December 3, 2016

Special Teams Coach Scott O’Brien Meets With the Media

We knew that new special teams coach Scott O’Brien came here via Denver, where he coached the special teams there. We also were aware that he coached with Bill Belichick back in Cleveland, serving in the same role there.

Beyond that, I think we can safely say we didn’t know a whole lot about the guy. Yesterday he met with the media, and we learned a little more about him. Here are some highlights from that session:

On the connection between he and Bill Belichick:

…it started in Cleveland. I was at the University f Pittsburgh at the time and they had just finished the Super Bowl and he called one day and the relationship really started there.

On how Belichick has changed since those days in Cleveland:

Not a lot. There were a lot of things I loved about Bill, as a young coach learning the National Football League, from an assistant coach’s standpoint, especially situational football. I mean, situations that win and lose football games. And that’s really our responsibility, as coaches, to be able to give our players the opportunity to have the best chance to win. I think being with him the first time [in Cleveland], really getting a head start on that, really helped me as far as situational games that come right down to the wire that maybe give you a little bit of edge.

On how things are shaping up at returner:

We’ve got punt returners working – everybody knows Wes Welker, everybody knows Kevin Faulk – but we’ve got Julian Edelman, who is trying to develop into one.

On what Edelman has to learn to develop into a good returner:

…he’s learning, not only catching the ball, there’s a lot more to it. There’s field awareness; where did you catch it at? Where did you start? What do we have on the field? Are we singling outside? There’re a lot of things going through his mind, but he has to understand and we have to teach him situations based on trying to stay a step ahead. There’s nothing more important than catching the football and protecting it, don’t get me wrong, but there’s more to it than that. So we’re kind of bringing him along.

Other possibilities at the postion:

Obviously, we have Joey Galloway who has done it in this league too. The more [punt returners] you can have, the better it is. Don’t forget about Patrick Chung. We keep working with Darius Butler, who was a kickoff returner in college, but he has great skills. We’re just going to keep developing everybody we have until it starts to get closer.

On whether Laurence Maroney is a possibility:

When you first saw him, you knew he was an explosive runner. He has size and I know he had a good year his first year. So far so good with him. I like him. He’s getting into it.

On how the new wedge rule has changed things:

There’re different looks that you have to be able to deal with anyway, and we’re all in for protecting the players and taking care of them. If we feel that’s going to help or they changed the rule for that reason, then we’re going to work with it. But overall, schematically, it will change, but there’s really not a lot of change based on what we do.

On whether he feels the new rule is clear and how it will be officiated:

I think in the preseason you’re going to find out [how it is officiated]. We try to do as much as we can to teach the players the rule itself and the techniques within the rules that we’re trying to accomplish. There is gray area there because for coaches, we see it a little bit differently. We can see it in our mind when the rule comes out or when an official talks to us about a rule, when they give that to us, we can almost determine, ‘ok, what if this happens?’ Because we don’t want our players in that situation. We don’t want to be forced into that situation, so I think  [during] preseason, we’ll get a better feel for it.

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