Playing the Patriots is never going to be an easy task, especially on a short week. It’s tough enough to prepare for this team when they have a full week. With only three days, it will only tougher.
Yes, Shane Vereen is missing the game, as is Danny Amendola. It seems that Rob Gronkowski is likely to be out as well. But, as long as that quarterback, we know and love him, is in the game, that team is always dangerous. When he gets that up-tempo offense moving, very little can be done to stop it. Rex talked about the preparation yesterday:
It’s tough, there’s no question it’s tough. They talk about the Eagles being fast or whatever, but if anybody is faster than New England, I sure haven’t seen it and I’ve been around football a long time. They definitely challenge you with their tempo and he runs several different tempos. He can go super-fast, he can go just fast or he can slow it down a little. He does different things. They’re very good at it. Their personnel, they’ll run different personnel groupings on. You have to be sharp. They’ll hold their calls to try to get you to signal in your call late so they can see what you’re in. They do a lot of things that challenge a defense. It is hard to replicate on the practice field, it absolutely is. But there are things you can do (during practice). As I mentioned before, you show the card, you let them break the huddle and as they’re breaking the huddle you signal in your defense. Those are some of the things we’ve done.
He knows that the defense has to be ready to move to keep up:
You’ve got to be quick with your calls. You have to be dialed into your game, into your game plan. Down and distance certainly is part of it and so is their personnel. Sometimes you get your call in too quick and that allows them (to react). You never want to give up a black piece on the chess board, so to speak. You want on defense, the advantage that we have, is that we get to make the last move. And I think that’s something that you never want to give up no matter how fast their tempo is because sometimes they’ll slow it down on purpose to get you (to) make your call. And then all of a sudden they’ll give you a different look. So that’s part of the gamesmanship as well on it. But, certainly you’ve got to be on top of it.
This game will be a true test as to how good this team really is. We will find out tomorrow night.