Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley

Every week, we list the Patriots’€™ “offensive touches,”€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after two games:

RB Stevan Ridley: 35 (33 carries, 2 catches), 1 negative run
RB Shane Vereen: 19 (13 carries, 6 catches)
WR Julian Edelman: 15 (3 carries, 12 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 8 (8 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 7 (6 carries, 1 catch), 1 negative run
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 (5 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 3 (3 catches)
TE Tim Wright: 3 (3 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 2 (2 carries), 5 sacks
FB James Develin: 2 (2 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 (1 catch)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui 1 (1 catch)

Notes: The Patriots had two negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday — one sack of Brady and a negative run from Bolden. On the season, New England has run 140 plays from scrimmage, and seven of them have gone for negative yardage. (They have not had a kneel-down.) ‘€¦ Against the Vikings, the Patriots ran 60 plays, one of them in no-huddle (1.7 percent). In addition, 10 of their 60 snaps (17 percent) were in shotgun formation. On the season, the Patriots have run 10 plays out of no-huddle (7 percent) and 47 snaps in shotgun (34 percent). By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps.

By way of comparison, here’€™s a look at the Patriots offensive breakdown through the first two games of the 2013 season.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown after two regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 12 catches on 15 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 8 catches on 17 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 6 catches on 10 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 catches on 10 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 3 catches on 6 targets
TE Tim Wright: 3 catches on 4 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 2 catches on 2 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target
WR Brandon LaFell: 0 catches on 6 targets

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows there are more than enough rocks to go around.

After two weeks, the receiver leads the Patriots with 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. He’s responsible for 27 percent of Tom Brady‘s completed passes through two games, and has established an impressive Welkerian-style chemistry with the quarterback — going back to the preseason, he’s caught 22 of the 25 passes thrown in his direction this year.

But he knows that the time is going to come when there’s going to be greater distribution in the passing game.

“€œI’€™m not the quarterback, so I’€™m sure — it’€™s only two games, there’€™s a lot of season left — there’€™s going to be games where other guys are going to get more rocks than me,” he said Monday, a day after he had six catches in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. “But, I’€™m just going to continue to try to get better and do my job.”

It’s hard to be any better than Edelman was in the first half against the Vikings, particularly on the scoring drive that gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. First, quarterback Tom Brady found Edelman down the sideline for a 44-yard pickup, which tied his longest gain of the year. Then, he followed that up with a 9-yard touchdown reception on a play where Brady stood in the pocket, took a big hit and still managed to loft the ball perfectly toward Edelman, who gathered it in for his first score of the year.

‘€œThe quarterback putting us in the best play, and Tom did that as he has time in and time out,’€™’€™ Edelman said Monday when asked to describe the play. ‘€œIt’€™s just going out and executing a play, running a route, making a catch, the line doing their job, the running back doing their job, Tom taking a hit and making a throw.

“€œYou expect nothing less from a guy like him. He’€™s tough as nails, he’€™s our leader, and he’€™ll give up his body to do that.”

“Tom was able to get to really the best play against that look and made a good throw just as he got hit, because they did have an extra rusher,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick when he was quizzed about the play. “It was an all-out blitz so he was able to release the ball just before he got it, made a great throw and Julian took advantage of the defender’€™s leverage and kind of froze him at the top of the route and then created that couple yards of separation for the catch.

“A combination of a lot of things, but it was certainly a very good play by Tom to recognize it and get into the right play. It was a good route by Julian, good throw and a good job by the whole offensive line.”

Edelman has a chance to build on his performance this week as the Patriots welcome a woeful Raiders team to town. Oakland is 0-2, and struggling on both sides of the ball. However, Edelman was quick to credit the Raiders as a “savvy veteran group” who has a lot of new faces they “haven’t seen” — the last time New England faced Oakland was 2011.

“€œThe Raiders are the second-oldest team in the league; they’€™ve got a lot of veteran players,”€ Edelman said. “We haven’€™t seen a lot of their scheme because we don’€™t see them very often.

“They may be coming in 0-2, but they’€™re going to be hungry and we always seem to get a team’€™s best. We’€™re expecting a tough game from a savvy veteran group and we’€™re going to have to prepare hard.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley to discuss the Patriots’ 30-7 win over the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley on demand page.

We check in with former Patriot and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi for his take on a week of bad news in the NFL, and his thoughts on the Patriots rebound win over the Minnesota Vikings.

[0:00:04] ... this time we talked with former patriots linebacker current ESPN NFL analyst. Tedy Bruschi proudly presented by Joey Kramer -- -- Smith's rocket and -- and coffee. And by shots. Spend Shaw's star market -- we ...
[0:00:44] ... live show and just as we got off the the news about Adrian Peterson. Came out and. Just after the week that we had already gone through and some of the discussions that we had I ...
[0:03:18] ... hard time welcoming him. In to my locker room and -- but Adrian Peterson. Let them Minnesota Vikings and he gets reinstated and he's probably with the team right now I mean Tuesday's that they often I don't know how ...
[0:04:27] ... out the door with me now now that you bring him back Adrian Peterson you're saying overweight due process. When I can get wins we've been read the report and knows what he did to a ...

We check in with Big Vince after the Patriots secured their first win of the season over the Minnesota Vikings.
We check in with Bill Belichick on a Patriots Monday for his thoughts on the Patriots win over Minnesota, and what the Pats will face in the home-opener against the Raiders. Bill also declined to comment on the 'league-matters' including the Adrian Peterson case.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley to discuss the Patriots’ 30-7 win over the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley on demand page.

With the win in hand, Belichick became the seventh head coach in league history to win 200 games. Belichick credited those he was able to coach as he reached the landmark win total.

