Carroll: Patriots' offensive play to change other teams

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Carroll: Patriots' offensive play to change other teams

FOXBORO -- Pete Carroll enjoys playing against people that he knows. He said just as much in a conference call on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.
He'll play against a familiar Patriots organization on Sunday. Although, the only thing he'll be truly familiar with is the owner who ousted him in the late 90's.
"It's not a big factor," said Carroll about playing his old team. "It's a long time ago, to me. But I'm aware of it.
"I regret that we weren't able to get it done the way we wanted to. We did some really good things and were close. But I learned so much coming out of that experience, that it changed me."
A lot has changed since Carroll left New England and eventually landed in Seattle, coaching the Seahawks.
But as he prepares his defense to take on Tom Brady's juggernaut offense, Carroll believes that "change" is just getting started.
By now, everybody knows what New England's game plan is, offensively. Call it a "hurry-up" or call it "no-huddle," just don't call it routine.
Carroll believes other teams will soon follow suit.
"There's nobody in the National Football League that's close, at this time," said the Seahawks coach in a conference call on Wednesday. "But there will be. The Patriots will affect other people, I'm sure, because they've had so much success already.
"It's their willingness to go this fast, as consistently as they have demonstrated, that separates them from other teams," added Carroll, while saying the only team in football using this system are the Oregon Ducks. "There's nobody that's tried to play like they're playing. They've taken on a different approach and a philosophy that I think singles them out, in their commitment to the tempo. And that's cool to watch."
The Patriots' no-huddle offense is so effective because of the fact that it wears defenses down throughout an extended drive. But Carroll looks at another aspect -- he believes defenses are conditioned enough to handle it, but they just may not be smart or quick enough between the ears to instinctively line up for the next play correctly.
"Once the ball snaps, we play fast, but it's the problem of getting everybody where they've got to go before the snap, and doing the things we've got to do," said Carroll. "That's the challenge to it. If we line up, and we get our assignments right, and play well technique-wise, then we'll have a chance to show you what we're all about. If not, then we'll look like the other teams that they're playing, and the Patriots will have their way."
So how do you prepare for it?
"You've got to play really fast," said Carroll. "So, we'll see if we can get lined up and execute like we're capable. And that's what they're hoping that we don't.
"We're going to try to practice fast, and see if we can catch up with it."

Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

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Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

FOXBORO -- Michael Floyd has been with the Patriots for about a month, and he admits he still has a lot to learn.

Specifically when it comes to his rapport with Tom Brady, Floyd knows there's room for improvement. Against the Texans last weekend, he was targeted three times. One led to a pick. Another was almost picked. One was caught for nine yards. 

On the intercepted pass and the near-interception, Floyd ran slant routes from the left side of the Patriots formation, but he appeared to run them in ways that Brady didn't anticipate. Instead of coming back toward the ball as it approached, Floyd leaked up the field, perhaps hoping to turn what would be an intermediate gain into a bigger play. 

On WEEI earlier this week, Brady took the blame for the pick. But Floyd shouldered his share of responsibility for the turnover on Wednesday.

"You just gotta come downhill," he said. "Obviously at this time of the year, a lot of guys are really checked in on film work and how you play and splits and stuff like that. You gotta make sure you're really fundamentally sound and come downhill to every single ball."

It's one of many lessons Floyd has tried to absorb since being claimed off of waivers by the Patriots in mid-December.

In the regular-season finale against the Dolphins, he looked to be learning at an impressive rate as he caught three passes for 36 yards and laid a monster block that helped spring Julian Edelman for the longest touchdown reception of his career. 

As he prepared for the AFC title game, though, he acknowedleged that he has a way to go -- particularly when it comes to understanding the nuances of how his ever-demanding quarterback wants things done.

"I've only been here a month so I think that's every single day," Floyd said of getting to know Brady's preferences. "I gotta keep my head in the playbook and ask questions. That's what I do every single day. There's nothing wrong about asking a question. They see that I'm the new guy here, and I -- for the most part -- get all the answers that I need."

He added: "Tom likes things a certain way. Me being the new guy, or any of us, we make sure that we do it that way."

Patriots-Steelers practice report: Full participation for Pats

Patriots-Steelers practice report: Full participation for Pats

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

DID NOT PRACTICE
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
TE Ladarius Green (concussion)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)

FULL PARTICIPATION
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)