”

As one of the edge setters on the Patriots’ defense, outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said patience and discipline is always a focus, although it does mean more this week.

“In a zone-running scheme, yes. As they hand it off to the running back they can see more things. If you’re not at the point of attack initially, he may cut it back into where you are. So everybody has to be on top of their game.”


Bill Belichick just held his Wednesday press conference at Gillette Stadium (10:45 a.m. ET) and was asked if he agrees with quarterback Tom Brady’s comments about the lack of respect given to the Patriots this season.


“I agree with Tom, sure,” he said. “I think that opinion has been expressed far and wide, many times over, by all the people that he identified.”

We’ll have more from Belichick a bit later in the day. Much of the press conference was spent discussing the Jaguars.



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