FOXBOROUGH — The revelation that a couple of recent opponents recognized some of the Patriots offensive plays wasn’t exactly a big surprise to some Patriots defenders.
In fact, it happens all the time in the NFL, according to veteran safety Adrian Phillips.
“If you’re a student of the game and you watch film, you’re going to pick up on some things that the offense does,” Phillips said Wednesday. “Sometimes you’re right; sometimes you’re wrong. It’s really not a big deal. Everybody across the league does it. If you watch film and if you’re a good player and you go out there and make the plays more times than not, you’ll pick up on a play or two.”
Bill Belichick acknowledged Tuesday that linebackers Shaq Leonard of the Colts and C.J. Mosley of the Jets seemed to get a jump on a few plays in the last two games — both Patriots wins.
Leonard and Mosley even got a tip of the cap from linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley.
“We’re all pros. There’s only so many plays you can run in the game, so some of the plays tend to repeat. So certain keys and stuff like that, you’ll pick up on throughout the games. If you’re able to spot them, it’s kind of a plus for you,’’ said Bentley. “Other times, teams like to throw a little wrinkle in there so you’re not always right, but for the most part, hopefully you’re right on a couple of those things … Shoutout to those dudes for spotting and picking up on that.”
Mac Jones, who was sacked four times against the Colts, echoed his teammates’ thoughts, but also agreed with Belichick that steps must be taken to prevent plays from being tipped.
“Like I always say, in the NFL, there’s good players everywhere. We watch film, we sometimes know what teams are doing, sometimes we don’t,’’ said the quarterback. “I think people just watch a lot of film and there’s good players out there, so you just have to give credit where credit’s due. Obviously, we want to fix anything that we’re giving away, but at the end of the day, we’ve got plenty and we just need to do better.’’
Asked if a last-second audible could throw a suspecting defender off course, Jones said it depends on the situation.
“Sometimes you can’t hear, I mean you can’t hear everything, right? Obviously, if you hear it, you can try to change it and fix it and make it a better play, but like I said, there’s good players all over the place, so you just kind of have to go with the punches,’’ he said.
Back under center
The offensive line received a boost with center David Andrews returning to practice as the club held its only session of the week, in helmets and shells. Andrews has missed the last two games because of a concussion suffered at the end of the Bears game. “Great leader for us, it’s awesome to have him back out there,’’ said tight end Hunter Henry. “He’s huge. Vocal. Guy that’s been around, won a lot of football games around here. Kind of knows the standard around here. Always good to have a guy like that.’’ … Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and left tackle Trent Brown were the only players not spotted. Receiver DeVante Parker, who hurt his knee against the Jets, was at practice but did not participate … The session was not about preparing for an opponent but rather staying sharp in the fundamentals. “Yeah, you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel unless you’re a team that probably isn’t doing too well, but we’ve got some good stuff on film, so you just try to focus on that and focus on making that better,’' Phillips said … The Patriots will not have to report back for work until Monday and many players, including Phillips, said “chilling” is on the agenda as they try to rest up physically and mentally.