Patriots take a pause to try to regroup on offense
The long pause told you all you needed to know.
Late Thursday night/early Friday morning, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, at the end of his post game press conference, was asked basically to evaluate the offense and if it had enough going forward.
Then finally, “We’ll see. We’re 6-0, so try to get to 7-0.”
Clearly, the quarterback, as has been well discussed in the last few weeks, isn’t happy, even after a 35-14 win over the struggling New York Giants. He knows the preseason is just about over – one more gimme at the Meadowlands a week from Monday night at the Jets.
OK, Julian Edelman, you heard what your buddy Brady had to say, what say you?
“We’re happy to be 6-0,” Edelman said, clearly not happy with the question.
But he later dropped hints, saying “We’ve got to hold our end of the bargain up more.”
The Patriots, as we’ve noted in the past, have flipped the switch. They’ve become a defensive oriented team, and last night the best QB ever didn’t have a TD pass against the league’s 30th ranked defense.
Their second best receiver next to Edelman, Josh Gordon, is hurt and has lost that confidence that comes with health and the ability to grab the ball anytime, anywhere. He got banged up again on Thursday night trying to make a tackle after a turnover and while supposedly OK, you have to wonder how his body will hold up. The mini post-Thursday Night bye should help.
Tight end? He’s doing FOX pre-game and isn’t coming back, sorry. The Patriots have decided the extra cap room, under the guise of not having a roster spot, was more important than keeping tight end Ben Watson. Maybe that will change as one of their two tight ends, Matt Lacosse, went down with another injury Thursday night. That left Ryan Izzo to play most of the game, and while he’s starting to develop as a receiver, his blocking woes don’t help the Patriots running game.
But he’s what you’ve got now.
“When you’re healthy and practicing, you have an opportunity to make progress and improve,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said in a conference call Friday. “I think that’s what we’re seeing from Ryan.”
We think the Patriots have something in undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers. Meyers knows how to go get the ball and badly wants to go get more. He had four catches for 54 yards the other night, one of the few options with Phillip Dorsett out (hamstring) and once Gordon went down.
“I wouldn’t say I arrived or anything,” he said, “but hopefully (Thursday) was a night they saw I can make plays. Hopefully they have a little more trust in me so I can get another chance and keep building on these chances.”
They have no choice with the injuries. The Patriots had to use one personnel grouping on offense the entire second half.
“It’s a game of adversity,” Edelman said. “It’s something we prepared for. … Seeing things, grinding and working, that’s something to be said. This is a game of adjustments. Obviously you want to start fast,but going out and getting wins, it’s not easy to win in this league. It seems everybody always plays us tough.”
They may be playing a lot tougher in another month.
Thus the Patriots have no choice but to evolve, right? Are we nitpicking here? It’s the fear of the unknown likely. The Giants played hard; they’re tougher up front defensively than in the past but they’re poorly coached and that shows up. Same with a lot of the teams the Patriots have played thus far, right?
“Just feel focused on what we’ve got to do to get it going,” Edelman said. “That’s how it goes. Start off with having a great week of practice coming up, got some time down, and get it going again.
“We know we’re not starting fast, and that’s what it’s about.”
Maybe the key thing is to remember it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
But for now, we hit pause.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,email@example.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.