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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
Each week we'll talk to former Patriots star and current broadcaster Gino Cappelletti. This week, Gino talked about what Logan Mankins' return means for the team and how head coach Bill Belichick prepares his teams to avoid trap games.
PFW: What does having (OLG) Logan Mankins back do for the Patriots?
Cappelletti: Just by his presence, they're happy. It's always nice to have a happy player and a happy team. When there seems like something is missing, when it's replaced, there's excitement that goes along with it. Plus he's a very, very good offensive lineman. He is very strong, has great hands and great strength in his hands, which seems to be a big part of the blocking schemes nowadays. His familiarity with what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to do it is key. He's working next to the center and that's important. They all recognize the same things that they're supposed to, when the center calls out changes or where the middle linebacker is, and then the guards are able to pick it up and do what they have to do.
PFW: How does Bill Belichick keep his Patriots teams from having letdowns like they could have this weekend against the Browns?
Cappelletti: He will constantly remind them that the schedule has to be played one game at a time and that you should never look beyond the week ahead and the players and team you are preparing for. Outsiders would say that this is definitely a trap game. I don't hear about that being mentioned internally that much, but it obviously can be a big trap game because they are playing Pittsburgh the following week. You tell them forget about Pittsburgh, we've got Cleveland. He is able to sell them on that focus on that present game and that present game only.
PFW: This seems to be a bend-but-not-break defense, why hasn't it broken?
Cappelletti: (Belichick) really works on situational football — different situations that arise before the game. If you haven't been there before, you won't know how to act or react. He's done this since training camp — dealing with the types of plays that happen in the red zone and how to stop things attempted. Whether it is a slant, off-tackle, a swing, a play-action throw — all these things are being worked on and have been worked on as to what they will do in every situation. It's very quick in (the red zone), and the team that will recognize the scheme on the offense or defense will usually win those battles. The Patriots are doing that right now. They are giving up a lot of yardage (in between the 20s) and it does tell a story. They are ranked near the bottom of the league in total yardage and passing defense. That's the one that kind of scares me, their pass defense giving up a lot of yardage.