The Patriots will begin their 2019 season against a familiar foe in the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. Patriot head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels answered questions during media availability Tuesday. Here’s what they had to say about the matchup against the Steelers.
Q: After the loss to the Steelers, you started running the ball more. How did you know that was the right time to go to the run game?
BB: We ran the ball all year. I think in the Chargers game, we had a lot of production in the passing game, too. Whatever we think is best. If it is run it, it’s run it. If it is throw it, it’s throw it. I don’t think that is important as long as we move the ball and score points. That is the goal of the offense, to move the ball and score points. However we can do that, we are all in favor of that.
Q: What improvements have you seen from Pittsburgh’s defense so far in the preseason?
BB: They haven’t played all that much, which isn’t that unusual in the preseason. Certainly, the addition of [Mark] Barron and [Devin] Bush gives them a lot of speed and athleticism at the linebacker spot. Guys like [Terrell] Edmunds with another year under his belt continues to get better. This is a solid group that led the league in sacks last year. They have a lot of good pass rushers. There is speed and athleticism at inside linebacker and their secondary continues to get better. It is basically the same group as last year. I am sure playing together for another year and adding a couple key pieces to the linebacker position is just improving. We couldn’t score on them last year, so that is obviously a big challenge for us.
Q: Are you expecting a much different offense from the Steelers without Antonio Brown?
BB: The Steelers are a little bit of a game plan offense. They certainly have their core system, but they don’t always do the same thing. They played us differently last year than they had the time before. We have seen multiple versions of their offense. Coach [Randy] Fichtner is very experienced. They have a very experienced quarterback. Probably the most experienced offensive line in the league. We played them without Brown, too. We will just have to see what they come up with. We don’t really have any control over that. We will be ready for the variety of things they do and see how they want to attack us and what they want to feature.
Q: How much do you study the opposing defense’s, in this case the Steelers’, personnel and try to project what they may do differently based on some of the players they’ve added? Particularly with Mark Barron and Devin Bush, is there anything you’ve seen that may help you anticipate how they play you on Sunday night?
JM: “I think we’re obviously familiar with those players. Whether it be due to the film in the preseason or previous years we’ve seen them play, whether it’s in pro football or college football, for that matter. In this week, one of the things you’ve got to try and do is not – you don’t spend too much time guessing about what may happen because you could do yourself a lot of harm in that regard. What we know is that we’re going to play a really good group on Sunday night that’s really well-coached. You have an idea of the things that they do well based on many years of film study and understanding how they try to play and when. Then there’s always a couple questions you have that you’re going to find out in the first quarter of the first game of the season – where they’re going to line so-and-so up, who is going to be in nickel, are they going to play this grouping, are they going to rotate players, are they going to play three-for-two at some positions. Some of those things are going to be determined quickly on Sunday night. To spend a lot of time guessing, I think there’s a lot of things that we need to do and prepare for. The guesswork is something that just adds time to your week. We know that there’s a good group of players that are going to be out there at certain positions. Are they going to play this guy over that guy more, etc.? I think those conversations wait until Sunday to find some of those things out. We know we’re going to play a good defense, that’s for sure.
*Quotes are sourced from transcripts made available by the Patriots
Published at Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:01:24 +0000