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Patriots taking lessons from win over Miami and moving forward

09.13.11 at 9:23 pm ET
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Tom Brady led the offense past Miami on Monday night. (AP)

Less than 24 hours after their season-opening win over the Dolphins in Miami, the Patriots braintrust stated unequivocally Tuesday afternoon that they have already moved on, shifting their focus from the Dolphins to this week’s opponent, the San Diego Chargers.

The Patriots arrived back at Gillette at 5 a.m. on Tuesday and sent the players home for the day. Subsequently, they hadn’t yet had a chance to look at the game film. But that’s not stopping them, as they’re already on a short week to prepare for Philip Rivers and the Chargers, who will come into Gillette on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a quick turnaround — we’re on to San Diego,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “I haven’t had a chance to look at Miami, we’re just trying to get started on San Diego, so we’ll get to [the Miami film] tomorrow — later tonight or tomorrow morning, we’ll see how it goes.

“Of course it’s good go down there, playing on the road with all the conditions we had to deal with, and come away with the win. It’s great to be 1-0, but we have to put that behind us and turn our attention to the Chargers.”

That’s not to say there wasn’t some talk about the win over the Dolphins. Even though the Patriots’ passing game set numerous records — including 517 passing yards from Tom Brady on the way to a 38-24 win over Miami — there was more than enough to give the coaching staff plenty of material this week. He pointed to a couple of stalled offensive drives, as well an inability to “close out” the game down the stretch because they failed to pick up a couple of first downs.

“There are a lot of areas [to improve on],” Belichick said. “There are always things on every play, even good plays, that a lot of times aren’t done quite properly and had the defense or the offense been in different play or done things a little bit differently, then we would have had a problem.

“You keep correcting those and try to get as many things right as possible. But I would include every position on that. Again, the coaching staff, all of us – we all did plenty of things in that game that we need to better.”

Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien echoed Belichick’s statement.

“There are always areas to improve on, whether it’s turnovers, the six penalties, the two-minute [offense] at end of half, the red-area execution,” O’Brien said. “So, there’s a lot of things to improve on in a game and that’s what we’ll work hard at doing, in addition to first and second downs, and getting better at our game plan for San Diego.”

Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco had a limited role in his Patriots’ debut on Monday (O’Brien said the veteran played “about 20 snaps” against the Dolphins), but the offensive coordinator intimated that New England fans shouldn’t read too much into the fact that Ochocinco, who caught one ball on the night, wasn’t utilized that much in comparison to the other receivers. Instead, O’Brien said Ochocinco, like every player, continues to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

“Every week it will change, and one of the things that’s great about the guys here is that they all understand that – that each guy has his role,” O’Brien said. “Maybe his role is going to be a little bit bigger in a certain game than it is in another game, and that will be the same for the [running] backs, receivers and tight ends.

“In regards to Chad, I think he’s worked hard to improve every week, and he has. He played about 20 plays last night and it will be week-to-week just like it is with every position.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Chad Ochocinco, Philip Rivers
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