Belichick was casually asked Wednesday how he will match up Patriots cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner with Detroit Lions wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate this weekend. Belichick changed the subject and went on a filibuster.
“Those are two great players,” Belichick said about Johnson and Tate during a conference call. “It’s a hard team to match up with period, just because of the ability level of the skill players. The quarterback is obviously very good. They have good depth at running back, and those guys are a problem. Same thing with the tight ends, they have quality players at that position and use them in different roles. Those are tough matchups.
“Certainly, Tate’s a very difficult player to defend, given his ability to attack the defense at all three levels. He can take a short play and turn it into a long one, like he did against New Orleans. He’s good at intermediate routes, and he can obviously get behind the defense, so that’s a problem.
“Calvin Johnson, every superlative you could say about him, they’re all true. His production since he’s been in the league is historical. So, he speaks for himself there. (Jeremy) Ross and (Corey) Fuller have both done a good job in their roles as the kind of third receiver. They’re both good players; Ross has done a good job in the kicking game. He’s a tough guy to bring down, a very aggressive runner, and he does the same thing on offense. Hard guy to tackle.
“The matchups across the board are hard. They’re hard for our defensive backs on their receivers, both of the tight ends and backs are hard matchups, too, and the quarterback’s good. So, it’s a tough team to prepare for, it’s a tough team to match up against, but we’ll try to figure out what the best way to do it is. But they certainly create a lot of problems with their players and with their scheme.”
If Revis covers Johnson on Sunday, that likely would leave Browner on a tight end and either Kyle Arrington or Logan Ryan on Tate. If Revis covers Tate, Browner likely would cover Johnson with safety help over the top. The Patriots mix man and zone coverages as well, so the Lions should see an assortment of Cover 1, Cover 2 and Cover 3 looks.
Thumbnail photo via Elise Amendola/Associated Press
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