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Five questions with Patriots radio color commentator Gino Cappelletti

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Posted Nov. 10, 2011 @ 8:35 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

In this week's "Five questions with ..." segment, former Patriots star and current radio color commentator Gino Cappelletti discusses the offense and previews the Jets game.

PFW: Tom Brady and the offense have had some struggles in the last few games. What have you observed as the reasons for his shaky play?
Cappelletti: It's a copycat league. As soon as they see a defense bothering (Brady) to a point where he's throwing the ball on the ground and isn't as accurate and timing is off, that surfaced with Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh played man-to-man coverage and had good success with it. Teams are looking at what other teams are doing and then they see if there's success, they start implementing those things into their plans. The only other thing I can say is Tom has 10 interceptions, and six of them have been deflections. You can look at them that way, too.

PFW: It seems the Patriots have struggled to find consistency in the secondary. Why has that been the case?
Cappelletti: How do you find those guys? All of a sudden they come to your team and you see they have the ingredients to be that player. Rodney Harrison came in — they knew he was a hard hitter — but he really emerged even more. Those were the things they were looking for from (Brandon) Meriweather, and that didn't happen. Sometimes you just got to get lucky. You can have a defensive back who can also play as a linebacker — boy, that's a big deal for a defense. You can slip a safetyman up there, and he can do the things you're looking for from a linebacker, yet he's small in stature but he delivers a blow and delivers in coverage. Those are things that confuse opponents.

PFW: What will it take to get Chad Ochocinco to be making an impact?
Cappelletti: More playing time in the games, but that's something you can't afford to do if he makes mistakes, like not running the route properly. You can't afford anybody making mistakes, and that is key in a fluid, operating offense and a fluid, operating defense. Everybody has to be on the same page. You need that continuity; it's so important. If he got more playing time, I think we might see a little different Ochocinco. He needs to get in there and do the right things.

PFW: How does the offense counter defenses that play the type of press, man coverage we saw Pittsburgh do and we can expect from the Jets?
Cappelletti: You've got to alter your route at the start, and that might take a little off the timing. These are the things you discuss on the sideline or in the huddle, telling Tom, "I'm going to have to make a little outside release here. It might be a little longer if I can make that curl pattern over the middle." You've just got to make some changes.

PFW: Considering the three-way tie in the AFC East, how important is Sunday night's game against the Jets?
Cappelletti: The Jets need a win over the Patriots to even up the series. Buffalo already has that. The Jets have a win on Buffalo. It's a real interesting situation. There are eight games left to play, and the Patriots have a pretty good schedule as far as teams that are kind of hurting with their win-loss record. That might be a benefit for them. In the end, you've just got to go out and win a football game, week after week. This is a big game, and it can certainly position some of the teams as far as making that playoff run in the second half of the season. A lot of teams have wound up in the Super Bowl with a good second-half run. If they do suffer a loss, there's still a chance for them to get in. They'd only be falling back one game. It'd be hard to recover from two or three games (behind), at this point.

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