FOXBOROUGH – Patriots coach Bill Belichick (10:45 a.m.) and defensive coordinator Dean Pees (11 a.m.) held press conferences and media members had access to the locker room today at Gillette Stadium (11-11:45 a.m.).
Here were a few nuggets of note:
1) Dean Pees breaks down 69-yard pass play against Rams. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees was asked about the team’s struggles with giving up the big play in the passing game, specifically Donnie Avery’s 69-yard touchdown against the Rams. Pees broke down the coverage for reporters, noting the Patriots were in a cover-1 call at the time (single-high safety). The corners were playing bump-and-run at the line of scrimmage, and Avery got a good break off the line and got on top of cornerback Ellis Hobbs. The combination of routes the Rams ran – an over route and a post-in behind it – put stress on the single-high safety James Sanders. With Sanders biting up a bit on the over-route, it affected his timing and angle to help Hobbs. Once Avery caught the ball, Sanders collided with Hobbs as the tackle was not made. For those who appreciate the Xs and Os of the game, this was a nice example of a coach simplifying and explaining what unfolded on the field.
2) Wilfork talks about his fine. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork discussed his $35,000 fine with three beat reporters, and said that if he’s in a similar situation again, he’s likely facing a suspension. He talked about the importance of keeping his emotions in check after the whistle blows, something which had led to fines in the past. “That’s the one thing we talked about, just basically backing away towards the whistle, toward the end of the play, just calming down,” he said. “I’m very confident I can get it done.” Wilfork also detailed more about his meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and said he has more clarity as to why he was fined for last year’s hit against Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman. “That’s something that really bothered me, because I think that’s the one that led me to being looked at last year,” Wilfork said. “That play right there really labeled me.” Wilfork explained that the NFL told him he was fined because of how the ball had been out of Losman’s hands and that he led with his elbow. In turn, Wilfork explained to Goodell that while the play might have looked bad in slow motion, his intent wasn’t as it appeared. “We watch film all the times afterwards, and you can always slow a film down afterwards and say ‘Why did you do this? Why are you not doing this?’ But at that moment, your mind is not slowed down. The game is moving fast. That’s what I was trying to explain to them,” Wilfork said.
3) Getting in the Halloween spirit. As Belichick arrived at the podium, he noticed a bowl of candy in the back of the media workroom. “Any candy corn in there?” he asked. Staying in the Halloween spirit, at the end of the press conference, Belichick left media members with these words: “Trick or treat.”