The New England Patriots will face one of the NFL’s premier defenses today and for head coach Bill Belichick this means one thing: stressing ball security. The Patriots need to do a better job than last week, when they turned the football over a combined three times, if they plan on leaving Jacksonville win a win under their collective belt – and Belichick knows it: “There’s nothing more important for us in this game than taking care of the ball,” he said in this week’s edition of the Belestrator.
"There's nothing more important for us in this game than taking care of the ball."— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 15, 2018
BB previews the Jaguars on the Belestrator. pic.twitter.com/x4jLbG8NGA
The breakdown stars with Belichick and host Scott Zolak taking a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ high-powered defense. Using adjectives like “fast” and “athletic”, Belichick points out that the unit does a good job of rushing the quarterback and is able to close space quickly versus the pass.
An interception during last year’s playoffs is shown as an example: cornerback Jalen Ramsey deflects a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Barry Church is able to run it back for a touchdown. After that play, Belichick and Zolak take a look at middle linebacker Myles Jack and how his athleticism makes him a threat to quickly turn takeaways into points.
The conversation then changed to the offensive side of the football, where Keelan Cole established himself as a potent option at the wide receiver position. Belichick points out that quarterback Blake Bortles does a good job of using his weapons – Cole in the example used in the breakdown – and as a very good deep ball thrower can put pressure on the deep parts of a defense.
Bortles, who has struggled with inconsistency throughout his four-year career, is also dangerous as a runner. Last week against the New York Giants, he even registered Jacksonville’s longest play of the day, a 41-yard run. “We can’t let him out [of the pocket],” Belichick said about the former first-round draft pick. The Patriots’ head coach noted that the Jaguars’ big play ability is generally something his team needs to be prepared for.
“Between their running game, their defense and their big plays on offense, they can score in a hurry,” Belichick said.