New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.
Q: When you have a situation like you guys had on Sunday where there are a lot of cameras focused on the sideline, have you heard from relatives and friends who don’t get to see you on television too much?
BO: I heard from my mom, [to] watch my language. It’s just two competitive guys that want the best for the team. We’ve moved on to Denver; getting ready for Denver now.
Q: One thing that seemed apparent in that situation is that you coach Tom Brady the same way you coach everyone else, you didn’t shy away from coaching him. At what point did you realize that could be the case or that he wanted that to be the case?
BO: Again, I’d really like to focus on Denver today. When you walk in the door here and you work for Bill Belichick, you’re going to learn how to coach and you’re going to learn how to play. That’s one of the things that we pride ourselves on here is coaches and players looking to improve every day and communicating with each other every day and sometimes communication takes different forms and it’s an intense environment, a competitive environment and the players would want it no other way and the coaches would want it no other way. That’s what it is and again we’re getting ready for Denver and that same type of environment, going into a very hostile environment in Denver against a very good team so we need to have a great practice week and bring a good game plan out to Denver.
Q: What the cameras caught on Sunday isn’t something that we see a whole lot of. Is there anything that happened that you regret?
BO: Again, guys we’re moving onto Denver here; that was the Redskins game. I communicate with the players all the time, the communication takes different forms at times obviously. Again, we’re focused on Denver at this point and that’s what we’re game planning for right now so I’d really like to just focus on Denver.
Q: Since Tim Tebow doesn’t play defense, I guess we’ll ask you about some other guys. What challenges do the two edge rushers bring?
BO: Both those guys, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, those guys are explosive guys that have different rush techniques, good speed. It’s a fast defense overall. We’re going to have to do a good job, especially early in the game of getting used to the speed of the game as it relates definitely to those two guys and then the rest of the defense too. It’s a real challenge, especially on the road with the crowd noise and all those different things that will go into the game plan.
Q: How confident are you that you can win important playing games in January with the guys you’ve got and the way you run the ball?
BO: January, it’s the middle of December and we’re getting ready to play Denver. There is a game plan being put together right now. As far as my confidence in our players on offense, I have tremendous confidence in everybody we put out there on offense. Again, we’re just putting it together right now and hopefully we’ll have three really good days of practice and a walkthrough on Saturday and be ready to go on Sunday.
Q: What does it say about Nate Solder that he’s maybe had a little bit more on his plate this year than your typical rookie offensive tackle, specifically being the extra tight end?
BO: That’s a great question. You can’t say enough about what Nate has done as a rookie. Again, being coached by Dante [Scarnecchia] is a big deal too because he came in and was able to be under Dante’s guidance right away as a rookie. That’s really important because we do put a lot on his plate and we ask him to know different parts of the game plan obviously. He’s done a good job. He fits right into that group of the veterans that we have up there. Another guy is Brian Waters, who came in this year, new to the system and has had a really good year and obviously our veteran players that have been here for awhile. It’s a good, solid group of guys and Nate has done an excellent job of coming in here and contributing.
Q: We saw plenty of Tiquan Underwood on that interception but he did play a bunch of plays before that, more than we’ve seen. What did you see from him? What went into that decision to have him on the field when Deion Branch went down?
BO: One of the things we really stress here is how you practice and how you handle the game plan. We felt like Tiquan, along with the other guys we put out on the field there, were ready with the game plan and what we were trying to do with that. Obviously, we felt like they matched up well against some of the things that the Redskins were doing; him along with all the other guys that played in that game, those were the guys that we went into the game prepared to play with.
Q: How much of that too was availability of your other receivers? It looked like Deion Branch was out late and Chad Ochocinco‘s playing time dipped in the second half. Did something come up where he wasn’t available to you at the end?
BO: No, it was just the type of game we were playing and what they were doing defensively – those were the players that we went with at that time of the game.
Q: Is there a particular teaching moment for Tiquan Underwood or receivers on that particular play in question going forward that you would advise your wide receivers on what to do and what not to do on that play going forward into a game like Denver?
BO: There is a teaching moment probably on every single play, for everybody. That’s why we meet on Mondays. You go through the tape and have a good meeting, communicate as to what we want to do better and some things that we’ve done really well. At the end of the day, we’ve been a very productive offense this year. There’s a lot more good than bad. The things that we’re correcting, we’re trying to get corrected as quickly as possible. The guys that we have, they really do work hard at correcting them. There are things that you can correct on a lot of plays. That was one play in the game of I think we ran 60-some-odd plays in that game, so we try to correct and move on.
Q: Speaking of film session, what’s it like when you guys go back and look at Rob Gronkowski shedding would-be tacklers? What’s it like watching that with the group?
BO: He’s an impressive guy who is a very physical player and has done good job every week for us, along with Aaron [Hernandez] at that position, of understanding the game plan and how we want to attack the opposing team. Those guys, both those guys being in their second year, obviously it’s pretty impressive what they’ve done to this point. They just need to try to improve every day, which they really try to do. They’re both hard workers, they love to practice and hopefully they’ll have continued success.
Q: Champ Bailey has been playing in the league forever. You guys have faced some good corners this year. Where does Bailey rank and is he still getting it done like he was when he was much younger?
BO: There’s no question about it. He basically covers the other team’s best receiver every week. I would say he’s definitely in the upper echelon of players. He’s in his 13th year and I don’t see any drop off with that guy. I have respect for their whole secondary with [Brian] Dawkins, [Quinton] Carter and [Andre] Goodman; Chris Harris and Jonathan [Wilhite] is out there now. They have a strong secondary and we have to be ready to go against them.