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Julian Edelman: ‘We have to be more consistent’ 09.21.14 at 5:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Julian Edelman is off to a terrific start to the 2014 season, but like the rest of the Patriots offense, he is anything but satisfied.

“We have to be more consistent,”€ Edelman said following Sunday’€™s 16-9 win over the Raiders. “One play I don’€™t run a good route we don’€™t connect, one play something else goes wrong. We have to tighten up the bolts, adjust and be more consistent. I’€™m sure we’€™ll be working on that a lot this week.”

Edelman led the Patriots receiving corps once again with 10 catches for 84 yards on 12 targets. Through three games Edelman has caught 22 of the 28 passes thrown in his direction and has totaled 260 yards in the three games, by far the most among Patriots receivers.

Although he’€™s been productive, he’€™s taken a lot of big hits after plays, forcing him to be limited in practice this week and listed as probable on the injury report with a back injury. Edelman knows it’€™s a long season and he needs to be more cautious when he can.

“I have to play a little smarter, protecting myself a little better with the ball in my hands,”€ he said. “Ball security is No. 1 and you can’€™t get caught up in making a play sometimes. You have to be there for 16 games. Of course it’€™s a rough game, but I definitely have to play a little smarter.”

The sixth-year receiver has now had at least six receptions in his last nine regular season games. It is the longest current streak in the NFL and the longest streak for a Patriots player since Wes Welker had a streak of 10 such games in 2012. Sunday was the fourth regular season game Edelman has finished with 10 or more catches in his career and he’€™s on pace to finish the season with 117 receptions.

Even with the impressive personal accolades, Edelman knows he, as well as the rest of the offense can be better.

“My job is to get open and catch the ball,”€ said Edelman. “Work hard in the run game, make blocks in the run game. There were a few times I didn’€™t do my job. I have to go out this week and try and do my job better. If everyone does their job better, the collective unit will do better. That is what I have to do.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Patriots, Patriots offense, Tom Brady
Perfect attendance Friday at Patriots practice 09.19.14 at 12:19 pm ET
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For a second straight day, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Friday.

Three players were wearing black jerseys, signifying their achievement as practice players of the week. Practice squad running back Jonas Gray, practice squad linebacker Ja’Gared Davis and defensive lineman Joe Vellano were all wearing their black jerseys on Friday as the team worked out in sweats and shells.

Ten players were listed as limited from Thursday’s practice, including Don Jones, who is nursing a hamstring injury. Julian Edelman (back), Rob Gronkowski (knee) and Jamie Collins (thigh) were also listed as limited Thursday but were out on the field practicing again Friday.

The Patriots are continuing preparation for their home opener this weekend against the Raiders.

Read More: Don Jones, Jamie Collins, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Tom Brady on Patriots offense: ‘We’re still trying to figure out what we’re good at’ 09.17.14 at 11:34 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots rank 27th in the NFL in passing offense.  (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots are 27th in the NFL in passing offense. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady looked visibly frustrated after Sunday’€™s 30-7 win over the Vikings and for a valid reason — the offense, especially the passing game, hasn’€™t performed to its capabilities through the first two games of the season.

Over the first two weeks of the season, the offense ranks 27th in the NFL in total offense and 27th in passing. Brady threw for 249 yards in Week 1 against the Dolphins and 149 yards last week against the Vikings. Its 368 net passing yards is only ahead of the Jaguars, Jets, Texans and Buccaneers.

“We have a long way to go,” Brady said Wednesday. “€œLike I said, every week it starts again and whatever we did last week we’€™re trying to make improvements so that we come out the next week and play better. There is more margin of error because we’€™re doing things better, more crisp with better anticipation and confidence in one another. We’€™ll ultimately see how it plays out. It’€™s really early in the year and we have a lot of football left.

“We’€™re still trying to figure out what we’€™re good at and we’€™ll probably be trying to figure that out for a long time. All the way through the season we have to adapt to changes with the guys out there and with what we think we need to do to win. We’€™re trying to make improvements. I don’€™t think we’€™re ready for the Super Bowl this week, but I think we have a lot of work to go and certainly playing against Oakland is a big challenge because they have a great pass defense and we need to understand where there strengths are and execute better than we have in the first few weeks.”

In comparison to the 149 passing yards last week, Brady has thrown for less than 149 yards only three times since 2009 — two of them coming last year.

