Matt Patricia

MATT PATRICIA: We’ll dive right into it. Obviously not good enough performance this past weekend, that falls on me. I’ve got to do a better job of getting our guys in positions to help us win, that’s first and foremost.

I do want to give [Cardinals Head] Coach [Jonathan] Gannon credit. They did a great job of game planning. The offensive staff, Arizona really had some great schemes and ideas and got us into some different sets and looks, adjustments, both in coverage and front and did a really outstanding job of taking advantage of those situations. Those are things that I’ve got to focus on and make sure we get fixed and corrected which we will.

Our guys, they play really hard. They are out on the field competing, and it’s up to us as coaches to get them in a situation where they can go out and perform at a level that we need them to help us win.

Like I said, obviously the run game is going to be the first and foremost place where we’ve got to start. I think they did a good job of using a lot of runs that have caused issues for us that we’re going back and making sure that we have those tightened up and fixed from that standpoint. Run fits are a big part of defense and really some place you want to start from a defensive philosophy standpoint to make sure you can stop the run. I think that’s critical this time of the year. No different than the other side of the ball is trying to run the ball. We have to be able to stop it on defense and that’s got to be our focus on that end to get it handled, and they did a good job. There was some good scheme stuff they hit good for us, that was good to see now, and that we can go forward and make sure that we have it tightened up as we move forward here.

So, that’s something that we’ll work on this week and get ready as we push forward for the Giants that we know they will be looking at that film, also, and trying to use some of those runs, which they had actually some of those in the game that we played against them. We just handled them a little bit in some different looks, and so we will look at that also how we played some of those in that game the first time we had them.

But not good enough. That’s on me. We’ve got to do a better job there, especially with the run.

Q. With the run fits still an issue in Week 17, is it not being coached right or is it personnel related? (Jeff McLane)

MATT PATRICIA: It’s going to start with me from that standpoint. Making sure that we have everybody understanding of how we want to get it fit, and taking care of when we see those different looks. Sometimes it’s a little bit of a little different window dressing to it and the run may look a little different than it is, maybe still the basic run that we’ve played before and that’s some of the stuff you want to try to — I control and make sure that we are looking at the right keys from that, and that’s from a coaching standpoint, we really want to make sure that our eyes are in the right place and I’ve got to make sure that we are all on the same page.

Q. You’re saying it’s on you and you have only been the defensive coordinator for the last three games. Have you tried to change that now in these last three weeks? (Jeff McLane)

MATT PATRICIA: As far as the run fits themselves? We’re just obviously working to improve the defense as we go through the season, and different problems present themselves at different times of the year. That is definitely true. Some of the runs that we saw early in the year are different than we see later in the year. Sometimes that moves or something may happen through the course of a season or a game or a particular week that new ideas come up that a team that we haven’t maybe seen twice like we are seeing the Giants twice, and that comes up and that’s a little bit of a different look.

That is all on me. I have to make sure that we are good in the run game every single week based on the different runs that we are getting that week and what we have seen on tape from them. Like I said, give Coach Gannon credit, he has got good knowledge of the defense and things that are hard or difficult for us, and we’ve got to tighten those back up.

Q. Have you found it difficult to put an imprint on this defense given that the framework of it was already well established before you took over? (Dave Zangaro)

MATT PATRICIA: I mean, I think I said before, I think this is our defense. It’s something that we’ve been working on, the players and the coaches, it’s been a collaborative effort, I would say, from the start on all of that.

It’s not uncommon during the season for things to shift or change from what you’re seeing from opponents. It’s interesting, sometimes you see them in blocks, you might see a similar offense four weeks in a row or three weeks in a row, and then go to an offense that’s maybe a little different than what you’ve seen and now here are some different ideas or thoughts that come at you defensively from a different way or something different from a scheme standpoint that you have to adjust to and get fixed.

From that aspect, I think it’s always been that collaborative group effort with all of it, and certainly the run is the biggest focus this week that we’ve got to get fixed and handled, sure.

