|Time to think: Tom Brady relishes extra time in pocket||10.08.14 at 1:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady and the Patriots offense had their best game statistically of the season Sunday night against the Bengals — passing for a season-high 292 yards and the offense racking up 505 total yards in their 43-17 rout.
A big reason why? Brady had more time when dropping back to throw.
As we detailed a few weeks ago, Brady was getting the ball out of his hands faster than ever — averaging 2.21 seconds from snap to release in Weeks 2 and 3 with that number getting even lower against Kansas City as he averaged 1.96 seconds.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t much difference in average time Sunday night — averaging 2.16 seconds — but it was the percentage of plays where he got the ball out quickly that really showed up.
Against Cincinnati, Brady had just 14 of 34 plays (41 percent) where he took less than two seconds to release the ball, compared to 17 of 24 plays (71 percent) against Kansas City — Brady’s worst game in a long time throwing for just 159 yards and two interceptions.
“We have to be as consistent as we can,” Brady said. “Coach [Bill Belichick] talked this morning and as great as last week was, it’s over. We have to start putting in this week and we’ve done that the last two days. … It is just about us going out there and doing our best and playing a lot better than we have on the road this year.”
With two rookie offensive linemen (Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming) making their starting debuts on Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium, it’s possible part of the game plan was to get rid of the ball quick against the Chiefs powerful front-seven, but against Cincinnati it was a different story as the line had its best performance of the season.
Keep in mind a lot of the release time numbers are based on scheme and game planning against certain opponents with quick wide receivers screens, etc. skewing the numbers a bit, but there is no question more time to throw led to big plays for Brady Sunday night.
|Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘I think there is a form of bitterness’ from Tom Brady toward Patriots||10.07.14 at 12:12 pm ET|
The big story of the past week was the reported tension between Tom Brady and the coaching staff. Brady denied the report, but Harrison said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was some frustration there.
“It’s not just Brady. All players talk about — whether it’s to their wives, whether it’s to their buddies, to other players — about maybe moves that have been made, free agents that have been brought in, or guys that have been released, and you might not be happy with it. But unfortunately it’s a situation where you can’t control any of that,” Harrison said.
“Tom Brady, he’s human just like the rest of us. If he sees someone gets released or traded or something like that, of course if he’s not happy with it he’s going to discuss it with someone. But I can’t begin to think that after Tom Brady’s been there for 15 years, to think that’s he’s just going to open up to somebody and just completely blast [Bill] Belichick. And Belichick, over the course of all these years he’s done a wonderful job of putting great talent around Tom and building a team.
“Unfortunately every year you can’t have the A-list players. Sometimes you have to go through growing pains. Unfortunately it’s just that Tom is in the latter part of his career and he’s going through those pains right now.”
Harrison acknowledged that Brady sacrificed financially and the team has not done a good job of using that money to surround him with quality talent.
“I think there is a form of bitterness,” Harrison said. “But at the same time, I think it’s still business/professional relationship, where every decision that coach Belichick makes, Tom’s not going to be be in complete agreement with, but at the same time, Tom knows that he can only control his job, be a leader on that team and continue to try to win football games.”
|ESPN’s Chris Mortensen insists ‘tensions were there’ between Tom Brady, Patriots coaches: ‘There’s a little trouble in paradise’||10.06.14 at 2:02 pm ET|
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who reported that Tom Brady was having “tension” with the Patriots coaching staff, checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday afternoon to offer more information and analysis of the quarterback situation in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“I was fascinated last night by the Patriots’ passion,” Mortensen said. “I also was fascinated by the fact that it looked like some of the issues which people I spoke with talked about, that Brady’s input, which had been significantly diminished and that he normally had in previous years, that those things seemed to be implemented. You saw passion. You saw passion out of Tom, you saw the offensive line blocking, you saw obviously the implementation of Tim Wright, who they acquired in the Logan Mankins trade. So we saw all that passion.
“I also was fascinated by the Bengals not stepping up again. Because we perceive to be the Bengals as maybe the team to beat in the AFC.”
Added Mortensen: “I looked at the story and I said hey, what it does is there’s an unsettling picture here. There has been tension between Brady and the staff. I didn’t identify which members of the the staff, but everything I reported was true and it was not a personal opinion. The only personal opinion really was about the fact that if they beat the Bengals things are going to be calm.”
Whose version of the Tom Brady situation is closer to the truth?
- Tom Brady -- There's nothing to the report (66%, 450 Votes)
- Chris Mortensen -- The story has legs, despite Brady's denial (34%, 228 Votes)
Total Voters: 678
There have been complaints about the play-calling, but Mortensen said with Brady struggling and the new receivers yet to catch on, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was limited in what he could do.
