|08.17.13 at 1:50 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tim Tebow should be glad he doesn’t have to be teacher and pupil since grading his latest effort in the preseason might result in failure, or at the very least, an incomplete.
Tebow struggled even more than he did in his 4-for-12 performance against the Eagles a week earlier. Friday night, before the Gillette Stadium crowd for the first time as a Patriot, Tebow came in against Tampa Bay’s second and third-string defense and completed just 1-of-7 passes for -1 yards, an interception and a 0.0 quarterback rating.
It doesn’t get much worse than that.
How would he grade his performance?
‘Well, that’s definitely not my job,” Tebow said. “I just got to go out there and play as hard as I can and try to improve and get better and I’ll let a lot of smarter people grade us and judge us.’
Tebow came out of Friday’s night’s feeling like he’s getting better.
‘I feel like I’m improving every day and you know, growing and learning, and learning the offense. That’s what it’s about ‘ every day trying to get a little better.’
Where exactly is the progress for Tebow so far?
‘Just in learning the offense; making calls, drops and timing. Hopefully, you will see it in all those areas,’ Tebow said.
He did admit that he’s feeling the frustration just like everyone else was watching him Friday.
‘Oh yeah,” he admitted. “I think any competitor does. You want to try and score every time you get the ball. You want to make every throw. You want to get your team into the right call every play and as a competitor, you want to do your best and play to the best of your abilities and have it all go right and sometimes it doesn’t and you just have to keep going.’
Tebow said he’s not worried about naysayers at this point, naysayers who predict he won’t make the 53-man roster on opening day in Buffalo.
‘I worry about what I can control, not listening to outside influences and worrying about what I can’t control,” Tebow said. “It’s my attitude and my effort and getting better every day and just staying focused.’
|08.17.13 at 1:31 am ET|
Brady was a perfect 8-for-8 on the opening 15-play drive, including four passes for 46 yards to Amendola. That drive concluded when Brady hit Amendola on a double-post pattern for his first touchdown in a Patriots’ uniform.
‘I just had a post route. It was a double post from myself and I think Kenbrell [Thompkins] on the outside and they just played a coverage where they kind of let me go. It was good to get it in.’
Amendola finished with six catches on seven targets for 71 yards and the first-quarter score.
‘I thought we got some good work in. We wanted to start fast, that was our goal,” Amendola added. “I felt like we made some plays early and it was good that we got on the board early, too. [It’s a] work in progress.’
As for Brady’s nearly unbelievable precision in the first two preseason games (18-for-20, 185 yards and 2 TDs), Amendola said he’s not surprised.
‘Tom works really hard,” Amendola said. “He gets the job done a lot of the time and that’s why he’s so good. Like I said, [there are] a lot of fresh faces in our receiving room and we’re just all trying to get on the same page.
“Tom’s like a coach out there on the field. He knows every intricacy of the offense and he helps the young guys out a lot. He’s a leader.”
|08.17.13 at 12:53 am ET|
|08.16.13 at 11:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No concerns about Tom Brady‘s knee, as the quarterback started Friday night against the Buccaneers and looked very sharp leading the Patriots past Tampa, 25-21, in the second preseason game for both teams.
Brady went 11-for-12 for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Shane Vereen was the leading offensive option for the Patriots, ending the night with four carries for 29 yards and four catches for 46 yards. In addition, Danny Amendola had six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, the Bucs got a relatively nice night from rookie Mike Glennon, who played the bulk of the game after coming in relief for starter Josh Freeman. Glennon went 12-for-22 for 121 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception.
There will be a temptation to look too much into this game. Don’t do it. These two teams play again in five weeks for real — no one was interesting in tipping their hand too much Friday night, at least from a personnel/scheme perspective. With that being said, here are a few quick notes on the game:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
‘¢In the end, there were absolutely zero questions left when it came to the state of Brady’s left knee. As was the case last week against the Eagles, the quarterback was astoundingly accurate: In his two series against the Bucs, the Patriots came away with two scores, a touchdown on the first sequence, an artfully executed series that ended with a perfectly delivered 26-yard strike to Amendola where he found the receiver over the middle. (His best pass of the night likely came when he gently floated one to massive rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld in the far corner of the end zone that allowed New England to pick up their first two-point conversion of the night.) In his two preseason games, he’s a combined 18-for-20 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, and has played 39 snaps.
‘¢Ryan Mallett was mostly on the good side, including a nice sequence at the end of the first half that would have resulted in at least three points if New England weren’t flagged for a pair of penalties that turned a 35-yard field goal attempt into a 50-yarder that was missed by Stephen Gostkowski. (Vereen had a drop on the drive that could have gotten the Patriots even closer.) He ended the game 12-for-20 for 137 yards and a touchdown (on 24 total snaps), and while it won’t completely silence his critics, it was an improvement on his final stat line from the preseason opener against the Eagles.
‘¢The Patriots front four had a good start, coming away with four sacks in the first quarter-plus and dominating the Tampa offensive line. Brandon Spikes (two sacks), Chandler Jones (two) and Rob Ninkovich (one) all had sacks in the first half, and all played a major role in limiting the Tampa Bay offense to -1 yards of total offense through the first 1 1/2 quarters.
