The Patriots got back to work on Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Dolphins this weekend, and with the end of the week closing in, here’s a little lighter version this morning with a few quick thoughts and some stats:
Tom Brady’s rough start has the media trying to figure out what’s wrong with the veteran quarterback.
(USA TODAY Images)
1) The media is already beginning to turn on Tom Brady: Tom Brady walked up to the podium yesterday and probably had no idea he was going to be peppered with so many questions about his performance and execution. He answered 19 questions, 10 of which were related to his mechanics, preparation, and self evaluation. You could tell as the press conference wore on he was starting to get a little annoyed with the line of questioning, pointing out repeatedly that his football team is 5-2 at this point in the season. Obviously it hasn’t been perfect so far and there have been some problems, and there were some numbers posted here over the last few days that are starting to surface elsewhere in the media regarding his sack total, etc. But it was interesting to see things turn yesterday and it will be something to keep an eye on in the weeks to come should the offense continue to struggle.
2) Patriots pass defense is doing a good job down in the red zone: Looking at the season totals the Patriots pass defense has done a good job against the pass down in the red area, with opponents having a combined 33% completion percentage having completed just 13-of-40 of their attempts. They’ve also allowed just five passing touchdowns this season, which is fairly impressive and explains why the Patriots defense is currently tied for 9th in the league for points allowed this season.
3) The deep right third of the field has been an issue this season: Of the 58 “deep” passes that Tom Brady has attempted this season, he’s only completed 18 of them so far. The classification that the league seems to follow are passes that are beyond 15 yards are considered a “deep” attempt, but one number that sticks out is the fact he’s only 1-of-17 when throwing to the deep right hand side of the field. The most attempts so far to that zone have been to Aaron Dobson, who he’s connected on just 1-of-8 attempts. From there it’s pretty well spread out, with Kenbrell Thompkins (0-for-2), Julian Edelman (0-for-2), Shane Vereen (0-for-1), Josh Boyce (0-for-1), Danny Amendola (0-for-1), Austin Collie (0-for-1), and Rob Gronkowski (0-for-1) as the players who he’s attempted to connect with.
4) Bringing back Andre Carter was an interesting move: The return of Carter should hopefully give the Patriots some additional experienced veteran depth, which is something they could certainly use at this point. The loss of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo were obviously big, and with so much football left it will definitely help the rookies over the remainder of the season to be playing alongside a guy who has been there before and understands the system. Carter really seemed to enjoy his time here in 2011, and it was interesting to hear his comments about how it was either the Patriots or retirement. Either way, seeing how he affects things defensively this weekend along with the number of snaps he plays will be something to keep an eye on, along with how quickly he’s able to settle in.
BELICHCK SAYS SHANE VEREEN “DAY-TO-DAY” AS HE WORKS TOWARD A RETURN:
Bill Belichick talked about Shane Vereen on Wednesday, who was injured in week one after fracturing his wrist and has been working hard toward getting back on the field.
“He’s really in the day-to-day category,” said Belichick. “We’ll take it as it comes with him. What he’s doing, he’s obviously rehabbing with the trainers and can do some running but his involvement with the team, I’d say, this particular time, isn’t there yet but I don’t think that’s too far off – whether that’s today or tomorrow or next week, whenever it is. [We’re] obviously being in compliance with the rules on that.”
When asked about the rules in terms of when he can come back and practice, Belichick said he wasn’t entirely sure, but that they planned on increasing his activity.
“I’ll have to double check on that one to tell you the truth,” said Belichick when asked the rules about when he can come back. “I’m just saying, we can increase his activity relative to the trainers throwing him balls and doing different drills and things like that. We can definitely, as he’s physically ready to increase them.”
TANNEHILL BANGED UP:
According to ProFootballTalk.com, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was limited in practice on Wednesday with a right shoulder injury, which they point out is a sign of what happens because the Dolphins haven’t done a good job of protecting him. Also mentioned is the fact Tannehill is responsible for all 11 Dolphins giveaways this season, including the strip sack he suffered versus Buffalo which ultimately set up their game-winning field goal. He’s been sacked 26 times this season, which is the most in the NFL. Needless to say considering the fact Miami finally has a franchise quarterback, they’re doing a poor job of keeping him upright.
ON TO THIS MORNING’S LINKS:
ON FOOTBALL: Blueprint to beating the Patriots now created – Ben Volin – This piece was actually overlooked and is from yesterday, but Volin offers up some good analysis from what happened in Sunday’s game that slowed them down.
Andre Carter thrilled with return to Patriots – Michael Whitmer – Whitmer files his notebook this morning, which leads off with comments from newly signed Andre Carter, who is happy to be back in New England.
Tom Brady having an off year – Shalise Manza Young – Young has a piece on Brady this morning that looks at the fact he’s having a career low in a few categories, with some interesting passing numbers as well.
Rex Ryan responds to Bill Belichick: ‘That’s not true’ – Michael Whitmer – Whitmer has a piece with reactions to Belichick’s comments that the Jets were also pushing on their field goal attempt, with Ryan firing back with some comments of his own and strongly disagreeing with the comments.
Rob Gronkowski looking for bigger 2nd game – Jeff Howe – Howe has a good piece on Gronkowski this morning, who he writes that despite the cautious start, it won’t be long before it’s “full-metal Gronkowski”.
Fixing Patriots’ offensive woes starts up front – Karen Guregian – Guregian looks at some of the Patriots offensive struggles and notes that the offensive line isn’t exactly doing a great job of protecting Brady over the last few games.
Andre Carter lines up a return – Jeff Howe – Howe files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact that Carter’s glad to be back and that he says he wants to retire as a Patriot.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin: Don’t tell me Patriots’ offense is struggling – Christopher Price – Price has an entry this morning with comments from Dolphins’ coach Joe Philbin, who doesn’t feel the Patriots offense is as bad as people think and that the Patriots are simply “just working through [it]” and will be fine.
Talib, Gronk, Amendola all limited for Pats – Christopher Price – Price files his practice report, which lists Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aqib Talib, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon Bolden among the players who were limited Wednesday, while Tommy Kelly missed practice.
Tom Brady says all is well with Patriots after loss – Rich Garven – Garven has an article on Brady and writes that while officially everything is fine with Tom Brady, the eye test has regularly indicated otherwise.
PALM BEACH POST:
How to stay alive in the pocket? Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill can learn from the master – Dave George – George writes that Ryan Tannehill could learn a lot from Tom Brady in regard to his pocket presence.
Sacks starting to take painful toll on Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill – Adam Beasley – Beasley files his notebook this morning which leads off with the fact that all of the sacks and hits on Tannehill are starting to affect him, with Tannehill mentioning a problem with his throwing motion on Wednesday.