Pats backup QB's role-play to mirror Eagles' style

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Pats backup QB's role-play to mirror Eagles' style

The quarterback styles of Tom Brady and Michael Vick are well documented and very different.

For that reason, you can bet that it's a little tougher for the Patriots to replicate an offense that will be similar to that of the Eagles' come Sunday, meaning the Pats defense could be in for a few surprises.

Bill Belichick isn't going to have Brady play the part of Vick and waste precious practice time that is obviously needed with the offense -- specifically Brady's wide receivers.

That's where backup quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett come in.

No, those QB's aren't scramblers either -- and of course neither have the skills that somebody like Vick has -- but they can at least offer probable scenarios for the Patriots defense to respond to.

"We try to get it, yeah, we try to get it with the quarterbacks running around, whether its Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer running around some," Belichick said. "Some of their plays are conducive to that their bootlegs plays and roll out plays and things like that, where it's just part of the play.

"But there are also other plays where we tell them if it breaks down to scramble around. Of course we cant simulate his speed and athleticism; I don't think anybody really can, but we can at least build an awareness of it and try to simulate it the best we can, but it's not quite the same."

As far as how the Patriots plan on defending Vick, it's yet to be determined. The pass rush has been an improvement as of late on the Patriots' defensive line, but getting to either Vick or Vince Young will take some extra work.

"Well, the players who are pass rushing the quarterback have a responsibility to keep him within the framework of the pocket," Bill Belichick said. "Depending on what the defensive call is, sometimes we have a person assigned to a scrambling quarterback; sometimes we dont, again depending on what defense we're in and what the call is. Weve done that both ways. If we assign somebody to him, then obviously that guy has him and the other people can be more aggressive in the rush."

To keep Vick or Young in check, the Pats will need to come around from the edges (think Andre Carter and Mark Anderson) and keep them in the pocket. Don't be surprised if you see a linebacker or two "spy" on Vick, waiting for the potential scramble and rush. We've all seen what he can do with just a few yards of open space.

"If we don't assign somebody to him, then everybody has to be more lane conscious," Belichick said. "It's kind of like, on a smaller scale, a punt return, where somebody has to be outside, somebody has to be inside and you have to keep the ball leveraged."

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."