|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘We don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them’||12.16.13 at 7:55 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was uncharacteristically brief in his postgame press conference following Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Dolphins, joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to expound on his frustration about the disappointing loss.
The Patriots had the ball deep in Miami territory in the final seconds but could not get the go-ahead touchdown in the loss that prevented the Patriots from clinching the AFC East title and cost them the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
“That was really one that we let kind of get away,” Brady said. “We had a lot of great opportunities to win the game and win a division title and just came up short. It’s just frustrating all the way around. We got off to a better start than we got off to the previous, whatever, three or four weeks, and went in at halftime with the lead. It felt like we moved the ball pretty good all day, we just couldn’t get enough points on the board. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get the ball in the end zone.”
The Patriots are playing without a number of key offensive weapons — Rob Gronkowski being the latest to go down with his season-ending knee injury last Sunday — but Brady isn’t interested in using that as an excuse for the team’s offensive struggles.
“The truth is we had plenty of chances anyway, so I don’t think any of things really matter yesterday,” Brady said. “Is it great to have everyone healthy? Yeah, of course it is. But that didn’t matter yesterday. We had plenty of chances without those guys on the field. We just have to come up with ways to score more points, because it’s not going to cut it, 20 points.
“Like I said, we do things well enough at times to move the ball down the field, get ourselves in good position. But then we don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them.”
As frustrated as he is with his team’s inability to score on the final possession, Brady said it’s just as important that the Patriots find a way to finish drives earlier in the game.
“If we can score more points and make it tougher on the other team, it won’t always have to come down to a last-second play,” Brady said. “We’ve made plenty of them this year, which has been great. Yesterday we were right on the cusp there of doing it again. We just didn’t quite do enough.”
Added Brady: “We just all have to do a better job, because our margin of error is very slim. We can’t make any mistakes or give them any opportunities. If we have plays that are there to be made, then I’ve got to throw it and hit it. We’ve got to come up with them.
“We’re not winning by 30 points. Every game comes down to the end. We’ve just got to do a better job when we have opportunities as a team in all three phases to make plays to help us secure wins.”
|Danny Amendola on fourth-quarter pass play that came up short: ‘I’d like to have that one’||12.15.13 at 5:48 pm ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Wide receiver Danny Amendola had 10 catches on 14 targets for 131 yards Sunday against the Dolphins, but it was one that got away that he’ll be beating himself up about over the next few days.
With the Patriots sitting at the Miami 19-yard line and 27 seconds left, quarterback Tom Brady targeted Amendola down the right side. With safety Michael Thomas in coverage, it appeared as if Amendola was able to maintain possession, but ultimately, the receiver couldn’t hang onto the ball. New England came up short on its next three chances, with the last attempt going as an interception from Thomas, as the Dolphins came away with a 24-20 win over New England.
“I’d like to have that one,” Amendola said after the game, a game where he tied a season-high for catches and had a season-best when it came to receiving yards.
Asked if Thomas was able to get a hand on the ball on his touchdown attempt, Amendola confessed that he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know — I have to look at film,” he said. “But the game is on the line. I’d really like to have that one.
“We work on two-minute drill every week, and we felt like we had a good chance. We wanted to execute the plays we had practiced. It’s frustrating — it didn’t work out today.”
Amendola and Julian Edelman (13 catches, 139 yards, one touchdown) were able to form a potent combination throughout the afternoon, but they were at their best in the second half: Edelman had nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown in the second half, while Amendola had six catches for 75 yards over the course of the second and third quarter.
“[Miami] did a good job at taking away some outside routes,” Amendola said when asked about his work with Edelman. “We tried to get in there and make some plays inside. It worked out — most of the day.”
For Amendola, it was his fifth career 10-catch game and the second of 2013. In addition, he finished with 131 receiving yards, his third 100-yard game of 2013 and the fifth 100-yard game of his NFL career.
“You’d like to start fast and get up early and roll with it toward the end, but credit to the Dolphins,” Amendola said. “They played hard today, and we’ve got to get better.”
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It was a tremendous performance, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman came away with 13 catches (on an amazing 19 targets) for 139 yards and a touchdown, but it was all for naught as New England suffered a shocking 24-20 loss to the Dolphins Sunday afternoon in South Florida.
Edelman, who tied a career-high for catches and set a new personal mark for receiving yards in a game, had nine catches for 102 yards in the second half, continuously helping the Patriots move the chains in several key situations. His 24-yard touchdown catch came late in the fourth quarter and gave New England a 20-17 lead with just over four minutes left.
But a series of shots at the end zone at the end of regulation ended with a Tom Brady interception, which left the Patriots with a loss, and an 10-4 mark on the season.
