Behind Enemy Lines: Patriots (1 of 2)

Charlie talks to Jon Scott from Patriots Insider (Part 1 of 2)

Charlie Bernstein: As everyone knows, the Pats rolled through the regular season at a record pace. If they finish their mission with a fourth Super Bowl ring this decade, they will certainly be among the best teams ever, if not the greatest team ever. If you were the Jaguars, how would you attack them?

Jon Scott: That's probably what every defensive coordinator who's faced them this season has asked. The top way to get to the Patriots is to put the heat on Tom Brady, but not by sending 6 guys on a blitz. The Steelers are notorious for sending guys from different positions to create pressure on the quarterback. If you get there, that's one thing, if you don't, you're going to pay like no other.

On defense: You have to get pressure with your front four, and find a way to prevent he big play. Even when you're doing both of those things, you have to keep an eye on Wes Welker so Brady can't just keep dinking and dunking the ball down the field.

On offense: You have to keep the ball away from Brady. You're going to give up points, but you can throw them out of their rhythm by controlling the clock, and wearing down the Patriots defense.

CB: Tom Brady can make all the throws, is one of the greatest winners in sports, appears intelligent, is good-looking, and currently dates a super model. Many suspect that no human being can be this perfect, and he could be a robot of some sort. Is Brady not good at something? Anything

JS: Well, you'd be hard pressed to find it. He's a very competitive person both on and off the field. From what you can translate into football characteristics, it would have to be his foot speed. Brady isn't the fastest guy out there, and he won't win any foot races.

CB: I believe that one of the most underrated players on New England is running back Kevin Faulk. Just how much has he meant to the team this year, and throughout their fantastic runs of this decade?

JS: We did a three keys piece early in the season and it became obvious week after week that Faulk deserved to be one of those keys – or at least play a part in it regularly. His value comes at times when the other components of the Patriots' offense aren't working as well as they should be. He blocks well, he catches the ball out of the backfield well, he runs a draw play as well as any back the team has had in the past Super Bowl runs. Faulk is the all around back, much like a Brian Westbrook without all the moves.

Watch how Tom Brady will use Faulk as a check down against Jacksonville. He'll also show up in the passing game on short dump offs or screen passes.

CB: Will the Patriots put an extra man in the box to try and stop the Jaguars rushing attack?

JS: There's no doubt the Patriots want to force David Garrard to have to pass the ball to beat them. They have a tendency to do very well at slowing down what an opponent does well, so that they limit the amount of success the oppositions top threat can have.

I expect you see Rodney Harrison and James Sanders creep up toward the middle to slow down both Taylor and Jackson. Remember, aside from one fluke play last year when Jones-Drew broke off a 74-yard TD burst, the Patriots did a fairly decent job at limiting the Jaguars ground game.

CB: What is the best way to play the Patriots receivers? Get physical with them at the line of scrimmage and hope you don't miss and them go by you, or lay back and give them the underneath?

JS: Teams have done both. You can stop the Patriots receivers for most of the game by banging them around – that is if they let you just lineup and jam them. When teams start to get physical, the Patriots put their receivers in motion and run some other patterns to make over aggressive corners bite early and get burned deep. Take a look at the Pittsburgh game to get an illustration of how the Steelers tried to bang Randy Moss around to intimidate him. The Patriots just slide their options over to other receivers when Moss doesn't' get open.

If Jacksonville doesn't want the game to get out of hand early, then they'll have to keep a safety (or two deep). The Patriots system is designed to exploit the gaps in coverage if the defense is too deep. The game really comes down to matchups.


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