By: Ian Logue
Last week when the Patriots were coming off of a last second win over the Buffalo Bills, the team came out of that contest a little bit banged up with a short turnaround before Thursday night’s visit by the Jets at Gillette Stadium. As a result, instead of normal practices they spent the days leading up to that match-up with a series of walk-throughs in preparation of the game.
Brady’s glad they’ve had some additional time this week to iron out some of their issues on offense. (USA TODAY Images)
Although they still had a tough time connecting on a lot of the throws between Tom Brady and his band of rookie receivers, this time they consisted of a lot more near misses instead of ones that were way off the mark, which seemed to be a much bigger problem in game one. Now after having over a week to get back on track, Brady said on Wednesday that they didn’t really get a chance to work on many fundamentals last week, which is something they’ve worked on leading up to this weekend.
“Well last week we didnâ€™t get to work on many fundamentals or techniques in practice, so you go out and you execute in the first week like we did against Buffalo, but it was a quick turnaround playing on Thursday night,” said Brady. “There are probably things we probably wish we wouldâ€™ve practiced but didnâ€™t really have an opportunity to. Coach talks about improving and these weeks really being about improvement, trying to be a better football team, so weâ€™re trying to do that and we got off to a good start today.”
Part of their problem early on has been their struggles on third down, which has seen them in some long-yardage situations and obviously explains how they’re just 15-of-38 thus far, including 11 punts against New York last Thursday. Surprisingly week one was their best performance in terms of moving the chains after they converted 25 offensive first downs compared to just eight against the Jets. Against the Bills they were 11-of-20 (55%) on 3rd down, unlike last week when they were just 4-of-18, with eight of their attempts coming from seven or more yards while only converting one over that span. That will be something to keep an eye on against Tampa Bay this week as the Buccaneers’ defense has held opponents this season to just 12-of-32 (37.5%) on 3rd down.
During the preseason Brady had some success against them, completing 11-of-12 for 107 yards, and converted 4-of-5 attempts on 3rd down. However, in that game neither Kenbrell Thompkins or Aaron Dobson had a pass thrown their way from him, with Danny Amendola accounting for 4 of those conversions. This time Amendola may be out again while Julian Edelman and the rookies will need to step up, and the challenge becomes a little tougher since Darrelle Revis should be out there this time around.
Brady said on Wednesday that they’re going to have to be better this week than they’ve been so far through two games.
“I think a lot of this defense,” said Brady. “So weâ€™ve got to play a lot better than we played the first two weeks. Weâ€™ve got to go out there, and like I said we got off to a good start in practice today and hopefully we can carry this over into the game.”
BELICHICK PLEASED WITH JONES:
Belichick had praise for Chandler Jones on Wednesday, and after moving him inside on several plays against New York, the Patriots coach said he was pleased with how Jones handled himself in those situations.
“ He had some production in there,” said Belichick. “We’ve done that. He’s done that in training camp and in both games. He’s a versatile player. We’ve seen him stand up, get down, play on a tight end, play on a tackle, play on a guard. He’s a versatile player that is long, he’s got good quickness and he uses his hands well. ”
Belichick said the fact Jones gained some strength over the offseason helped him to be able to play over the tackle.
“ I mean, it certainly helps- the stronger the better, the faster the better, the quicker the better. Those things are all better but he worked hard in the offseason. He had a good offseason program. I think he did gain some playing strength. I think he’s got good, natural strength.”
“Guys like him that have real long arms are never going to win the bench press competition, but they play with good leverage and their strength is their length. That’s different than strength being just weight room strength, he has great leverage strength. He uses that to his advantage and that helps him even though he gets out-weighed. His length helps him play against some of those bigger guys, whether they’re guards or tackles. ”
KYLE LOVE GETS A TRYOUT:
Former Patriots DL Kyle Love is still looking for a job after being released by the Patriots and most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com Love recently had a tryout with the San Francisco 49ers, but wasn’t immediately signed.
ON TO THIS MORNING’S LINKS:
Notebook: Julian Edelman in Darrelle Revis’ sights – Jeff Howe – Howe files his notebook this morning which leads off with the fact that Edelman will likely draw Revis on Sunday, which should present a challenge for the veteran receiver.
Aqib Talib’s time to show ’em – Jeff Howe – Howe has an article on Aqib Talib, who is set to match-up against his former team in a regular season game for the first time since the Patriots traded with the Buccaneers for him last season.
Patriots back ex-coach Greg Schiano – Mark Daniels – Daniels has an article this morning with comments from the former Rutgers players who are now with the Patriots and had good things to say about their former coach.
Stats donâ€™t rate with Tom Brady – Karen Guregian – Guregian writes that right now Brady “sits among the NFL’s commoners”, after struggling out of the gate due to his slow start, but also writes that he’s a fierce competitor and a perfectionist and that he’s focused on getting better.
Hold expectations in check with Patriots rookie receivers – Ben Volin – Volin has a good article this morning on the fact the Patriots’ rookie receivers aren’t the only ones struggling early on this season, and has numbers for other guys who were selected this year as a comparison.
Patriots, Bucs familiar on personal level – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young writes that after working with eachother during training camp, both sides have more of a feel for one another heading into Sunday’s game.
Penalty watch: Patriots vs. Buccaneers – Mike Reiss – Reiss has a breakdown of the penalties committed by both the Patriots and the Buccaneers, and it’s not even close as the Bucs have more than three times the amount of accepted penalties with 23.
Belichick’s Press Conference Transcript – Here’s the complete transcript from yesterday’s press conference with the New England media.
Belichick’s Conference Call with Tampa Bay Media Transcript – Belichick spoke with the Tampa Bay media on Wednesday and the team has the full transcript.
Tom Brady Press Conference Transcript – Here’s the complete transcript from Brady’s media session.
Rob Gronkowski makes progress, status for Sunday unclear – Rich Garven – Garven has an article on Gronkowski, who told him, “I’ve progressed significantly since last week,” on Wednesday.
Tom Brady fired up to pick up receivers – Rich Garven – Garven has comments from Brady on Wednesday, who talked about the fact he’s trying to be more patient.
Socci: Fullback James Develin Looks To Help Any Way He Can – Bob Socci – Socci has a good read on James Develin, who he writes, ‘has encountered more a fork than a crossroads in his career.’
ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:
Extra prep time welcomed by Brady – Mark Farinella – Farinella files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact Brady is happy to get back to working on fundamentals and techniques, which he said the team didn’t get a chance to do last week.
So far, so good for defenders – David Pevear – Pevear has an article this morning wondering if the Patriots defense is capable of buying time for the offense to solve its issues — and maybe even become more than that?
Football alum keeps focus on field – This newspaper out of Washington University in St. Louis has an article on former Washington University player Jonathan Howard, who is now a scouting assistant for the team and offers some insight of what it’s like to work in that position.