Some New England Patriots news and notes for this morning:
O’Brien Says of Early Miscues, “It’s Ridiculous”
Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien spoke to reporters on Tuesday and felt that despite Sunday’s outcome in Las Vegas, the club took a step forward this past weekend on offense, although they still have a long way to go.
O’Brien emphasized that the early mistakes against the Raiders during their frustrating 21-17 loss were an issue, and that’s obviously been a theme so far this season. It’s a problem that continues to plague them, and O’Brien said that paying more attention to the details on a consistent basis is going to be the key if they hope to start making progress toward turning their season around.
“I think there were some things that were better, obviously not good enough,” said O’Brien. “We just got done meeting with the offense and one of the things we talked about is there is a very small margin for error in the National Football League. We talk about coaching better. One of the things we need to do is, we have to harp on the details a little bit more. They have to take ownership of the details.”
“We have to start these games better. It’s not good to start the game with two penalties. It’s ridiculous. That falls on me. That falls on them. I know I say it every week, ‘We’re in it together,’ but there’s a small margin for error, and we’ve got to get better. We have a chance to turn this thing around, but we all have to buy into it and wrap our brains around the fact that we have to pay attention, coaches, and players, to the details better and get this thing done. And so that’s what our mindset is right now.”
The Patriots offensive coordinator felt like there was some improvement in various areas, which he was pleased to see. But one other area he said they’re also emphasizing is trying to get off to a better start, as well as finding some consistency earlier in games.
“I thought that there were some things that were better. I thought there were things in the passing game, I thought there were things in the running game. Still a little bit too inconsistent,” said O’Brien. “I think we have to be more consistent in what we do and I think once we find that consistency for four quarters, we’re going to be in better shape.”
“We start these games and we get behind 10-0, and that has to stop,” continued O’Brien. “We’ve got to be able to put together drives early in games that come away with points and we haven’t done that, and so we have got to do a better job of that. But there was a lot more to build on, obviously, than the previous two weeks and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
He also talked about their issues up front along the offensive line, which has obviously been a problem all season. O’Brien knows that those guys have been dealing with a lot from an injury standpoint, although there were some bright spots when he looked at the film following Sunday’s game.
“Look, they’re fighting,” said O’Brien. “There’s been some injuries up front, there’s some young guys playing there. These aren’t excuses, these are facts and so those guys, there’s times where the run game looked really clean, looked really good. The first run of the second half, Rhamondre’s run was a very well-blocked play. There were certain times where the protection looked great, other times, we have to do a better job of making sure that we’re more consistent in how we perform. So the consistency is the big key and that’s what we’re working on.”
O’Brien also talked about the drop by DeVante Parker on the final drive, which has clearly been a big topic of conversation here this week. He went on to say that their issues in the game obviously went beyond that one play, and they have to start making the rest of the other plays they haven’t been able to make if they hope to find some consistency moving forward.
“There’s a very small margin for error. It wasn’t just about that play,” said O’Brien. “There were several plays that went on in the game that we either made the play or we didn’t make the play and if we can make the plays, and make the right coaching decisions … there’s about, let’s just call it, six to eight plays in an NFL football game that make the difference in the game, and we’re not making those plays right now.”
“We’ve got to eliminate that. We have to make those plays and I think, if we do that, we’ll turn it around.”
Another Long List of Patriots Injuries
The Patriots were back at practice this week getting ready to take on the Buffalo Bills this weekend, and the initial attendance wasn’t promising.
According to NESN’s Dakota Randall, Rhamondre Stevenson, Trent Brown, Hunter Henry, Jonathan Jones, Davon Godchaux, Josh Uche, and Keion White were all among players missing Tuesday, as well as JuJu Smith-Schuster, who missed Sunday’s game following the concussion he sustained the previous week.
Stevenson, Brown and Henry not being there was notable, especially given how valuable they are to an offense that’s already been relatively depleted due to injuries as of late.
One bit of good news was the fact that Demario Douglas, who missed Sunday with the concussion he sustained against the Saints, was back out there, as was Jack Jones. Those two at least provide a bit of reinforcements, especially Jones, who would provide some help in the event Jonathan Jones ends up sitting out this weekend. The veteran defensive back had missed three weeks with an ankle injury but returned against New Orleans and had played in 67% and 79% of the snaps the last two weeks.
As for Jack Jones, he started the season on injured reserve with a reported hamstring injury and Mike Reiss of ESPN had reported that his timeframe was sometime around midseason.
The second-year defensive back has since been designated by the team to return, which opens up the 21-day window as he continues making his way back. Jones had hinted at a return over the weekend when he posted “Coming soon..” on the X platform, and it looks like that may potentially be as soon as this week, depending on how things go.
The club will release its first official injury report ahead of this weekend later today.
Scarnecchia to be Honored
One bit of good news. While former Patriots coach Dante Scarnecchia may not be around to help mold New England’s offensive line, he’s at least set to be rewarded for all of the work he did during his time in the NFL this weekend.
Scarnecchia is set to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, with former linebacker Mike Vrabel set to join him.
The former coach is obviously a legend here, especially given the work he did coaching up New England’s offensive line during his tenure. The Patriots churned out a lot of solid players over the years, many of whom were relative unknowns, but Scarnecchia certainly got the best out of many of them.
Given the problems they’re having this season, his services could certainly be used, but instead, he’s continuing to enjoy his retirement. After an incredible career and his contributions, it’s only fitting that he’ll become the first assistant to earn the honor when he’s inducted this weekend.
Scarnecchia’s incredible run started well before Bill Belichick arrived here. His career in New England began back in 1982 where he was here for six seasons until briefly spending two years in Indianapolis, before returning with Bill Parcells in 1991 and he remained here even when the club moved on to Pete Carroll following Parcells departure after the 1996 season, as well as staying as part of Bill Belichick’s staff when he became the head coach in 2000.
Scarnecchia continued in New England until his retirement in 2019.
Meanwhile, Vrabel is currently the head coach for the Tennessee Titans, and played for the Patriots from 2001 through 2008, with Vrabel joining Matt Cassel in a trade that sent both players to Kansas City the following offseason. It’s not known if Vrabel will be present, although it’s possible since the Titans are on a bye this week.
As for Scarnecchia, in addition to this weekend’s ceremony, he’s currently scheduled for a Speaker Series event tonight at at 6:30pm at the Patriots Hall of Fame, with only a limited amount of tickets remaining.
Posted Under: Patriots News