FOXBORO — There’s a consistent theme developing over the first quarter of the season for the Patriots – inconsistency.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both searching for consistency. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both searching for consistency. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — There’s a consistent theme developing over the first quarter of the season for the Patriots – inconsistency.

Julian Edelman said it after Sunday’s 16-9 win over the Raiders at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady repeated it to Dennis and Callahan Monday morning and, after watching the film in detail, Bill Belichick echoed that same message in his Monday conference call.

The Patriots are making plays but not consistently. It’s one of the characteristics of the 2014 Patriots that has fans concerned despite a 2-1 record.

“Pretty much I feel the same way as I did yesterday after the game. Like I said, it was a grind-it-out kind of game ‘€“ tough, hard fought, it came down to a couple plays in the fourth quarter,” Belichick noted. “Fortunately we were able to make them. We just need to do a better job in a lot of areas; just keep working to improve.

“I thought we did some things well but not consistently. We’€™ve just got to keep working to get to a higher level all the way across the board in all positions, all the units, coaches, players ‘€“ all of us. We just have to keep working harder to improve and be more consistent. We have an extra day this week so hopefully that will give us an extra opportunity to do that. It’€™s what we need to do.”

The Patriots don’t play again until next Monday when they travel to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs.

One area the Patriots clearly need to improve is their red area execution. They were 1-for-4, including an ugly sequence at the end of the first half when they had six chances inside the Raiders 5 and couldn’t punch it in the end zone, settling for three points and a 10-3 halftime lead. Tom Brady appeared to lose track of the down-and-distance following a first-down run by Stevan Ridley that had the clock run from 46 seconds down to 12.

The Patriots used a timeout with eight seconds left. That was followed by a bad snap and the Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal. Time management didn’t seem to be ideal.

“I’€™d like to score there,” Belichick said. “That’€™s the main thing. We had eight seconds to go on the last play. The ball was on the three-yard line, two-yard line, whatever it was. Obviously we couldn’€™t afford to get sacked or be tackled but it was a play, a chance to throw in the end zone.

“Eight seconds is really plenty of time to do that ‘€“ throw in the end zone and either catch it or kick a field goal, kind of similar to the Baltimore game in ‘€™11. We had three downs down there. We had our chances. We had three downs and we just didn’€™t, we ran two runs and we felt good about those runs but we just didn’€™t, we weren’€™t quite able to get them in and then threw on third down.”

As for third down overall, the Patriots showed some improvement, converting exactly half of their 18 chances on Sunday, but only four of 10 in the second half as the Patriots were looking to extend drives and put away the Raiders.

“I think third down is related to first and second down,” Belichick said. “That’€™s all tied together. I think we just have to be more consistent on every down, certainly third down. We were 50 percent on third down, including the one at the end of the game, so that would lead the league, or come close to it, almost every year.

“But we have to do a better job on first and second down and create better opportunities on third down or just bypass third down altogether and convert on more second downs. We need to do a better job on third down too. I think our consistency is an area for us to improve in offensively all the way across the board. The downs before third down are important too.

Here are more takeaways from Belichick’s conference call from Monday:

Q: Yesterday you said the defensive pass interference call on Logan Ryan was something you wanted to go back and look at it. Did you see the same things you thought you saw? Also, the offensive pass interference call on Brandon LaFell. It looked like maybe he was close to establishing his spot there after he ran his route. What did you see on that play as well?

BB: I’€™d say going back and looking, they’€™re close plays. I think you’€™d have to talk to the officiating department and the league and get a complete explanation since they were the ones who threw it. It doesn’€™t really matter what I think. The only thing that matters is what they call. We have to play penalty-free.

Q: The timeout before the Rob Gronkowski touchdown, can you take us through what you were discussing during that timeout and what you were trying to correct and what Tom Brady might have seen that he didn’€™t want to run the play that was called?

BB: It was pretty late in the second quarter there, I think there was like less than five minutes to go. We had three timeouts so we felt like [in] a situation like that, a critical situation ‘€“ third down in the red area ‘€“ to make sure we get the best play called and get in the best situation so what we had, I thought that what we had maybe wasn’€™t the best that we could do and I think Tom sort of saw the same thing. We all decided ‘€“ Josh [McDaniels], we all just decided it would be better to take the timeout [and] make sure we got a play we wanted in there and go with it. As it turned out, it would have been good to have another timeout possibly at the end of the half, even though we didn’€™t lose a down or we didn’€™t really need it but it might have been good to have there. But, yeah, that was a critical play and after we saw their substitution and their matchup at the timeout, then we just decided to go to a different look and not let them defend what we had shown the play before that we didn’€™t run.

Q: Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive last week and this week Aaron Dobson was inactive this week. What made Thompkins a better matchup this week against the Raiders?

BB: We just try to take everything into consideration when we go with our final 46-man active roster ‘€“ the game plan, the matchups, the different roles in the kicking game and sometimes how that affects other positions. In the end, if we could have more than 46 players active, we would have loved to have several of the guys that were deactivated at the game. There’€™s probably a good chance that several of them would have played. But in the end, we just have to [with] the combination of all the things I just mentioned, try to make the decision that we feel is best for the team relative to the 46 guys that are there. Again, that is a function of multiple things.

Q: It looked like Vince Wilfork dropped off the line of scrimmage when he intercepted that ball, similar to what we saw the week before with Dominique Easley and similar to what we saw earlier in the game with defensive linemen dropping. Is that something you’€™re experimenting with or is it something you’€™ve always done?

BB: No, that’€™s something that we’€™ve had in our system for quite a while. I would say the difference though in this one is Vince didn’€™t drop out. He was part of the rush. They had all five linemen in and so it was kind of congested there in the middle and I think [Derek] Carr sort of pump faked or looked outside and I think that kind of slowed our rush down a little bit. Maybe Vince saw him pump and he came off the rush thinking he was going to throw the ball. Then when Carr came back inside, kind of reloaded it and came back inside, then Vince had, I don’€™t want to say stopped rushing but was kind of reacting to where the quarterback was throwing rather than continuing to rush.

“So, he was part of the three-man rush on this one, whereas I think the play you’€™re referring to last week on Chandler’€™s [Jones] sack and it came up a couple other times too, where we actually had another guy in coverage. So, on this play, the one you’€™re talking about, the interception, [Rob] Ninkovich actually would have been the eighth guy in coverage and Vince as just kind of rushing the quarterback. But he didn’€™t drop out on that play.

Q: Did Easley drop out on one of the third down plays?

BB: Yes, earlier in the game. Yeah, he did. I think the first third down, he did, [yes]. That’€™s right, if I remember right ‘€“ yeah, the one where they threw to the tight end outside. It was the first third down, or second third down, it was early in the game. Yeah, I know what you’€™re talking about. So, yeah, we’€™ve done that from time to time, yes. But on the interception, Vince was part of the three-man rush and Ninkovich was part of the coverage.

Q: How do you balance your practice time with that extra day? How do you balance that time between addressing the things you need to address with your time at the same time you’€™re preparing and scheming for Kansas City?

BB: Right, yeah, I think that’€™s something that we’€™ll talk about as a staff and try to answer that question, the one that you just asked. Really, that’€™s a question that we have to ask ourselves, is how do we get the most out of the time that we have. That’€™s something that we’€™ll have to talk about this week. Certainly there’€™s a balance between working on things that we need to work on no matter who we play and working on things that are specific to the Chiefs. Yeah, I think there’€™s a place for both there and we’€™ll have to talk about the best way to utilize our time and get the most out of it. As we all know with every long week is a short week and with every short week is a long week. So, it all in the end kind of washes out. This week we have an extra day.

“Next week, we won’€™t have one. Not that we’€™re planning ahead but I’€™m just saying that the opportunity to use the extra day this week, we’€™ll try to figure out how to get the most of that. In weeks when we have less time, we’€™ll just have to look at that whole timeframe and try to maximize the time that we do have. I think that’€™s really more the decision, ‘€˜OK, here’€™s what we have to work with.’€™ Just from a planning standpoint of that particular week, how do we get the most out of it? I think there are a number of things that you take into consideration there.

“One is what do you have to deal with, with your opponent. Two, what are the things that you need to work on. Three, what’€™s the health and physical status of your team or certain positions and how much can you really get done depending on who you have, who can practice, or how much they can practice and so forth? I’€™d say those are all the things that are kind of part of the conversation. Then we have a number of young players on the team, either on the roster or on the practice squad that are developing that it’€™s another opportunity for them to improve, not knowing when you might or might not need them but you want to keep working with those players too and see how they’€™re coming along. That’€™s another consideration. But again, it’€™s a question of how do you utilize your time and that’€™s really a weekly decision. This week we just have a little bit extra work but it’€™s kind of the same thing every week that we have to discuss and plan for.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Julian Edelman, who continues to be the only Patriots wide receiver to have any consistent production this season, joined the Middays with MFB crew for his weekly Monday appearance, one day after a 16-9 victory over the Raiders.

Julian Edelman, who continues to be the only Patriots wide receiver to have any consistent production this season, joined the Middays with MFB crew for his weekly Monday appearance, one day after a 16-9 victory over the Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots offense has yet to find a groove this season, and the issues cropped up again Sunday as New England scored only one touchdown.

“It’s an overall offensive thing right now. We’re just not clicking,” Edelman said. “We haven’t played one of our best games yet. It’s early in the year. We’re 2-1, so you’ve got to look at that. We’re taking care of the ball. We just have to improve our third down and red area offense a little better and play those situations out better. I’m sure we’ll be going back this week, we’re going to analyze the film today, take from the bad and build from the good and just try to improve. That’s what you do. If you can improve every day in this game, in this league, that’s when your team starts getting good.”

Although the Patriots have won two games in a row, most of the talk has been negative due to the manner in which the offense has played. Edelman said he understands the reaction.

“There’s a lot of expectations out here, especially with the history that we’ve had,” he said. “But that’s all noise. We just have to continue to try to get better, day in and day out. If we get five plays better next game, then you get 10 plays better the next game, then you start to get into a little something, that’s when you start developing your stride. That’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to go out here and we’re going to practice hard. We have an extra day of practice, we have a big game coming up against Kansas City on Monday night, so as long as we just try to improve, everyone just do their job, we’ll be all right.”

Edelman had 10 catches for 84 yards Sunday. On one play, he leaped in the air in an attempt to get into the end zone, but he ended up getting flipped and landing on his back a couple of yards short of pay dirt.

“If I would have scored it would have been good, it would have been worth it,” he said. “Definitely have to play a little smarter out there.”

Elaborating on how he approaches dangerous situations like that, he said, “You’ve got to analyze risk, you’ve got to know what situation you’re in. If it’s fourth down, third down and you’ve got to get a first down or something, that’s when you can go out and lay your body on the line a little bit more. There’s 16 games, you’ve just got to play a little smarter.”

Added Edelman: “Individually, trying to be out there for 16 games. Durability is better than ability sometimes, especially in this game, with how tough it is. Sometimes you’ve just got to know when the fight is over.”

Edelman said he learned some of that approach from former teammate Wes Welker.

“One thing about Wes is he analyzed his risk. He knew when the fight was over,” Edelman said. “That’s something you respect in a player like him, who’s done it consistently for years, year in and year out. That’s what Wes did. He protected himself. He knew when to get down. He’s a good player.”

Edelman appeared to be jawing briefly at the Oakland sideline following one play. Asked if he considers himself a trash-talker, he said: “I have fun. I have fun. … I don’t know if it’s trash-talking, it’s more just competing out there.  … It all depends on the game and who’s out there. It’s fun.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Tom Brady is trying to get in sync with his offensive line early in the season. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)FOXBORO -- The Patriots have big issues.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


Tom joined the show after the close win over Oakland.

[0:01:51] ... work in -- -- better. Talked everybody in the patriot organization. From Bill Belichick threw you down the ball boy admittedly knows more about football and I do but I watch in the us and I'm ...
[0:03:20] ... perceived -- another hypothetical question but to what extent does. Somebody like Logan Mankins attitude. Help. Eight teams and offensive line's play. He he brought attitude that he not I mean he was he was smartly ...
[0:17:29] ... me ask you this -- have you seen the footage. Of bulk Marky Mark -- Robert -- out to dry on the high fives and producing -- got a you've got to bust the owner about ...





Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s surprisingly close 16-9 victory over the lowly Raiders.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s surprisingly close 16-9 victory over the lowly Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Although they won, the Patriots continued to struggle offensively, putting up just 16 points at home against an unimpressive Raiders team.

“It’s great that we won the game. Obviously, offensively we’re just not doing as good a job as we’re capable of doing. We left a lot of points out there yesterday and made it a close game there. We just have some issues we’re going to have to try to fix here, and we’re going to have to try to fix them fast, because it only gets tougher from here.

“We’ve got a smart team, we’ve got a tough team, we’re physical, we’ve just got to execute better. I think we’ve done a good job with not turning the ball over, which has helped. We talk about that every week. But too many penalties, too many missed opportunities to score, it’s just not what our expectations are. We’re going to go back to work and see if we can do better.”

Some people have pointed the finger at the offensive line, which is without longtime coach Dante Scarnecchia, who retired after last season.

“For us to think about a bunch of hypothetical situations, it doesn’t serve us well,” Brady said. “That’s really for you guys, all the listeners and the fans. All those things that make for great sports talk aren’t necessarily what are in the minds of our team. Whether Dante’s here or not here, whether a player’s here or not there, it doesn’t matter, because we’re faced with what we’re faced with.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the offensive line, I’ve got a lot of confidence in coach [Dave DeGuglielmo] and what he’s doing. This goes back to us players, and us players doing a better job. I don’t think it has anything to do with the people who aren’t on the field. The people who affect the wins and losses in the game are the players, and we’ve got to go out there and throw the ball, catch the ball, run with the ball, block, tackle — all the things that it takes to win the game. I’m not going to sit here and say that it has anything to do with anything other than that, because that’s where I feel the responsibility always lies.”

Brandon LaFell, signed as a free agent in the offseason and expected to provide a much-needed boost to the receiving corps, made his first catch of the season Sunday.

“I don’t anybody’s really found their stride this year,” Brady said. “I don’t who you can point to on offense and say, wow, they’re really clicking.”

Brady, however, did acknowledge that Julian Edelman has had success.

“Yeah, he’s done a good job, so that’s one,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of other guys on offense. There’s 22 other guys on offense. So, I’m not going to sit here and say every single guy is clicking. We’ve had one individual player that’s caught some passes. Great. Does that make a good offense? I don’t think so.”

Danny Amendola also has yet to make a contribution this season, coming off a 2013 campaign when he underwhelmed after signing a big free agent contract.

“I think that there’s not one person on our team that has good individual statistics this year,” Brady said. “If we want to look at individual statistics for running back or receiver, tight end, quarterback — our offense hasn’t been producing, so no one’s going to have good statistics. That’s just the way it is. It’s not an individual problem. It’s a collective problem by our entire offense, the reason why we’re not producing more and producing better.

“We’ve all got to figure out how to do a better job of that. It’s not one person. It’s not not singling any person out to say, wow, if this person were out, or if this person were in, or — I mean, if we had 11 people on the field that were producing like Julian Edelman, we’d have a pretty good offense. We’ve got one guy.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On if the trade of Logan Mankins took away some of the toughness of this team: “He was [tough], but we’ve still got a lot of those guys, too. I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s just knowing our job, and everybody collectively doing their job better, so it’s better for all of us. It’s not one thing. … It’s not an easy thing to do. And that’s why the production is what it is. If it was easy, you’d just roll your helmet out there and score 30 points a game. Well, that’s not where it’s it. This team has different strengths than it has had in the past. That’s just based on the way your team is. Some years it’s offense, some years it’s defense, some years it’s special teams. Some years all of them have a little bit. … We’ve got a really great defense. Hopefully our offense, we can start doing more things so that we can become a more prolific offense, and then that will be a lot better for our team.”

On two passes to Rob Gronkowski that were off the mark: “Yeah, he was open [on the second-quarter crossing pattern]. He had some space. I just made a bad throw. The other one on the goal line was a pretty tight throw, pretty tight coverage. Charles [Woodson] got a finger on it. It just kind of disrupted the timing of the play. Yeah, I’ve got to hit the open guys. That’s what my role is. When I find someone that’s open, I’ve got to throw it and hit it.”

On the pick play on which LaFell has been penalized three times this season: “Brandon LaFell is 220 pounds, so when someone runs into him they usually take more of it than he does. We got called yesterday. Yeah, you’re trying to get in the way and make the guy … try to create some separation for your guy on offense. Every team in the league does it at some point. We’ve just been called. It sucks, because we got three really big completions and three big plays. But you’re right, there’s finesse to it. We’ve got to do a better job. All of us have to understand the concept and then try to play within the rules.”

On his block when Shane Vereen reversed direction and ran across the field: “I was trying to get out of the way. When he saw him coming back the other way, I was kind of [expletive]. … Shane’s a hell of a lot faster than I am, so I can’t sit there and coddle my way down the field. I just tried to find somebody and tried to get him down.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
The last minute of the Patriots' win Sunday left the field with a bunch of frustrated Raiders. (Getty Images)

The last minute of the Patriots’ win Sunday left the field with a bunch of frustrated Raiders. (Getty Images)

With just under a minute left in the Patriots’ Sunday tilt with the Raiders, Oakland running back Darren McFadden rushed into the end zone for what appeared to be a game-tying touchdown. But he would soon discover that it was all for naught.

Oakland rookie guard Gabe Jackson had been flagged for holding Patriots safety Patrick Chung.

One play later, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s attempt at a last-second, game-tying touchdown pass was picked off by Patriots’ defensive lineman Vince Wilfork after a deflection, ending Oakland’s comeback bid.

It should also be noted on the play before Jackson’s penalty, Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan was flagged for a questionable 24-yard pass interference penalty, where he and Andre Holmes were battling for position up the sideline.

Here were some of the Raiders’ thoughts on the controversial play:

“I saw it up on the big screen, and my opinion is it was not a hold,” said Raiders head coach Dennis Allen

“I thought it was a clean block,” Jackson told reporters. “But the call is what it was so I don’€™t have too much to say about that. … Maybe they saw something from a different angle.”

What did you think?

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Blog Author: 
WEEI

Vince Wilfork delivered in the clutch for the Patriots on Sunday.</p>
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