Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent some time yesterday morning talking to the media (all quotes via Lee Schechter of ESPN Boston), covering a few interesting topics while on the podium.
One of the biggest challenges the Pats will face on Monday night will be handling Kansas City’s stable of running backs, even if star Jamaal Charles is unable to go. As Belichick notes, the Chiefs have a number of talented backs they can trot out there, and New England must contain them if they want to win this game.
"“I think they are different skill sets but they do different things with them — kind of the same plays look different depending on who is carrying the ball,” Belichick said. “Davis is strong. They are both very fast. Davis is strong — 230 pounds. He breaks tackles, good lower-body strength, hard guy to bring down. You see that on some of those kickoff returns from last year where he runs through tackles. Charles has good playing strength too, but he’s more elusive — great quickness, acceleration. …They both have great home-run speed.”"
Alex Smith has received a lot of criticism over the last year or so, but I think you have to give credit where credit is due. He may not be elite like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but he is a capable starting quarterback, and he has the ability to burn you as a defense. Bill Belichick talked about how Andy Reid and the offense read what the defense is giving them, and then they go from there.
"“There was that play last year to [Donnie] Avery — a 75-yard post. I think that is part of what Andy [Reid] does, takes what the defense gives you,” Belichick said. “If you want to lay back, they will take the short passes. Those receivers, tight ends and backs are all capable of catch-and-run plays where they turn a five-yard pass into a 25-yard gain.”"
Seattle gets credit for being the loudest stadium in football, but Arrowhead can get just as loud, and Belichick will be ready for that:
"“I think you have to be careful. I would say, like at every away game, there are going to be times that it will be really hard to do that. Other times, I’m not saying it is easy, but it’s doable,” Belichick said. “Third down is challenging on the road everywhere. Might be a little louder there; it probably is.”"
Belichick also touched on a few Patriots players, including safety Patrick Chung, and linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
"“Pat has been good. He contributes on all four downs,” Belichick said. “He was obviously familiar with our system. We are familiar with him. I’m glad that we were able to get him back on the team this year. He has contributed well on first down, third down, fourth down. Pat is pretty much the same player he was when he was here. He’s in great condition. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s a very good tackler. And versatility — he can play in a lot of different situations.”"
"“We saw him as a versatile player and we use him that way, so it’s not really a big surprise,” Belichick said. “I think the big thing for a player like Dont’a is his ability to play on third down — his ability to cover and rush the passer. Just gives your defense a lot of flexibility”"
Both of these guys have been pleasant surprises for the Pats thus far, particularly Chung, who I thought would be out of Foxboro by now. Even though Hightower has played at an All-Pro level, we all knew he would have a good season. Chung on the other hand, is a whole different story.
The former Oregon Duck struggled mightily in his first stint with New England, and I honestly thought he wouldn’t even last until the season opener. But he has exceeded expectations, mainly because he has been allowed to play to his strengths. Instead of playing a deep zone, he is playing up in the box, making physical plays against the run, and playing some good, tight man coverage all around the field. Hopefully Chung can continue his solid play going forward.