Q. What about the run fits made that consistent, regardless of what you guys fielded because it seemed like that would make it difficult to adjust in the middle of the game. What made it consistent across the board? (Brooks Kubena)

MATT PATRICIA: Last week, from what they were doing? Yeah, they had some really good, different run plays that we see, right. There’s zone runs, which are usually base man blocks or combination blocks that usually move in a particular direction; and then scheme or gap runs or divide-the-defense-type of plays, plays where they can try to put a hard-edge divide into it. And then you’re pulling back side defenders into the front side to try to fit as they are bringing extra people over to the side of the play. And those are always the hardest, those scheme run fits in how you are handling the different pullers and things like that, which we saw. And they did a really good job, and they did it both closed and open, which is something they did.

And then they built the formation so it may look like a closed formation, so you’re thinking this type of run and then they built it a certain way and gave it a window dressing, and it became an open-side run, with still the scheme, divide-the-defense-type of fit into it.

That’s where as a coach, my job is I have to make sure that we are seeing the play correctly in the eyes and everything is in the right direction first and foremost. So that’s why I’ve got to do a better job of that to allow those guys to play fast and fit those aggressively like we want them to.

Q. The last three games, one common theme has been the second half, I think 17 points in Seattle, 22 against the Giants, 29 Sunday. What are you seeing differently? What’s happening that’s causing the leakage in the second half where it wasn’t a problem in the first half? (Reuben Frank)

MATT PATRICIA: You know what, it’s a great question as far as I think the guys have done a really good job. We have come out and played aggressive in the first half, and I think for me, when those things happen, I always kind of just, I’ve got to put it back on myself to make sure we are getting the right calls in or we are getting the right plays out there for them. Sometimes they make adjustments and then we have to make our adjustments, too, in those situations.

And then situationally, in the second half of the football game, there’s so much more that comes in from a situational standpoint, the clock, the time, the down and distance, and those are things I’ve got to keep just going a good job of making sure that I stay in front of to allow the guys to go out there and handle those when they come up. And it comes fast in the second half. I’ve got to do a better job of that, certainly.

Q. If I can follow-up, do you sense that guys are wearing down, guys that have played a lot of snaps this year, is there any sense of that late in games? (Reuben Frank)

MATT PATRICIA: I don’t really sense that at all. Our guys work very hard. Play very aggressive. They play fast. They work hard during the course of the week to get their bodies right and be ready for game day. I don’t ever feel that on the field. I don’t ever see that.

I give our players a lot of credit and a lot of just I admire the way that they come in every single day, and they work and they study and they have to delete all the information from the week before, start over, rebuild, go, put the effort into practice, understand we’re seeing a different offense, we are seeing different scheme, we are putting in a new install or whatever it may be for that week game plan wise.

And every day is pretty regimented, whether it’s the early down day to third down to Red area and just process all that at a high rate and go out and play it on the field. For me as a coach, I just look at our players and marvel at how much they can handle.

It’s really fascinating to me, sometimes you sit in a film room and you’re clicking through plays. And as a coach, you watch the tape all day long. Maybe I played that meeting in my mind about five times before I got in there, and then you sit in there for the first time with one of our players and they are just rattling off the information that you just gave to them 30 seconds ago. I understand it’s the NFL and I understand these are the greatest athletes and best football players in the world. But at some point, I also sit there and am like, it’s pretty cool how they can do all that. It’s pretty impressive when you watch these guys that perform at that elite level. Like all of us, we don’t always perform at our best all the time, but that part of the process and what these guys do to prepare and get ready and how they play in the game, I always admire that a lot. I really do.

Q. Do you look at it like this is a two-week project, getting ready for the playoffs, or do you need to see progress against the Giants and everything, how do you approach these things, two weeks with that? (Martin Frank)

MATT PATRICIA: First and foremost, for me, it’s always going to be the Giants. We obviously have to go out and everybody wants to play well and everyone wants to go win. I think that’s what’s most important for us but certainly we have to fix the things that came up last week and those are our focuses I think before you look down the road past that.

