On the first play analysis, the Patriots showed a run package with James Develin and Burkhead on the field. Develin aligned as a receiver on the sideline, taking one of the Saints linebackers with him. Burkhead flexed into the slot to draw away either a linebacker or a safety.
“Instead of the Saints making a safety adjustment, we saw the match-up here that we were really looking for with Burkhead on Anzalone,” Belichick explained.
If the safety followed, then Rob Gronkowski would have a one-on-one against the strong safety up the seam, while Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan would have one-on-ones on the far side of the field with no defensive help over the top.
Instead, the linebacker moved, clearing out the middle of the field, forcing the deep safety to stay in the middle, freeing up space for Burkhead to defeat his defender over the top.
Belichick also highlights Jonathan Jones’ technique from the slot against Ted Ginn Jr., calling it “a good fundamental play.” That’s certainly one way for Jones to get more playing time.
“We had some short yardage problems against Kansas City,” Belichick admit as he watched Mike Gillislee score on the goal line, highlighting the blocking ability of Rob Gronkowski and Cam Fleming.