One of the major things that stands out in the passing game is the way the ball is being distributed. Brady has 78 pass attempts this year with 70 of them being targeted at a receiver. Of those 70, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have been targeted 46 percent of the time and of Brady’€™s 44 pass completions, 20 of them (45 percent) have been to Edelman or Gronkowski.

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
‘Rock’ steady: Julian Edelman focused on improving every week 09.15.14 at 11:45 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows there are more than enough rocks to go around.

After two weeks, the receiver leads the Patriots with 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. He’s responsible for 27 percent of Tom Brady‘s completed passes through two games, and has established an impressive Welkerian-style chemistry with the quarterback — going back to the preseason, he’s caught 22 of the 25 passes thrown in his direction this year.

But he knows that the time is going to come when there’s going to be greater distribution in the passing game.

“€œI’€™m not the quarterback, so I’€™m sure — it’€™s only two games, there’€™s a lot of season left — there’€™s going to be games where other guys are going to get more rocks than me,” he said Monday, a day after he had six catches in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. “But, I’€™m just going to continue to try to get better and do my job.”

It’s hard to be any better than Edelman was in the first half against the Vikings, particularly on the scoring drive that gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. First, quarterback Tom Brady found Edelman down the sideline for a 44-yard pickup, which tied his longest gain of the year. Then, he followed that up with a 9-yard touchdown reception on a play where Brady stood in the pocket, took a big hit and still managed to loft the ball perfectly toward Edelman, who gathered it in for his first score of the year.

‘€œThe quarterback putting us in the best play, and Tom did that as he has time in and time out,’€™’€™ Edelman said Monday when asked to describe the play. ‘€œIt’€™s just going out and executing a play, running a route, making a catch, the line doing their job, the running back doing their job, Tom taking a hit and making a throw.

“€œYou expect nothing less from a guy like him. He’€™s tough as nails, he’€™s our leader, and he’€™ll give up his body to do that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘They flat-out outplayed us’ 09.08.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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Wide receiver Julian Edelman stopped by for a visit with Middays with MFB on Monday to break down Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Edelman finished with six receptions for 95 yards, but he only had one catch in the second half. He also had two carries for 21 yards. He couldn’t explain the reason for the transformation after halftime, at which time the Pats led by 10.

“I don’t know.” he said. “They outplayed us in the second half, regardless of any position or of anyone. We didn’t execute. We had negative plays on first down. We were getting in third-and-long. Once you get in third-and-long with a team like that, they’ve got guys that can get after the passer. We kind of did things that we weren’t supposed to do when it came to that.

“Anytime you can have those big, old defensive ends pin their ears back and go after the quarterback, it’s tough. There’s plays where receivers didn’t get open, I didn’t get open, didn’t make a block, a throw here or there — everyone just didn’t play well in the second half. They flat-out outplayed us.”

Added Edelman: “It all comes down to three things: turnover ratio, red area and third down. I don’t even know the numbers right now, but I can tell you right now we probably weren’t good on third down. We weren’t in the red area that often. So, if you can’t do those three things ‘€¦”

On one play that stood out, with 10 minutes left and the Patriots trailing by three points and in Miami territory, Edelman was wide open downfield on a corner route on a third-and-9, but Tom Brady‘s pass went over Edelman’s head.

“Just miscommunication on both ends,” Edelman said. “It’s something we’ve done a bunch a bunch of times. It just goes to tell you that we weren’t executing to the level that we know we can. I could have taken the angle a little higher. ‘€¦ We were both in shambles there.

“We’re going to work on it this week. This is a big week for us now. I’ve never lose opening day as a Patriot. Around here we hate losing. It’s going to be a grind this week. We’ve got a big team that had a huge win last Sunday with Minnesota. We’re going to be on the road again. We’ve got to take in this film, we’ve got to watch it, we’ve got to learn from all the bad things, build off the good things that we did do — which wasn’t very many things in the second half. So, we’re going to have a whole lot of stuff to do, and go out and get ready for Minnesota.”

When the Patriots play the Vikings next Sunday they’ll be reunited with former Pats backup quarterback Matt Cassel. Edelman arrived in New England after Cassel departed, but he said the two are friends.

“I hang out with Cassel in Los Angeles. We throw every once in a while in the offseason,” Edelman said. “It will be fun to see him. But unfortunately I don’t get to play against Cass; I have to go against the defense.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I’ve got to get better at a lot of things’ at 10:05 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Dolphins, and talked about his disappointing performance that led him to shave off his much-talked-about beard. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots led 20-10 at the half but could do nothing after the break as the Dolphins took control.

