|Bill Belichick on O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo: ‘I think he’s done a good job’||09.23.14 at 6:18 pm ET|
Bill Belichick is offering a vote of confidence to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.
In his first season replacing Dante Scarnecchia, DeGuglielmo has watched as his starting left guard Logan Mankins was traded away to Tampa Bay and the starting center from last year Ryan Wendell battles a knee injury.
The patchwork offensive line has been one of the foremost areas of concern and criticism as Tom Brady has been hit hard and often throughout the first three games. Rodney Harrison went as far as to tell WEEI’s MFB show Tuesday that Brady “doesn’t trust” his offensive line right now.
On Tuesday, though, Belichick offered some perspective on DeGuglielmo’s background as an NFL offensive line coach who has worked for the Giants, Dolphins and Jets.
“Well, first of all, Dave is a pretty experienced coach,” Belichick said. “He’s been in a number of different systems, including with Coach [Brian] Daboll down in Miami, which is a very similar system [to] the Giants, which there is a lot of carryover from Coach [Tom] Coughlin going all the way back to Charlie [Weis] and the offense that we really established when we came here in 2000.”
Belichick also acknowledged Tuesday that while DeGuglielmo may be new to the system Scarnecchia left in New England, he is far from overwhelmed by it.
“So, I think it’s true that he did come into an established offensive system but one that he has worked in in different forms throughout the course of his career,” Belichick said. “So, I don’t think the transition or the adjustment in the offseason when we were going through all of our protections and schemes and plays and adjustments and so forth, that it was like trying to learn a whole new foreign language or anything like that. But it was kind of fine tuning some things that we did relative to similar things that he’s done in the past.
“That’s just been a continuation for our entire staff, no different than on the defensive side of the ball with Coach [Brendan] Daly coming in, working with Matt [Patricia] and Pat Graham and Brian [Flores] and Josh [Boyer]. It’s the same type of thing. It’s just the whole staff getting on the same page as to how we’re coaching certain plays, what the techniques are, how it fits together, what the adjustments are and that coach working with the individual players at his position. It’s pretty common really in the NFL to have some type of coaching changes every year. There aren’t too many staffs that don’t have that.
|Bill Belichick: ‘We did some things well but not consistently’||09.22.14 at 12:20 pm ET|
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.
|Rob Gronkowski says Patriots did enough but ‘that’s not always going to get the job done’||09.21.14 at 7:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski is a realist.
He knows 16 points might be the 0-3 Raiders at Gillette but the bar is a little higher than beating a winless team traveling cross country on its way to London.
Gronkowski had the only touchdown of the day in a 16-9 win over the Raiders Sunday as the Patriots improved to 2-1.
“Sometimes there is frustration but you always want to move on to the next play, and that’s what we were doing,” Gronkowski said. “We did enough this game, but that’s not always going to get the job done. We’ve just got to keep working together as a unit and keep working hard.”
While there wasn’t much offensively to get excited about, Gronkowski and his continued great play in the red area is one thing Patriots fans can take comfort in.
He had another touchdown catch on a crossing route in the end zone in the second quarter as the Patriots found the end zone for the only time on the afternoon. Gronk would’ve had a second touchdown catch if it weren’t for Charles Woodson sticking his hand up at the last moment and deflecting Brady’s pass to an open Gronkowski in the back of the end zone.
“Just a little over route and just got open on the linebacker, and Tom put a nice ball right there, and I just made the catch and got in,” Gronkowski said of his second-quarter grab. “So, good job by everyone as a unit, and we executed well.”
One of the few times on the afternoon an offensive player in a blue jersey could say that. Julian Edelman would be another. He had 10 catches on 13 targets for 84 hard-fought yards, including a somersault flip near the goal line. After the game Edelman, perhaps after a discussion with coaches, admitted he’s got to do a better job avoiding hits.
“Julian is a warrior,” Gronkowski said in admiration. “He has the ball, he goes full speed, game, practice, whatever. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve been around.”
Gronk finished with three catches on six targets for 44 yards, including finding a hole in the Raiders zone at midfield for 22 yards on a pivotal 3rd-and-15 conversion from Tom Brady.
“We’ve just got to keep working together as a unit, and that starts at practice first,” Gronkowski said. “We’ve got to get clicking for sure. We did enough today to get that victory, but there are always a lot of improvements, starting with myself. I could make a lot better blocks, better routes. So we’ve just got to go out there in practice and have the offense clicking altogether as one and bring it out to the games.
“A win is a win. Every team is good in the NFL, so whenever you come out with a win, especially in the first game at home, it’s a win. The defense played very well, and we just did what we had to do to get that victory, which is huge.”
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Patriots’ escape of Raiders||09.21.14 at 6:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price analyze how the Patriots escaped Raiders, 16-9, Sunday in the home opener at Gillette Stadium, improving to 2-1 on the season. Tom Brady threw the game’s only touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski in the first half and Stephen Gostkowski added three field goals to hold off the 0-3 Raiders, who had a chance to tie the game in the closing moments before a Vince Wilfork interception sealed the win.
|Darrelle Revis on an ‘ugly’ win: ‘We showed great character’||09.21.14 at 6:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis has been in New England long enough to know that a win is a win is a win.
