Bill Belichick talks about what kind of challenge will it be for the Pats' secondary this week.
It will be a big challenge, as I said. They spread the ball around quite a bit, but certainly Andre Johnson gets his share and he's pretty good at everything. He's good on the deep balls. He's a big target, tough after the catch. He's - again - like Terrell Owens, where he catches short balls and breaks tackles and runs a long way. People get up there and try to play him tighter and he runs passed them. He's good on intermediate routes. He's good on deep routes, and he's good on short routes, and running with the ball after the catch. And he's a good blocker. He certainly attracts a lot of attention, as he should.
Dean Pees discusses the defense playing with more energy and an improved pass rush.
Well, I think playing at home helps that some. Anytime you play at home it seems like you have a little bit more energy. I wish that wasn't always the case. I would say yeah, it appeared like it at times except for the start of the third quarter and the one drive in the fourth quarter. I didn't think we had too much energy, but overall I think we did. I think guys are kind of gaining some confidence back. I think they lost it a little bit there midway in the season. We had a couple rough goes at it and I think anytime that happens your confidence gets a little bit down, and I think once you start coming back and start having some success I think that confidence grows. And when that confidence grows, the energy grows and everybody kind of feeds off of it. But I also think that, as a team, the whole team knew what this game meant to all of us and so I think the whole team went out there with a lot of energy.
I think there're some things we've done schematically that have helped a little bit [with the pass rush]. The other thing that has helped a little bit is getting ahead and putting the team in a situation where they have to throw the ball and we know they have to throw the ball. The pass rush is usually never quite as good when the other team is either ahead or it's a very balanced game and you've got to play both the run and the pass. So I think it's a combination of a bunch of things.
It's the way the games have kind of gone and I think it's some schematic things, and then I think, again, it's a little bit of a confidence [builder] once you match up and maybe you beat a guy one time. Then maybe you feel a little bit more confident the next time. And I think another thing is just doing the same things over and over all year [and] just improving. I just think each week you try to get a little better at doing the things that you do, that you started out fundamentally doing. We've still got some guys on this team that have been here for just their first year or so along with some veteran guys, and those guys are still learning too and developing and getting better.
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- Patriots Pro Bowl Selections: QB Tom Brady, G Logan Mankins, WR Wes Welker and NT Vince Wilfork have been selected to represent the New England Patriots and the AFC in the 2010 Pro Bowl.
- FedEx Air Player of the Week. Fans are encouraged to vote here. nominated for
- Ask PFW: It's a clinch!
- Tuesday Conference Calls: Gary Kubiak (13:28 min.), Bill Belichick (15:38 min.), Dean Pees (13:33 min.), Nick Caserio (6:32 min.)
- Patriots Today - Primed for Playoffs. (10:16 min. video)
- Ian Rapoport notes the Patriots will have to stop the NFL's leading passer and leading receiver in Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson when they meet Houston on Sunday.
- Robert Lee notes the Pats defense is playing its best football of the season.
- Christopher Price has a terrific piece about the fan in the Randy Moss mask, a 12-year-old attending his first Patriots game ever.
- Albert Breer focuses on the play calling of QB coach Bill O'Brien and the consistency of the 2009 Patriots offense.
- Boston Globe Midweek Report: An AFC scout breaks down the Texans.
- Mike Reiss offers his 10 quick-hit thoughts on the Texans.
- Albert Breer looks at which players should rest and who should play in Houston.
- Mark Farinella guesses that if Belichick is convinced that the first-round opponent won't be markedly different from a win or loss, he'll have many of his key players on the pine shortly into the game against the Texans.
- Mike Reiss looks at where the Patriots rank in key statistical categories through 15 games into the NFL season.
- Karen Guregian notes that five years removed from their last Super Bowl title, and two years beyond a 16-0 regular season, the Patriots are not among the elite teams in 2009.
- Kerry Byrne offers 81 Cold Hard Football Facts that defined the decade of the Patriots.
- Dan Shaughnessy brings up Super Bowl XVII as the last time New England saw the post-season, and concludes the 2009 Patriots are not the best team - as they were in 2007 - but they might wind up being the team that nobody wants to play in January.
- Mike Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag with playoff seeding and how to handle Week 17 as the hot topics.
- Albert Breer explains why Colts exec Bill Polian turned his nose up at 16-0 and manages to slam the Patriots in the process. Petty, petty man.
- Ron Borges says Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell stole something from their players they had earned the right to try for: immortality.
- Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Patriots defense has its confidence back; Belichick won't comment on who will play Sunday and Mike Tomlin - whose Steelers would benefit from a Texan loss - has no opinion; The Pats offense was doing all the right things against Jacksonville; Darius Butler was a healthy scratch against the Jaguars, with Shawn Springs starting and Jonathan Wilhite as the 3rd CB.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Belichick not of a mind to rest his starters. "That's not really something that we've done and, in all honesty, I wouldn't even anticipate doing it."
- Adam Schein (Fox Sports) Be afraid of the Patriots.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East stock watch.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Who got what they deserved in Pro Bowl?
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East Pro Bowl analysis.
- Mike Reiss reports QB Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, the third time this season that he's earned the honor.
- Jim Trotter Inside the NFL: Harvin, Moss among eight players that deserved Pro Bowl selections.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Colts cheat game and the fans by not trying to go undefeated.
- Mike Florio states how Bill Polian fails to make the case for not trying to win on Sunday. Florio makes sense here in his dissection of Polian's explanation.
- Jerome Bettis Colts fumble play-sit decision; NFL needs to fix system.
- NFLN Polian surprised by reaction to pullng starters. Plus 7:23 min. video.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB Mail: Vikes have big issues; Trent Green proves to be prophetic; Firestorm in Indy gets uglier.
- Morning Buzz: Where will Pepper be in 2010? (Nat'l Football Post)
- Gregg Easterbrook Tuesday Morning QB: Repeating the Favre experiment.