The Patriots featured some new faces on its defensive unit to start the 2017 season, which caused some issues early in the season, mainly involving communication in the secondary.
It didn’t get any easier, either, when the team lost veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower for the season in October to a torn pectoral injury. Hightower, when he was healthy, sported a green dot on his helmet, which signified that he was tasked with hearing and relaying defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s play calls. That important duty has since been passed on to linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
The team has improved in its communication on defense, but head coach Bill Belichick still believes the Patriots will need to focus on that area — on both sides of the ball — to be successful in Super Bowl LII. Belichick appeared on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley with Keefe” radio show on Monday, and he explained that communication will be key for his team in the big game.
“Communication will be key for us,” Belichick said, via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “We have been in a lot of loud stadiums. I am sure this will be loud. We have had loud stadiums before. It was loud in Pittsburgh, it is loud everywhere. I think one thing we are going to have to be ready for this week is the crowd noise on both sides of the ball. My experience in these games is it is just loud, period. It is loud all the time.”
“Since there is not a true home team, it is a neutral field, you just have a general high noise level,” he said. “Usually we prepare for communication issues on one side of the ball or the other. I think in a game like this you have to be ready for both. If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen, but you don’t want to be unprepared for it and then find out that communication is an issue. We will be ready to go on all of those.”
Communication falls under the preparation umbrella, which is an area that the Patriots — under Belichick — have always excelled in in big games. We’re willing to bet they’ll focus on it this week, and it won’t be an issue for them in Super Bowl LII.