He repeated that mantra after Sunday’s 16-9 win over Oakland at Gillette Stadium that had most fans paying close attention a lot longer than they they might have anticipated.
The Patriots were not able to dominate the the Raiders offensively but their defense kept them out of the end zone, something Revis said the Patriots should feel very good about.
“It was an ugly win for us as a team but sometimes it comes down to that,” Revis said. “We showed great character down the stretch.”
In a move that caught many by surprise, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr came right at Revis, not backing down in making several completions on the Pro Bowl corner in the second half. Revis was asked if is comfortable in the Patriots system after three weeks.
“This is Week 3, right? I think I’m fine,” Revis said, laughing off any concern. “Today is over with. We won. That’s my focus. You go back to the drawing board and you make your corrections. It’s really not that serious. You go out there and compete. This is the NFL. Guys make plays. We all make plays. My thing is we came out and fought hard. It was an ugly win for us and we move on.”
As for the final drive, Revis watched as his fellow corner Logan Ryan was victimized by a pass interference call while defending Andre Holmes. The Raiders appeared to tie the game on the next play when Darren McFadden ran it into the end zone untouched but a holding call gave the Patriots new life. Ryan deflected a Carr pass intended for Denarius Moore and Vince Wilfork wound up with the ball for his third career interception.
‘It was a great stand for us as a defense and sometimes it comes down to those last final seconds,” Revis said. “There were a bunch of calls in those last few seconds and they ended up scoring but there was a flag, it was a holding call. We fought hard and we fought through it and we ended up coming out of it with a win.’
On a day when the Patriots couldn’t get their offense in gear, the defense saved the day.
‘I don’t know if it’s the defense leading [or] the special teams or the offense,” Revis said. “We just try to play great in all three phases and that’s what we try to do every Sunday. This one got a little ugly out there and it was a tough game. The only thing that I feel like we can get out of this is that we have great character. We fought down the stretch. It was a hard, tough game. You’ve got to commend Oakland for playing hard as well. This shows a lot, this win right here, for this team. We can build off this win. It was an ugly win. We showed great character but we can build off this going down the stretch.’
|Shane Vereen, Jamie Collins active, Aaron Dobson and Alfonzo Dennard inactive for Patriots, Maurice Jones-Drew out for Raiders||09.21.14 at 11:50 am ET|
FOXBORO — Shane Vereen (shoulder) and Jamie Collins (thigh) will be part of the game plan for the Patriots but Aaron Dobson will not.
Collins returns to the lineup after sitting out last week with a thigh injury.
This marks the second time Dobson has been inactive this season (he was also inactive in Week 1 in Miami). Kenbrell Thompkins, who sat out last week in Minnesota, is active again.
Also inactive are defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder) and Don Jones (hamstring), offensive linemen Josh Kline and Ryan Wendell(knee) and running back James White and defensive lineman Zach Moore. Michael Buchanan, who injured his ankle in the preseason finale against the Giants, is active for the first time this season.
For the Raiders, running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been scratched. Jones-Drew has carried the ball just nine times for 11 yards in two games. One of those carries gained 12 yards, meaning his other eight carries have netted minus-1 yard. The Raiders are next-to-last in rushing in the NFL after two games, averaging just 63 yards. The Raiders offense has been anemic overall, averaging just 261 yards overall in two losses.
Also inactive for the Raiders are QB Matt Schaub, CB Chimdi Chekwa, LB Sio Moore, LB Nick Roach, G Tony Bergstrom and OT Matt McCants.
|Shane Vereen expecting the best from ‘very aggressive’ Raiders||09.21.14 at 10:11 am ET|
FOXBORO — Shane Vereen knows all the stats. He knows the Raiders enter the game dead last in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up exactly 200 yards per game on the ground. Last week, Houston’s Arian Foster had 138 yards on 28 carries.
So this figures to be a day when the Patriots turn to he and Stevan Ridley to gash the Raiders defense left, right and up the middle.
But Vereen still thinks the Oakland front seven can be a formidable opponent, populated with lots of veterans like Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Pat Sims and young talent like strong side linebacker Khalil Mack.
“Absolutely, every Sunday we expect our opponents’ best and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Oakland,” Vereen said. “I’ve seen a lot of the same. They’re very aggressive. They’re a very veteran group. They’ve played a lot of football. They know what they’re doing. It’s not like a young team so we’re going have to really play well and execute.
“Each D-line is different and each game plan is different. I would say with any aggressive D-line, patience is key. They’re going to make plays on their side of the ball so you just have to take the positives with the negatives, take what they give you.”
It may not be what the Raiders give Vereen on Sunday that matters. It may be getting the Patriots to give him the ball more. But Vereen maintains sharing running responsibilities with Stevan Ridley comes with the job. Last week, Vereen had 11 of the team’s 16 rushes in the first half before Ridley exploded in the second half for 23 carries and 87 of his 101 yards on the day.
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