‘¢Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan got a lot of time in the first half and into the second, and came away with one of the best defensive plays of the night when he took an interception back for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. After dropping what would have been a sure pick last week against the Eagles, Ryan has started to show up more and more on the radar in a positive fashion — he had a similarly nice read on a ball that he picked off in practice on Wednesday. He’s not a starter, but he’s certainly pushing his way up the depth chart.
WHAT WENT WRONG
‘¢Another rough night for special teams, including a sequence at the end of the half where two penalties (holding and false start) turned a 35-yard field goal into a 50-yard attempt. Gostkowski knocked it off the upright — the Bucs made them pay, as they turned it around quickly for a 37-yard field goal right before the first half. There was a shanked punt, four penalties in all, and to cap it all off, New England also allowed a 63-yard kickoff return. Bad night for Scott O’Brien‘s special teamers.
‘¢It didn’t come back to bite them, but the Patriots’ offensive line took a pair of penalties on the opening drive — a personal foul on Logan Mankins and a false start for Ryan Wendell. It didn’t come back to haunt them, but that’s not the kind of thing you want to see from two key members of your offensive line at any time.
‘¢On the injury front, offensive lineman R.J. Mattes went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return.
‘¢The Patriots second-team defense (or most of them, anyway) had a bad series late in the second quarter when Glennon put together a nice nine-play, 65-yard drive that took 4:09 and culminated with a 13-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree over the middle that looked like it was the result of missed communication between cornerback Marquice Cole and a New England linebacker.
‘¢Second-year defensive back Tavon Wilson had a rough sequence at the start of the fourth quarter when he was beaten on three straight plays at the end of a Tampa Bay scoring drive. Wilson has struggled to maintain consistency over the course of the summer, and has been fighting for a spot at the back end of the depth chart. Not the sort of performance that will help when you are battling for a roster spot.
‘¢Tim Tebow worked for much of the fourth quarter, and while he was greeted by cheers when he arrived in the game, he struggled. There were several bad throws, including a pick with just over 10 minutes to go that sailed over the head of Kenbrell Thompkins on a play over the middle. (The Bucs turned that into a 23-yard field goal a few plays later.) After the turnover, Gillette Stadium started to empty out.
|08.16.13 at 8:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady did play Friday night and show absolutely no ill effects from the hit he took to the left knee on Wednesday in practice.
Brady was brilliant in the opening drive, completing all seven passes, including four to Danny Amendola for 46 yards. Brady capped off a 15-play scoring drive to open the game by hitting Amendola on a 26-yard route to the end zone.
With so much speculation on whether he would play at all, Brady finished the night 11-for-12 for 107 yards and the one touchdown. In two games this preseason, covering a total of four series, Brady is 18-for-20 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Brady completed his first 11 passes before his third-down pass for Amendola fell incomplete to force a punt on his second series.
Brady came out after the first quarter and, like last week in Philadelphia, was replaced by Ryan Mallett to begin the second quarter.
|08.16.13 at 7:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Whether Tom Brady plays one snap, one quarter or one half against Tampa Bay or the rest of the preseason, Stevan Ridley knows this much – his starting quarterback will be there when it matters the most.
There has been plenty of debate as to whether Brady should play at all against Tampa Bay, just two days after suffering a scare to his left knee in a joint practice with Tampa Bay.
Ridley, the lead back who figures to start this season in Brady’s backfield, believes Brady knows Brady best. And, after getting a clean bill of health, he’s not worried about if or how much his star quarterback plays.
“That’s the coach’s call,” Ridley said after Thursday’s practice. “I know that he’s going to be there when it counts. When the season matters the most, Tom’s going to be out there. So, I just don’t want us to rush him or anything like that. I think Tom will make the right decision and the coaches will too.”
Ridley was amused when asked if it matters if Brady plays in the preseason.
“Absolutely, what do you mean? It’s a whole different ball game when Brady’s in the game,” he said. “So, I think it matters for everybody that’s watching and everybody that’s out there on the field.”
Ridley took the ball from Brady in the first preseason game and, on the first snap, ran for 62 yards.
“For me, I just have to take it take it day-by-day,” Ridley said. “With Brady back out there, for us it’s a great sign. It was a scary moment but really with Tom, I know he’s a competitor and he’s going to do whatever to get out there. I’m just glad they took him out, checked him out and made sure he was good. My heart is at peace, man, knowing that he’s OK and nothing major is going on.”
When did Ridley finally breathe a sigh of relief on Brady’s health?
Right after [Wednesday’s] practice,” he said. “Got the news pretty quick.
“That’s our leader, man. I’ll say that first and foremost. We ride with Tom Brady all the way. Anytime you see somebody go down like that, everything kind of stops in front of you. But for us, we just have to move on and hope for the best, and that’s what we did. We found out later that day in team meetings that he was going to be OK, and that was all the news we needed to know, that our quarterback was going to be with us and not have any major surgeries or anything major go on with him. So, we’re relieved.”
|08.16.13 at 5:40 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Given what happened to Tom Brady in practice on Wednesday, we want to know how concerned you are about the star quarterback playing in a meaningless preseason game against Tampa Bay.
Brady has reportedly indicated he will play Friday against the Bucs, despite a bruised left knee sustained when Nate Solder tripped over him in practice.
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