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

Pats backup QB's role-play to mirror Eagles' style
November 25, 2011, 12:41 am
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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."