The New England Patriots had an extra week before meeting the Carolina Panthers to try to get their injured players healthy for Mondays game.
But thats not what concerns Panthers coach Ron Rivera about facing the Patriots after their bye week. Rivera knows that giving New England coach Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare a game plan can work in the Patriots favor.
Since Belichick became head coach in 2000, the Patriots have gone 10-3 coming off a bye, outscoring opponents 349-209 in those games.
A lot of is hes a tremendous coach and hes had a whole extra week, so theres a little bit of concern on my part as to what he can potentially do, Rivera said Friday. I think any time you give coaches with that type of background a little bit of time, they always come up with something, so we have to be on our game.
As a defensive coordinator at Chicago and San Diego, Rivera was winless in two games against the Belichick-coached Patriots. New England handed the Bears one of their three regular-season losses during Chicagos Super Bowl season of 2006.
With Rivera working as San Diegos linebackers coach the following year, the Chargers fell to New England 21-12 in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots also beat San Diego 23-20 in 2010 when Rivera was the Chargers coordinator.
Ive always coordinated against him when hes had Tom Brady, and thats what makes it tough, Rivera said. Toms a tremendous quarterback and hes always had a very good running game, that much I know.
Rivera said the Panthers coaches have to be prepared to made adjustments on the fly Monday if the Patriots unveil a wrinkle they installed during their bye week.
Being ready to adjust if they have something up their sleeve, whether its a different formation, different personnel group, whether its on the offensive side, defensive side or special teams, Rivera said. We have to be ready to adapt to those things.
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