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New England Patriots Links 12/30/09 - Defense Gaining Confidence

<em>Jerod Mayo had a whopping 15 tackles - 11 solos - in Sunday’s 35-7 win against Jacksonville</em>.
Jerod Mayo had a whopping 15 tackles - 11 solos - in Sunday’s 35-7 win against Jacksonville.

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.