December 17, 2018 / 10:47 PM / 9 months ago

Belichick not worried about Pats' run D

Dec 16, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills: While his team sits at 5-9 and he continues to rely on young players who bring little fanfare, coach Sean McDermott actually believes such reliance is proof his plan is working. “It’s really the type of culture we’re trying to build where I can walk into the team meeting room on Wednesday morning and say, ‘Hey, Player X has earned the right to be brought up to the active roster,’” McDermott said during his Monday news conference, noting he played six undrafted rookies Sunday. “And the players, I think they really get a lot of motivation out of that and take pride in that because they know what type of culture we’re trying to build and that you’ve got to earn things here.”

Miami Dolphins: With veteran Frank Gore likely out the remainder of the season with a foot injury, Dolphins coach Adam Gase has some evaluating to do at running back these last two games. One back likely to get more carries is rookie Kalen Ballage. After rushing for a total of 11 yards in his first nine games, Ballage broke out with 123 yards — including a 75-yard score — against the Vikings. But don’t count Gase among those surprised. “That long run he had, that’s how he runs every day (at practice),” Gase said. “That’s how he finishes every day. ... When he gets a carry with the offense, he finishes in the end zone.”

New England Patriots: The Patriots have surrendered at least 150 yards rushing five times this season and are 1-4 in those games. That includes the last two games, both losses. But don’t expect Bill Belichick to place a renewed emphasis on stopping the run as the postseason approaches. “Look, each week you try to defend whatever the offense your opponents do — running game and passing game, situational football, third down, red area and everything else,” Belichick said during his weekly conference call. “So, what you do is a function of what they do, and that’s really more of a week-to-week thing for us. Whatever the league trends are or aren’t, I don’t really know that it matters. ... It doesn’t really matter what the whole league does.”

New York Jets: While the Jets on Saturday hit double-digit losses for the third straight season and fourth time in five seasons, this offseason is sure to be different with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold providing the franchise plenty of hope for the future. Coach Todd Bowles may not be around to see Darnold develop beyond this season, but he offered his take on a key to Darnold’s success, and it’s not necessarily his arm. “He got out of the pocket and made some plays. He gave us a chance to try and win the ball game,” Bowles said during a conference call on Sunday. “He’s getting comfortable, he’s making plays with his feet and he’s finding the open areas.”

—Field Level Media

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