DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MATT PATRICIA
Q: Against Tampa Bay, Washington came out with some unique groupings of three and four wide receivers. Is that something you’ve seen before and could you talk a bit about what you’ve seen from Kirk Cousins?
MP: Sure, well I mean I think Washington with the sets that you’re talking about, that is something that we’ve definitely seen with the empty sets where they’ll try to stick four receivers to one side and a single receiver to the back side. Obviously it’s a formation look where they’re trying to see how you’re going to play versus the overloaded formation, what’s it look like on the back side, what does the front side look like, what’s the numbers in the coverage relative to the amount of receivers that they can put out into the pattern. It’s another way to take and stretch you from a defense, from a horizontal standpoint and really create a lot of space to throw the ball both front side and back side, and you know, try and use the formation that they did to create some opportunity for those guys to either rub off each other or free release or get some crossing routes out of it. [It’s] definitely a difficult scheme, something that’s incorporated in their offense that you do see and you do see in offenses nowadays where they’re trying to get everybody out into patterns and really put the defense in an unfavorable situation based on the numbers that they put out into the pattern. As far as Kirk Cousins, I think Coach [Belichick] did a great job as far as explaining just how disciplined he’s been and what a good job he’s done from just really running this offense and controlling the clock and managing the game and getting the ball out to a numerous amount of receivers, being able to run the run game with the different alerts and checks that they have that go along with it and controlling the clock, not really putting them in a lot of negative plays and then obviously converting in the third-down and red-area situations that Coach talked about. He’s done just an excellent job this year of having that all handled.
Q: Is there an emphasis on stopping them on the early downs due to their third-down success?
MP: Well I think tying all the down and distances together you’re going to try and do whatever you can on the early down situations to make sure they don’t gain any yardage, whether it’s a particular call or a particular play. You want to make sure that defensively you’re sound and that there’s not a problem where they can gain big yardage on early downs and obviously put themselves in a situation where third down is a very manageable situation. I would say all of our calls are designed to hopefully stop them on early downs, whether it’s a coverage, pressure, blitz – whatever you want to call it. I think all of those are used in appropriate situations to try to prevent the offense from gaining any yards. We’re certainly trying to match up with what they do on early downs and handle all the different things that we can see and hopefully we get some plays there where we create some negative plays. Then we’ve just got to be able to handle whatever down and distance comes up, whether it’s third-and-short, third-and-long, third-and-medium. Our job is to get off the field and handle those situations, so that’s really what we’re looking at.