“That means I coached a lot of good players, that’s what that means,” Belichick said. “Those guys are the ones that win them. They go out there and they’re the ones who make the plays. I’ve been very fortunate to coach a lot of great players.”

Continued Belichick: “When I got into coaching, it certainly wasn’t for the money. It was because I enjoyed the game and the competitiveness of it and all that goes with football. Twenty-five dollars a week, that isn’t why you do it. But things have worked out well financially since then, so I have no complaints about that. But that’s not why I got into it. As a head coach you just try and have the best year you can have each year. I don’t think in 1991 I was thinking about 2014. I probably wasn’t thinking about 1993 too much either. I was probably thinking about 1991. That’s kind of what our job is, year to year and week to week. So right now I’m just thinking about Oakland.”

The absence of running back Adrian Peterson from Sunday’s game forced the Vikings rely on backup tailbacks. Belichick said the change did not affect the Patriots’ defensive scheme in any way.

“They still have good quality backs,” Belichick said. “I think that Norv [Turner], the system that he runs is still pretty much his system. I think it would have been no different if a player got hurt on the first series or first quarter of the game. They would probably do what they would kind of normally do with the other 10 guys. It’s really hard to change an entire offense or defense when one guy goes out. It’s easier to try and replace whoever that person is and work around it the best you can.”

Unlike Week 1 against the Dolphins, the Patriots ran the ball effectively against the Minnesota defense. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined to rush for 141 yards for the game.

“It’s easy to commit to something when it’s going fairly well,” Belichick said of the ground game. “When you’re averaging two yards a carry, it’s hard to stay committed to it. You got to out there and gain yards. If you’re gaining yards it’s a lot easier to continue to do that. The score certainly played into the situation, so we were able to hand the ball off more. We were gaining more with our run game.”

Chandler Jones had one of the highlights of the game, blocking and running back a Blair Walsh field goal attempt for a touchdown. Belichick noted the play was one the entire staff should get credit for.

“It was a good team play, a real good combination of a good scheme from (special teams coach Scott O’Brien) and assistant special teams coach Joe Judge), and a good execution by the players,” Belichick said. “Chandler had good space that was created by his teammates and Chandler did a good job of coming through and flattening down the line and getting in front of the guard, not running up the field, but getting in front of the guard where the ball was in flight. He was able to get his hands up and made a great play on the scoop and score.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On West Coast teams having to play 1:00 p.m. ET games on the East Coast, as the Raiders will do when visiting the Patriots on Sunday: “For every long week, there’s a short week. For every long trip, there’s a short trip. It all evens out in the end the way the schedule’s set up. Sooner or later the East Coast plays on the West Coast, the West Coast plays on the East Coast. It all evens out. Every time we talk about a short week, there’s somewhere along the lines a long week to make up for it. And all the other teams have the pretty much the same deal.”

On getting the game ball after the game from owner Robert Kraft: “Honestly I kind of lost track of all that. When [Kraft] started to make the presentation, I wasn’t really sure what he was doing. I started to make the presentation and I realized it was about me. It’s very flattering to be listed with those other great coaches. I’ve been very fortunate to coach a lot of good players.”

On his very first win as an NFL head coach and coaching the Browns in his first year, which was a 20-0 win over the Patriots: “We weren’t a very good team. No lead was really safe, too safe with us.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork joined Dale & Holley on Monday to discuss New England’s 30-7 win over the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley on demand page.

Against the Dolphins in Week 1, the Patriots defense allowed 23 unanswered points in the second half. Wilfork said after the game that the Patriots would step up their performance against the Vikings. The defense did just that, allowing just one touchdown early in the game against Minnesota.

“I think we did pretty well,” Wilfork said of the defense. “Everything wasn’t perfect but it definitely was a step in the right direction. Going into that game just kind of felt that this week was a good week for us to get back on track and start playing the way we want to play. That was a huge step forward for us. We just have to continue to just keep grinding away, this week, weeks after this. It’s going to get tougher. Every game gets tougher. Every game is more important.”

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson did not play in Sunday’s game because a domestic abuse incident with his son. Despite not having to go against one of the league’s best running backs, Wilfork said he wished the Patriots could have faced him.

“I was kind of bummed out because I really wanted us to face a good back,” Wilfork said. “Not saying that the backs they had weren’t good, but when you talk about Adrian Peterson, he’s one of the best in the game. I thought it’d be a good challenge for us defensively to go in off of a performance that we had a week before, with a running back that definitely knows what he’s doing. But we didn’t get it. But at the same time, we didn’t let that affect how we went into the game plan.”

The Patriots defense also used used a multitude of packages throughout the game to contain the Vikings offense.

“We know sometimes it might be a 3-4, it might be a nickel package, it may be a sub package, it might a 4-3, depending on what that team is doing, how we want to attack them. But it’s good to go in and out on different defenses and have the personnel to do that and I think we do. I think we do have the personnel to go from whatever defense that we want to run. I think that’s what makes this defense pretty special because we have the guys that can do that from the front all the way to the back.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On the the Peterson arrest and Vikings handling of it: “I try not to get into it because everybody has their own opinion. That’s something I’m not going to touch. I’m not going to go there. It’s difficult for him to deal with something like that, to listen to outsiders, or listen to me speak on what he has going on in his personal life is disrespectful.”

On playing the first home game of the year on Sunday against the Raiders: “You’re home. You feel more comfortable playing at your place. Not just from a schedule standpoint. This is our backyard. You have to be able to win at home. And it starts this week. We’re going to have some games here, it’s going to be tough. Every game is tough. When you’re dealing with home, you have to take care of your backyard.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano