FOXBORO -- If you're wondering what goes through Bill Belichick's mind when he moves offensive players to the defensive side of the ball, well, he'll tell you. The Patriots coach was pretty open on Friday when talking about making those moves.
Belichick has taken two wide receivers and used them as defensive backs in the Patriots' last two games: Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater. And while Belichick never specifically came out and named them, he did discuss the thought process of a coach -- at any level -- when moving offensive players to the defensive side of the ball or vice versa.
"At whatever point a coach takes a player from offense and puts him on defense, there is usually a reason for that. I would say the reason usually is that hes not enough of a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. What coach is going to take your best playmaker and put him on defense? You just wouldnt do that, all the things being equal.
"You get a guy who is big and strong and tough, but hes just not elusive enough runner, he just cant run over everybody, you can run over guys that are smaller than you but at some point when everybody is the same size, you just cant run over those guys and he doesnt have the elusiveness then you put him over on defense and you get a more elusive running back. "
Clearly, Edelman and Slater aren't New England's best offensive playmakers. The Patriots have many of those.
But perhaps Belichick's thoughts on moving offensive players to defense gives us even more of an answer as to why he's decided to give Edelman and Slater a shot on defense the last few weeks.
"Whether thats at high school, college or wherever it is, and I tell the defensive players all the time, Dont kid yourself. If you were a big enough playmaker, you would have stayed on offense. Either at the high school or the college level they would have put you out there and youd be out there having 100 yard receiving game or 150 yard rushing games. Youd be doing that. Dont kid yourself,' " said Belichick.
BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.
The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.
The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.
“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”
McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”
That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.
Devin McCourty says that if the Patriot win the Super Bowl years from now people will remember the win, not the fact Roger Goodell did not attend AFC Championship.