“You have to tip your hat to Miami — they made more plays than us,” Edelman said. “They executed their plays and we didn’t execute ours.”
It was particularly deflating because the Patriots had been able to executed fairly consistently with the game on the line for the bulk of the season. It was the 11th New England game of the year that was decided by seven points or less.
“We got out there every drive expecting to execute in that situation, and we weren’t able to do that today,” Edelman said. “We’re going to go back and watch this film and fix what we have to. Take the good from the good, the bad from the bad, and all the in between and prepare for the Baltimore Ravens.
“Everyone is good in this league — Miami, you have to tip your hats to them. They played some good football, and they made more plays than us today.”
With the Patriots missing rookie receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson — and Rob Gronkowski on the sidelines for the rest of the season — Brady was able to rely heavily on the Edelman/Danny Amendola combination. Amendola chipped in with 10 catches on 14 targets for 131 yards, as the duo was able to find plenty of room over the middle on a consistent basis down the stretch.
“We didn’t find enough,” lamented Edelman. “We didn’t make the plays when we had to, and Miami did.”
|Adam Schefter on D&C: Patriots ‘not nearly as formidable’ without Rob Gronkowski||12.09.13 at 10:03 am ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the potential season-ending injury suffered by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the team’s third straight come-from-behind victory on Sunday.
New England scored 13 points in the final 2:39 and overcame a late 12-point deficit to defeat the Browns 27-26 at Gillette Stadium. But the win came with a gigantic loss in the big picture. Schefter reported that the team fears Gronkowski tore his ACL, an injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.
“There have been some reports that it’s an ACL and an MCL,” Schefter said, adding: “When he’s out there, they average 32 points, without him there they average 20. They’re just a more dynamic offense, a more dangerous offense.”
The Patriots played the first six games of the season without Gronkowski, who was recovering from multiple offseason surgeries.
“They are not nearly as formidable without Gronk,” Schefter said. “This team has been resilient, it has been crafty, it has been incredibly lucky, remarkable, talented, clutch to come back the way that it has. To think that it could go beat a Denver or a Seattle without Gronk, I’m not going to say it can’t happen because it certainly can, but it just becomes that much more challenging to be able do without a guy like that.”
Gronkowski’s injury history in his young career is becoming extensive. He’s broken his arm multiple times, he’s had back issues in both college and the pros, and he just suffered perhaps the most serious injury of his football career.
“One of the knocks on Gronk, and the reason that he slipped to the second round to begin with, was a question of his health,” Schefter said, adding: “That was why someone as freakish as him was there in the second round.”
|Danny Amendola on Rob Gronkowski: ‘We’ve got his back’||12.08.13 at 7:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No matter of the result of Monday’s MRI on the right knee of Rob Gronkowski, Patriots receiver Danny Amendola says the team has his back during whatever recovery period is needed.
“We’ve got his back, that’s for sure. Gronk’s a leader on the team. He’s one of the best. We’ve got his back whenever he comes back. It’s frustrating to see him go down. You feel for him.”
The very next play after Gronk’s injury in the third quarter, with the Patriots already trailing 12-0, Tom Brady was strip-sacked and lost the ball. The Patriots, understandably, seemed to have the emotional wind knocked out of them.
“You feel for a guy that gets injured,” Amendola said. “You play the game hard and you fight for four quarters. Unfortunately, it’s a physical game and stuff like that happens but he’ll bounce back and I’m sure he’ll be great again as soon as possible.”
One way to get a teammate’s back is to make plays and pick up the slack. That’s exactly what Amendola did on, getting open for the 1-yard TD pass reception on a Brady rollout to his right.
“It’s a play we work on every day in practice, actually,” Amendola said. “They manned it up, and we did a good job of executing. It was a good play.
“We found ourselves behind, and all we wanted to do was focus on executing the plays at hand, and one play at a time, and that’s all you can do at that time. You try to make as many plays as you can, try to stack them up and put a drive together.”
If nothing else, the Patriots showed – for one game – they have the mental toughness to overcome the loss of one of the best offensive weapons in the game, digging out of a 12-point hole in the final 61 seconds.
“We just tried to execute the plays we work on in practice and tried to make as many plays as we could,” Amendola said. “Situational football, get out of bounds and stop the clock, move the ball, try to get in the end zone.”
Another player who had Gronk’s back was kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who executed the first successful onside kick by the Patriots since 1995, when Bill Parcells‘ Patriots turned the trick against Bill Belichick‘s Browns. The kick with under a minute left set up Amendola’s game-winning touchdown.