I just think our focus has got to be us and then our preparation, getting ready to go play well this weekend. It’s the Giants. This is old school fun. I know I’m new to the division, but I’m a huge football fan and if you love football, you talk NFC East football, Giants, Eagles, all this stuff, that’s exciting to me. That’s fun. Let’s go out there and play the game and hopefully go play well. So, I enjoy all that part of it. So, I just focus on the week from that standpoint.

Q. LB Haason Reddick, about a quarter of time in drop backs, he was in coverage, what’s the rationale behind his usage in that on passing plays? (EJ Smith)

MATT PATRICIA: I think, again, game plan-wise, I think they did a good job in some of those, and I’ll come back to that and kind of got us in some situations.

I’m always conscious of making sure that I get our guys that can rush to rush as much as we can. And sometimes the game dictates or the personnel packages dictate a little differently in those situations. Sometimes the hash can dictate a little bit on that, too, where the ball is lined up.

I think that’s where I can do a better job of understanding that maybe we got caught in a spring of plays and sometimes that happens if you’re playing a really long series, sometimes it’s easier to correct that stuff, if it’s a quicker series, you come to the sideline and you’re looking at it like hey we need to do more of this. You get caught in a long series, sometimes that becomes a little bit more difficult.

So, I have to do a better job in that situation of saying, okay, I got stuck in this or we got stuck in this, let me change it and let me get, you know, certainly a guy like Haason in the mix where I think he can help us.

Other parts of the game where that may have occurred, honestly, he’s probably dropping into position to help his teammates. He’s really good at it in the situations where they got us in some spread and some empty and kind of put us in some space game which was good on their part certainly from a scheme standpoint and created some extra space there for the coverages and for the quick pass game, which is — they are getting the ball out fast.

So, he was doing a great job of being, like he always is, a great teammate of helping his teammates out in that space and not having them having to cover more when the ball was coming out as fast as it did.

Certainly, a better job by me I think in those longer drives of recognizing that in the drive itself, as opposed to we get to the sideline, we look at it, and it’s like, okay, we have to change this, let’s do this, let’s call it here and let’s move it here in that situation. We had a lot of too many long drives in the game and that’s where I can change up.

Q. How much uncertainty is there about personnel, specifically at linebacker, you have LB Zach Cunningham still waiting to come back and how much do you know what you’re going to have when you get to wherever you are in the playoffs in terms of who is going to be where, looks like you’ve got CB Darius Slay coming back and how is that going to affect it? (Bob Brookover)

MATT PATRICIA: I’ll probably just focus on this week for right now. As we go through the week, we are always having great conversations. I think Nick and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] do an amazing job of managing the roster and making sure we have everything we have and the team has everything that it has to give us a chance to win each week.

I’ve been in those situations, certainly, from that chair and it’s not easy when you look at the totality of the team and what helps you week-in week-out. That’s why I think in our position as coaches, just our side of the ball, it’s always important for us to make sure that the players have flexibility in what they can do. Not only does it put stress on the opponent to try to figure out what’s in the game and how we are using those guys.

But probably the biggest adjustment I had in pro football 20 years ago when I came into it was that the game day roster is only what it is. It’s only so large. You have to have guys that can cover other responsibilities and that game day roster is going to change week-in, week-out, based on what you need and based on injuries and things like that.

We always try to maximize everybody’s ability and what they can do and the roles that they can play, and we just take it week-by-week, and so just focus that on this week and see where we are at and as we go forward, we’ll see where the rest of everybody else is as they come back as we get ready to go forward.

Q. There was a third and two that was completed in front of CB Eli Ricks where outside corners were playing well beyond the sticks, how do you want them to defend that? (Jeff McLane)

MATT PATRICIA: Was that early in the game?

Q. Yes. (Jeff McLane)

MATT PATRICIA: I think that’s specifics of the coverage for that one just in general.

