Passing along some soundbites from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's Tuesday afternoon conference call with local media.
"We're into the middle of the Denver stuff here. They've looked good in all three phases of the game, as I said yesterday. Really active on defense, especially with their front. Those guys are very disruptive, [Derek] Wolfe, he's done a good job for them. He's stepped in there, got a lot of playing time, along with some of the regular guys they have in there. Of course [Elvis] Dumervil, Von Miller. Two very, very active guys. There's some strong guys in the secondary, they added [Tracy] Porter, you know Champ [Bailey], that's a good group as well. And offensively it's a good group of playmakers, with of course Peyton [Manning], [Eric] Decker, [Demaryius] Thomas, [Brandon] Stokley as the third receiver. Good backs. [Joel] Dreesen, [Jacob] Tamme, guys that can make plays as a tight end. Solid offensive line. Good football team, of course [head coach John Fox] on defense, does a good job as usual: mixing things up, giving a lot of pressure, mixing coverages. They're very well coached, and they have a good group of players."
On tight end Daniel Fells
"Dan's had a good experience and production in the league. We've seen him do a lot of different things: block, catch, play in the kicking game, pass protect. All the things you see a tight end do. I wouldn't really classify him as one-dimensional guy, this is what he does. I think he's got a good set of skills, and can do a number of things at the tight-end position. He's got good size, runs well, he's a smart guy, versatile, adjustable to assignments, different information, adjustments, things like that. He's a good combination of skills and a versatile player for us at that position."
On how important balance is to an offense
"I think it's a great way to play, because it just forces the defense to have to react and cover everything. Defensively, that's where you want them, you want them to think about all their responsibilities: outside runs, inside runs, deep passes, short passes, screen passes, misdirection plays, inside routes, outside routes, inside receivers, outside receivers. Just to have good balance keeps them from ganging up on one thing. If you can do that, then it opens up a lot of other things. As an example, like on the touchdown pass to [Rob] Gronkowski [in Week 4], it's so hard to get a player like that that open on a drop-back pass. The defenders see the pass and they go to match their coverage and take their guy, but when you can have a run action that draws the defenders up, you get a guy behind them like Rob did on that play. A big part of that play was the play action, and the run threat that we had presented in the game had caused the linebackers to displace a little bit and we were able to get behind them, so the running game helps the passing game, the passing game helps the running game. Throwing to the receivers helps the tight end, throwing to the tight ends helps the receivers, throwing to the receivers helps the backs. It just all creates spacing and forces the defense to handle the whole field, and I think that just gives the offense good opportunities. I think that's a good way to be able to attack offensively. Sometimes a defense will be intent in taking a certain aspect of your game away, and say, 'OK, we're not going to let you beat us with this, so we're going to give you that,' you have to be able to do that."
"We kind of go through this every week, players on other teams. James Ihedigbo, Mark Anderson, whoever it is, there's players on other teams that have played for us and yeah, it's a little bit unusual, but it is what it is and we haven't seen Dan Koppen in another uniform, but we've seen plenty of other players in situations when that happened. That's the way it is in the NFL, you can find that on every team around the league."
His assessment of center Ryan Wendell so far
"I think Ryan's done well, I think Ryan's done well. As with any player, there are definitely things that he can improve on, but Ryan works hard, he's a smart guy. He definitely is very attentive to details and coaching, and when you ask him to do something, he really tries to do it the way you ask him to. He came to camp in good shape, he's been out there every day, he's worked hard, and he's continued to get better. I think he's played good, solid, including the preseason. He's had a good solid stretch here of playing good football."