Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu hasn’t thrown a pass this season and didn’t throw one with the Bengals last year, but he has a history that shows he can make plays with his arm.
Sanu is 5-for-5 with three touchdowns as a passer and that’s something Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he and his staff have in mind as they prepare to face the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. During his Thursday press conference, Belichick went on to say that the later it is in the season “the more you have to prepared for those kind of plays” because teams have been practicing them all year and may feel confident rolling out something the defense hasn’t seen before.
“Look, you can draw up any gadget play you want,” Belichick said. “In the end, it comes down to the basic fundamentals of your defense. So, every defense is designed to defend the perimeter, defend the deep balls, whether that’s man-to-man or zone, or four-man line, three-man line or two-man [line], whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. You can’t defend an offensive formation without defending the perimeter of the formation, without defending the vertical element that the formation could bring. Defend the outside, defend deep, everything that’s in front of you.”
Belichick continued his explanation of how defensive players have to know who is responsible for what on every play, whether it is a wide receiver throwing a pass or something more traditional.
“Every defense has to have those elements to it,” Belichick said. “So, who knows what you’re going to be in, who knows what play they’re going to run that you haven’t seen before. You just have to count on the sound fundamentals of the defense to handle all those things. Every time we put in a defense, that’s the first thing we do. We [plan for] run strong, run weak, reverse, halfback pass, passing game, four verticals, three verticals, double moves, deep crossing routes. Make sure those plays are handled the assignments in the defense. If you’re going to be light on something, you don’t want to be light on those, you want to be light on something else. You don’t want to be light on a seam route or on a post pattern or not have a run force guy if they run a reverse. It doesn’t mean you have it done right every single time. But there’s somebody that’s responsible and it’s their job to make sure that they handle that responsibility based on however the play is designed.”
Belichick said that the team will be more than halfway through their preparations when they head to Houston on Monday, but that there will still be work to do on site — “particularly some situations” — in their final practice days.