The NFL’s “mic’d up” videos always uncover something interesting. When they get Bill Belichick diagnosing the game plan, it’s gold.
On Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was caught addressing his defense late in the game on the sideline. He coached them up to perfection.
“Look, their passing game is what we said it was,” Belichick said. “It’s shots to the back, alright, and basically passes to their tight ends in the back. We got to get them in third down. Too much yardage in the running game. The ball is going outside, the backs are …”
It’s hard to decipher whether Belichick is saying “the backs are fast” or “the backs are bad” on the last part of the quote. Obviously, the wording makes a big difference in context. Considering the Patriots defense limited the Eagles running backs to 64 yards on the ground … well, it probably was the latter. Either way, credit Belichick for correctly diagnosing the Eagles’ gameplan and then stopping it.
Not only did the Patriots shut down the Eagles’ running game, but they consistently put them in tough spots on third down. Doug Pederson’s team couldn’t convert as they went 3-for-13 on third-down conversion attempts. It’s a problem that the head coach talked about Wednesday.
“A lot. A lot. That’s the thing,” Pederson said when asked about getting into more manageable third downs. “I think we were in too many second and longs. I think we had 12 or more. I think second down and eight, nine-plus, and then third and eight we had like another eight or nine of those in the game Sunday. You can’t [do that]. It’s hard to overcome.”
What’s the Role for Jay Ajayi Moving Forward?
The Eagles signed Jay Ajayi off the street last Friday and made him active for Sunday’s game. However, Ajayi didn’t see a single snap as the team turned the extra touches over to Boston Scott.
Head coach Doug Pederson explained that Ajayi just wasn’t up to speed on short notice, so he turned to Scott and Miles Sanders to carry the load. They combined to carry the ball 18 times for 64 yards. It wasn’t good enough. And Ajayi will be worked into the offense this week.
“Yes, I think there is a role [for Ajayi]. And this week, if Jordan [Howard] can’t go obviously again, then that role would increase,” Pederson said. “Don’t take what I’m saying here [the wrong way]. We signed Jay because of [Darren] Sproles.”
Pederson was referencing the quadriceps injury that ended Sproles’ season. He was placed on injured reserve late last week and may decide to call it career. Meanwhile, Howard missed last week’s game due to a shoulder injury and still hasn’t been cleared for contact. He missed Wednesday’s practice and the team is considering him day-to-day.
“It’s just a slow process right now [with Howard],” Pederson said.
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