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Three-and-out with Patriots radio color commentator Gino Cappelletti

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Posted Jan. 07, 2011 @ 2:31 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Each week we'll talk to former Patriots star and current broadcaster Gino Cappelletti. This week, Gino compared this year's offense to the record-breaking one in 2007 and why the defense struggles on third down.

PFW: The season finale allowed for young WRs Julian Edelman and Taylor Price to get some playing time. What was your impression of how they looked?

Cappelletti: Once again, it showed the way they've been practicing and waiting for the opportunity to get back in there. Once they did, they displayed their talents and skills to the utmost. They are obviously very good football players and they each have their own little skills to perform. They were able to do it because of the opportunities presented to them.

PFW: How do you explain the Patriots' difficulties defending teams on third down this season?

Cappelletti: The philosophy has been a bend-but-don't-break type of defense. They might just allow a little more room on certain situations, such as third-and-short, third-and-long or third-and medium. You play different defenses in those particular areas. It's an unusual thing with teams having more time of possession. The Patriots can strike fast and score quickly, and their defense somehow allows these teams to move upfield, but then again, not score, since they are outscoring their opponents by a wide margin.

PFW: Earlier in the season, when Randy Moss was still on the team, you compared this offense to the one in 2007. Now, with the regular season over, how does this one compare?

Cappelletti: This one is more potent. They got their running backs that can go the distance and they got running backs that can get the big chunks of yardage. It's a great combination because when you can run the football as the Patriots are really able to do, that makes the passing game even better, especially with the play-action. They are in search of the endzone more than I thought they were in '07 and they are able to accomplish that. They know every drive they want to score points because you can never have enough points after seeing the comebacks you see in the NFL now. Teams catch on fire in the last quarter and can put some points up if the defense is having a tough day or if the defense is starting to retreat a little bit. That's the philosophy they have: points. If you can keep putting up 30 points, you've given yourself a good edge. That also means you're getting out on top early on an opponent, and you start playing with the lead, and playing with a lead is a lot better than playing from behind.

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