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New England Patriots Links 11/02/11 - Rodney Harrison Pleads For More Aggressive, Creative Secondary

Karen Guregian reports Rodney Harrison was angry after watching how soft the Patriots secondary was playing in Pittsburgh Sunday.

“I hate it, I don’t like it at all,” Harrison said yesterday. “That scheme doesn’t work for me. When you play a good offense, a team that spreads you out, there’s just too many openings in zone coverage. You have to mix in man-to-man coverage. You have to become more creative on defense. You have to disguise, bring more pressure."

“Then I look at that secondary, and they’re playing really soft coverage, that bend-but-don’t-break defense. I hate that. I think you have to challenge your players more. You have to start blitzing, force the quarterback into making mistakes. I know you can’t stop everything. I know they were afraid of their speed. But sometimes you just got to go challenge them. And I just don’t see them doing it.”

“We played a lot of man-to-man coverage, especially when we won in ’03,” said Harrison, who played six seasons (2003-08) with the Pats. “They challenged us. I was in the box blitzing. We dared teams to throw. You weren’t going to run on us. We dared teams to throw. We had good enough cornerbacks, we felt like teams couldn’t have success. We disguised, we mixed in cover-2, we mixed in cover-4, and different cover-3s. Here, I just see a basic, plain defense. So if the offense isn’t scoring 25-30 points, you’re in trouble.”

“If I’m the defensive coordinator, I’ve got to make these guys a little more aggressive. I’ve got to push them,” he said. “I question the move with Leigh Bodden. Yes, maybe he was moping around in practice. But that’s when you have to go in and motivate guys.”

Nick Caserio responds to a question about the guys in the secondary who have filled the roles that Leigh Bodden and others have been filling.

There are a lot of guys in our secondary that play depending on the defensive package. Those two players in particular both have good size, good speed, they run well, they have played well in the kicking game or have had some production in the kicking game. All those players, whether if it's Kyle [Arrington], Devin [McCourty], Sergio [Brown], Josh [Barrett] when he's on the field, James [Ihedigbo] and Patrick [Chung], they all have their specific roles. They prepare themselves for the game and whatever role the coaches provide for them. The hope is that the team and the defense really goes out there and is able to execute well. We just need to do a better job collectively as a team and just play better.

... Week-to-week we look at who is available, who is going to be healthy and then we implement the game plan and prepare for that game and players need to go out and execute the game plan. We need to coach better and we need to play it better. The more guys that can play together certainly helps, but in any given week not everybody is going to be available, so you go with what you have. Everybody prepares and goes out on the field and they work together.



  • Greg A. Bedard previews the Giants coming to town, armed with exactly what the Patriots' ailing defense doesn't need to see: a red-hot quarterback.
  • Greg A. Bedard outlines the glaring problem areas that were exploited by the Steelers on Sunday.
  • Karen Guregian goes through all of the changes to the Patriots secondary since the Patriots last made it to the Super Bowl.
  • Chris Forsberg notes Bill O'Brien wants to see more of WR Taylor Price and questions where those snaps will come from.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely says the time might be now for Taylor Price.
  • Tom E. Curran sorts out the things rattling around in his head about the Patriots and the NFL.
  • Chris Forsberg serves up some leftover nuggets from yesterday's conference calls with the media.
  • Christopher Price says Julian Edelman's stock had been dropping since before the alleged incident last night.
  • Raakhee Mirchandani calls out Julian Edelman as just another jock that's all brawn, no brains.
  • Monique Walker notes Julian Edelman's agent, Don Yee, issued a statement following Edelman's arrest.
  • The Herald reports investigators are studying tapes of the night club's surveillance cameras to determine what happened with Julian Edelman Monday night.
  • Mike Reiss takes a look at where the Patriots rank in key statistical categories, and compares them with the Giants.
  • Mike Reiss gives us a weekly look at the Patriots' tackle leaderboard.
  • Mike Reiss posts this week's mailbag that had fans grasping for positives in Sunday's loss to the Steelers.
  • Karen Guregian reports the Gronkowski brothers spent their day off in Rhode Island with Hope Jackson volunteer firefighters to help pitch fire safety.
  • Monique Walker Patriots Notebook: The Patriots believe Taylor Price is ready to be a more active part of the offense; Brandon Spikes wore the green dot for the first time in his career in the Pittsburgh game; Belichick said Spikes handled his duties well; Mike Tomlin was not shocked by the onside kick being called last week.
  • Karen Guregian Patriots Notebook: Taylor Price may finally see some playing time this week; Nick Caserio failed to detail what happened to Leigh Bodden; The Patriots O-Line gave up three sacks, bringing the total to 11 over the last three games; The O-Line will face another tough test Sunday against the Giants.
  • Tony Mazzarotti gleefully dissects the New England defense and exposes the Patriots overall, by the ever-revealing numbers.