“It was fantastic,” Amendola said of Gostkowski’s kick. “Those specialists work so hard on their craft and kicks, and I’m sure Gost [Stephen Gostkowski] was really excited about it. It was a big play – play of the game.”
|Tom Brady thinks Pats are ‘doing a little better’ spreading the wealth||11.21.13 at 12:04 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When dropping back to pass, Tom Brady has always used one principle in particular to guide his approach: Throw it to the open man.
That hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do in the first nine games as he was missing key parts of his arsenal at times, and appeared like a quarterback who sometimes tried to force the ball into narrow windows. But last Monday marked the first game he has had his full complement of receivers.
With Shane Vereen returning, Brady had Vereen, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola at his disposal, and made use of all of them. Throw in rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, and you begin to see the great potential for Brady to spread the ball around and “throw it to the open man.”
“We’re doing a little bit better in that sense,” Brady said. “I think our execution has gotten better over the course of the year and we have made a bunch of improvements. KT came in and what KT did the other night, I wasn’t sure how much he was going to play, [but he] made a couple huge plays in the game. You know, Aaron Dobson has done a great job. Julian’s continued to be a steady, solid, dependable player for us and then like you said Danny, Gronk, Shane. LeGarrette [Blount] ran hard, Rid [Stevan Ridley] runs hard. We’ve got a good group. We’ve got a good group. We’re getting better, so that is what I am excited about.”
While it may not compare on paper yet, that quartet could wind up being just as productive as Denver’s grouping of Julius Thomas, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker.
All Brady has to do know, is start spreading the wealth and hope his receiving corps can stay on the field.
Thirteen different receivers have caught passes from Brady this season, led by Edelman’s 52 for 500 yards. How diversified is the passing game now? Vereen led all receivers on Monday with eight catches on 11 targets for 65 yards.
“Julian has had some production outside. Danny’s had good production when he’s been in there,” Brady added. “We’re trying to spread it around to find different guys. Typically whoever is open gets it. I think that spot has always been big in our offense. The tight end spot has always been a productive spot. But yeah, I think we overall can all do a better job. We’re going to need to going forward, this week especially. All those spots: the slot spot, the tailback spot, this is a team where we know we’re going to need to score some points.”
If you add catch totals of Amendola and Edelman, you get 81 catches for 841 yards but only three touchdowns. Welker enters Sunday with 61 catches for 648 yards but triple the number of touchdowns of Amendola and Edelman combined with nine.
“I haven’t really thought about it – I haven’t put too much into that or evaluated that spot,” Brady said when asked to compare the Patriots and Broncos slot positions. “I’d say our offense right now is very different than it’s ever been in the past. Everything that we do has a different feel to it. We’ve had so many new players, like every team has new players, but we have a lot of new players. We have different schemes; we’re trying to find different things that work. For the first time last week, we basically had guys healthy so we don’t even know what we’re good at at this point. We’re trying to figure out – we only scored 20 points so whatever we did couldn’t have been that good. We’re going to try to find ways to score more points than that this week.”
|Patriots Friday injury report: Tom Brady (shoulder) returns to full participation, probable||10.25.13 at 4:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There were a few eyebrows raised when Tom Brady (right shoulder) showed up on the Thursday injury report as limited.
That lasted for exactly one day as the quarterback returned to full participation Friday and is officially listed by the team as “probable” for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Brady is among six Patriots listed as probable while cornerback Aqib Talib (hip), (back/forearm) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (concussion/groin) were again listed as limited in Friday’s workout. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and special teams captain Matthew Slater were limited again but are officially probable after returning to action last week against the Jets.
In addition, defensive lineman Tommy Kelly (knee) and running back/returner Leon Washington missed all three days of practice for a third straight week and were ruled out.
Kelly did walk through the locker room Friday during media availability and – while putting a big black sleeve on his right knee – said, “I’m day-to-day and that’s all I can say right now until I get back on the field. That’s from the big guy [Bill Belichick].”
Here’s Friday’s full report:
Did Not Practice
DL Tommy Kelly (knee) OUT
RB/KR Leon Washington (ankle) OUT
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/groin) QUESTIONABLE
RB Brandon Bolden (knee) QUESTIONABLE
OL Marcus Cannon (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
WR Julian Edelman (thigh) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) PROBABLE
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) QUESTIONABLE
WR Matthew Slater (wrist) PROBABLE
CB Aqib Talib (hip) QUESTIONABLE
DB Tavon Wilson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) PROBABLE
CB Kyle Arrington (groin) PROBABLE
CB Devin McCourty (shoulder) PROBABLE
DL Rob Ninkovich (groin) PROBABLE
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