Chargers vs Patriots Q&A: "pressure Tom Brady"

I hit up Jamie over at Musket Fire to get a little insight for this weekend’s game against the Patriots. Here is a little Q&A that we did: 

1. Do you remember the last time your team won a game in the playoffs? (I do know what it was and it makes me sad)  
Of course I do! It was part of the what-could-have-been perfect season in the AFC Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers. It does seem like a distant memory at this point and I think the lack of playoff victories prompted all of the offseason moves the Patriots made.

2 How will the loss of starting center Dan Koppen affect the team?
Dan Koppen is a great center, but Dan Connolly came in for him and you couldn’t tell the difference. Bill Belichick mentioned in a conference call that the game plan did not change when Connolly went in. We’ll have to wait and see if Connolly can make the line adjustments against some of the more craftier defenses, but so far so good.

3 416 passing yards allowed to
Chad Henne? Is it the Patriots plan to try and outscore everyone in a shootout?
Of course not. It should be noted that 213 of the Dolphins’ total yards came on their final three drives of the games in what was essentially junk time, but it’s still a concern. Albert Haynesworth said that the defense is going to have to improve if they want to win more ball games, especially against an offense like San Diego’s. I think Patriots fans are going to have to have some patience because the defense is brand new (4-3 now) and they did not have any mini-camps to get it installed.

4 Ocho Cinco with only 1 catch in that pass happiness on Monday. Should we expect anything different from him?
The jury’s out on Ochocinco at this point. Tedy Bruschi called him publicly and told him to stop being a spectator and be a contributor, and Rodney Harrison backed that stance up. There’s some worry in New England that the Pats have another Joey Galloway on their hands, but like with installing the new defense, Chad needs some time without the full offseason.

5 How do you beat this year’s Patriots? 

Norv Turner said it in his conference call: pressure Tom Brady. The team is riding on his back right now and if he’s off, we’ve yet to see anybody else step up, be it in the running game or on defense. You have to get Tom off his point and out of the pocket. He’s tremendous at sliding away from pressure in the pocket but if there is no pocket, he’s in trouble. Pressure combined with short- to mid-zone coverage (unless you think you can match up man-to-man) is the recipe until proven otherwise.

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