Some of those where we are kind of off on those and we are playing maybe certain patterns that we’ve seen on tape and things they do. Sometimes you play zone coverage when you think they are going to run man beaters; you play man when you think they are going to be in zone, and you can tighten up.

And a lot of that you try to go off whether it’s analytics or statistics or what you are seeing on tape and how they have tried to handle those areas of the field, certainly third and short is always a little bit more difficult in those. You play zone and there’s going to be some space, they can have quicker throws, ball is coming out faster, you play man, a lot more bunch condensed picks, rubs, things like that that happen.

When you’re in the zones and you’re in some of those different coverages, you just have to really try to match as quick as you can and as tight as you can. A lot of times, that falls on some of the underneath coverage.

Certainly from the standpoint of those plays, that particular play, I can probably put us in a better call and help us in that situation and whether we are going to be in zone or man allow us to be a little more heavy on some of those quicker throws if that’s going to happen in that situation and try to help us out a little bit better when that comes up.

Q. We were talking about Haason Reddick in coverage, whether it’s Reddick, DE Brandon Graham or LB Nolan Smith in coverage, they completed every pass in those situations. Why weren’t those situations working and is that causing you to rethink how those players are being used? (Brooks Kubena)

MATT PATRICIA: Going through every single one of those passes, obviously if they catch them all, it’s not great. That’s got to be on me from that standpoint.

If they are completing the ball it depends on the situation, was it a short pass, a quick completion, a tackle, did we keep them in a longer situation down and distance-wise. Those are guys that certainly with Haason and with BG, we want them rushing as much as we can and getting after the quarterback and sometimes the ball comes out really fast in those situations, too, and it kind of negates it in general.

Hard for us in the game. I think maybe if you look at the game itself, when you’re trying to stop the run and they have a balanced offense from that aspect of it, you’re caught in between and caught in between as a play-caller of trying to help the guys as much as you can and help the plays that we are seeing as much as you can in those situations, and whether it’s man or zone or fronts or packages or four down, five down, different looks, you’re trying to give the offense something that causes them issues to slow them down a little bit, and certainly in the game that’s something I wasn’t able to do, and that’s where I’ve got to just do better. I’ve got to slow them down a little bit.

So, as we are trying to dictate the game on defense as much as we can, we’ve got to get in front of a little bit better than what I did in the pass game.

Q. A few times in the last few weeks, missed tackles have been described as uncharacteristic but it’s becoming fairly frequent relatively speaking. How do you fix it at this point of the season when you have walk through on Wednesdays and you’re not having the same cadence that you might have during training camp? (Zach Berman)

MATT PATRICIA: I think it’s a really good point with all fundamentals and kind of where you are at in football. When you watch the season, you watch the NFL, I think that’s probably a great thing to look at through the course of the league is you look at fundamentals, you look at all sides, all three phases and teams that are still working on the fundamentals, you can definitely tell. You can see whether it’s blocking, tackling, catching, running, all that stuff.

And then teams that aren’t able to do that, I think our thing with the tackling this weekend wasn’t up to what we want it to be, and I’ve got to make sure that we reemphasize and do a good job for me when I schedule, and the individual periods in practice and make sure we are focusing on the fundamentals of tackling, because you can still focus on it without necessarily having to have the physical side of it because we are trying to take care of their bodies.

We are late in the year. Two weeks ago against the Giants, we tackled extremely well in that game, and that’s something that I’ve got to make sure we keep the focus on each week of going and making sure that our approach angles are good and that our hips and ankles and knees are bent in the right direction; that we are leveraging the ball properly and we are not getting out of alignment from that standpoint; and our pad level is in the right place; and our eyes are in the right place when you tackle; and we are wrapping appropriately and driving through. Those are certainly things that you can walk through.

And I think with the change, this probably goes back to we kind of changed practice in the CBA and the rest of it, some of the stuff that’s out there product-wise that we have that we use, the tackling donuts, things like that, where it’s not always body on body contact but we are still working those fundamentals and you can do them in walk through paces, those really help. I’ve got to make sure that we do that every week.