Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels held conference calls with reporters today.
Some of the things we learned:
Full load for Revis. Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis was eased back into the mix in the season opener as he came back from ACL surgery, playing 53 of 75 defensive snaps. This past Sunday against the Saints, he played 70 of 73 snaps. "It definitely looks like he’s back and playing well," Belichick said.
Gronkowski affects plans. As ESPN's Stats and Information pointed out Tuesday, Patriots tight ends rank last in the NFL in receptions, yards and drop percentage, and 31st in targets. So it seemed sort of obvious when McDaniels said that if tight end Rob Gronkowski plays for the first time this season, it would naturally have a trickle-down effect on the team's plans. "I think any time you have a player that can make the kind of impact that Rob has made in the past, if you have a player like that back, it has to affect your plan and hopefully only in a positive manner," he said.
Getting a feel for Buccaneers' sub packages. Tampa played quite a bit of dime defense Sunday against the Saints, using safety Mark Barron (2012 first-round pick) in a linebacker-type role and often matching him up against the tight end. The Buccaneers played dime when the Saints went to "11 personnel" grouping (1 back, 1 tight end, 3 receivers) and that could be the key matchup to Sunday's game. In the nickel, second-round draft choice Johnthan Banks came on as the fifth defensive back and played outside corner, pushing starter Leonard Johnson into the slot.
Family affair for McDaniels assistants. This will mark the first time that McDaniels, the Patriots' offensive coordinator, is on the opposite sideline as his brother Ben, a Buccaneers coaching assistant, in a regular season game. "I wish him all the success in the world because he is my brother, but for one weekend we’re going to try to do everything we can to be successful on our side," Josh McDaniels said. "I know they will do the same."