“We had some great rhythm there in the first half. We’ve just got to figure out a way how to carry that over to the second half,” Brady said. “We’re going to continue to try to make improvements in September and October and November and December. That’s what football is. It’s not a game of perfect. It’s about minimizing your mistakes and capitalizing on opportunities. We didn’t really capitalize on the opportunities, and we didn’t really minimize our mistakes, and that leads to losses in the NFL.

“That’s a good lesson for us to learn. Hopefully it motivates us to go out there and practice better this week so we have a much better performance next week.”

While the blame obviously can be shared for the offensive struggles, Brady is willing to take his share.

“When we’re open down the field I’ve got to hit them,” he said. “I think that’s how I look at it. We’ve got to make more plays down the field to get more chunks, to shorten the field a little bit. It certainly wasn’t our best day passing the ball yesterday. Our execution and our efficiency was poor really over the course of the whole day.

“It comes down to us being on the same page and our communication and our anticipation and all of us working harder to try to get the outcome to be better than what it was yesterday.”

Brady was sacked four times and rushed on numerous other occasions, and it appeared the pressure affected him by making him release the ball earlier than desired even when the pocket was not collapsing.

“I’ve played long enough that it’s one of those things that, look, if you feel the pressure and you don’t want to take sacks you’ve got to get rid of it. But there’s other opportunities where, look, I’ve got plenty of time to throw and I’ve got to find the open guy and I can’t just rush it because I got rushed on the play before,” he said. “That’s where discipline and situational awareness really comes in for the quarterback. I’ve got to do a better job of that.  There were definitely times yesterday where I had more opportunities to take time to really scan the field and find the open player and I didn’t do that. Those are the things I’ve got to get better at. I’ve got to get better at a lot of things. If our team’s going to be a good team then they need me to play as well as I possibly can. I can certainly play a lot better than the way I played yesterday.”

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Read More: Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
Catching on: Tom Brady, Patriots wide receivers primed for big year 09.03.14 at 10:30 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Julian Edelman aren't the only two with good chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

Returning 97 percent of the pass completions from last year, Tom Brady and Julian Edelman aren’t the only two with good chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Going into last season much of the talk surrounding the Patriots offense was how would the chemistry between Tom Brady and the wide receivers be, as without Rob Gronkowski to open the season, Brady was missing 87 percent of his pass completions from 2012.

This year it is an entirely different tune, as Brady returns 97 percent of his pass completions from 2013 with the only departures being Austin Collie, Matthew Mulligan and LeGarrette Blount.

With a year under their belts, Brady and his receiving core have much more continuity than they did a year ago, just because of the pure amount of time they have spent on the field working with one another.

“The more we’€™re on the same page, the better we’€™re going to be,”€ Brady said. “Offensive football is about anticipation and about having a lot of trust and confidence in one another. I think we built on that. We’€™re always going to make mistakes out there because football is really not a game of perfect, but we’€™re going to try to do it as perfectly as we can. Every week, you hope it’€™s good enough to win the game.

“I hope we’€™re at a better place than we were last year because we started pretty fresh last year. We certainly have some new players, some new additions who are doing different things. Different guys are playing some different spots. But everyone’€™s kind of got to find a role for themselves, and then we go out there and let it rip and see where we’€™re at. And if it doesn’€™t work, then we reevaluate, and if it works, then we keep doing it.”

Receiver Julian Edelman has spent the most time out of any wide out working with Brady as he’s been his quarterback for all five of his seasons in the league. Edelman says the biggest key for building chemistry with Brady, and any quarterback for that matter, is consistency.

“To earn any quarterbacks trust, not just Tom’€™s you have to be consistent and that is going out there in drills — little things, routes, routes on air drills, 7-on-7s, 1-on-1s — showing him that you can consistently do your job and that is getting open and catching the ball,” Edelman said.

Building chemistry with a quarterback doesn’€™t happen overnight. A lot of time and hard work goes into it, which is something Edelman has noticed from his fellow wide receivers — second-year players Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, veteran Danny Amendola and especially Brandon LaFell, the lone newcomer to the group after being signed by the Patriots this past March.

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Read More: Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman, Patriots, Tom Brady
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