“I had one person just suggest that, hey, listen, it hasn’t been good with Tom, he’s going to have to pick it up, too,” Mortensen said. “But I had one team source that told me that the conservative approach had been necessary and calls for everybody just to calm down and be patient while they get everybody on the same page.
“There’s circumstances here that have created the tension. At the same time, not having the same input — do you think if Peyton Manning didn’t have the same input as he has at other places that he would not have significant tension with the coaching staff? I know that he would. Certainly Tom has.
“At the same time, what I found interesting is that two people who I believe are pretty much in tune say that listen, drafting Ryan Mallett or even a Kevin O’Connell is one thing in the third round, when they drafted Jimmy Garappolo, they were drafting Tom’s successor. Now, they didn’t say that would happen this year, but that is something certainly as we go forward that we’re going to monitor. … But I wasn’t burying Tom Brady. It was just painting a picture that there’s a little trouble in paradise. And last night a win kind of calmed things down, which I anticipated that a win against the Bengals would calm things down. I was impressed with the passion I saw from the Patriots as a whole.”
Emotion can often be a false flag when it comes to forecasting the success or failure of a football team, but it certainly appeared that it played a sizable role for the Patriots on Sunday night.
In the wake of last Monday’s drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, there was a palpable sense of energy surrounding New England. Whether it was provided by quarterback Tom Brady (who played as if his hair was on fire for much of the early going), the Gillette Stadium crowd (one of the loudest in recent memory) or the collective efforts of a team trying to erase the memory of one of the worst losses in recent franchise history, it was in abundance for the Patriots in the 43-17 win.
Coach Bill Belichick wasn’t surprised to see his team respond like it did.
“When you had the result that we had Monday night as a team, I think everybody rallied around each other. I mean, who else is there to rally around?” he asked on a conference call with the media Monday morning. “That’s all we have: guys that can go out there and play and make a difference. Nobody else is going to make any plays unless we go out and make them ourselves.
“Of course they stuck together as a team and supported each other. That’s what any team should do.”
To Belichick’s point, there was more fire on Sunday night than the team had all season long. That emotion and energy level manifested itself several ways, including their best start of the year, with touchdowns on the first two scoring drives of the night.
“I thought they played hard. I think we’ve played hard a lot this year, but we were able to execute things a little bit better,” Belichick said. “Get off the field on third down, convert some third downs, or fourth downs, as the case may be. So, of course there was more emotion and energy as we were making plays, especially in the first — well, throughout the game, but especially in the first quarter.”
Belichick not only praised the play and preparation up and down the roster, but also had kind words for his coaches for their ability to not only digest the Chiefs’ loss and put it in the rearview quickly, but to create a game plan for a Bengals team that came into the game as only one of two unbeaten teams left in the league.
“I just think it’s tough when you play on the road Monday night,” Belichick said when asked about the performance of the coaches. “Get back here at whatever it was, five in the morning and then you go through the tape of the game, which was obviously a painful process. Then get ready for an undefeated team, a team that had given up three points in the first half of their first three games and been pretty dominant. To turn around and get a game plan ready and address some of the problems that we had in Kansas City and all that.
“It’s handling the preparation for all the situations ‘ with only three games, a lot of that is going back and digging through key games and situations from last year to look at tendencies or look at plays you want to run. Again I just think as a staff they did a good job of doing those things on a short week against a good football team that’s well coached that gives you a lot of problems on every down and every situation. I thought they worked hard and they did a good job; as did the players.”
Here are a few other highlights from his Monday Q&A:
Read the rest of this entry »
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday, following Sunday’s 43-17 victory over the Bengals. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots were coming off a challenging week — a Monday night blowout loss to the Chiefs followed by days of reports about alleged rifts between players and coaches.
“All that aside — we ignore the noise around here — it was good to go out there and play a tough opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals on prime-time TV and go out and get a win and do some good things on that night,” Edelman said. “We have some stuff to fix. We have to turn it around, we have a quick turnaround for a divisional game with Buffalo, which is going to be a tough one [with] them coming after a win. But it was definitely good to get a win.”
Added Edelman: “We didn’t worry about what everyone else was saying about everything. We kind of just stuck together as a team and focused on the Cincinnati Bengals, because we really didn’t have a choice. It was a short week, they’re a tough opponent, they were 3-0. We had no choice but to just put our hard hats on, bring the lunch pail to work and then go out and grind out a good week of work.”
Jones said the team had a good week of practice leading up to the Bengals game, but he said it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“Honestly, practice is always intense over here with the Patriots,” Jones said. “That’s what I like. Even if we win or if we had lost, no matter what the score is, that’s how I expect it next week, even though we did win this week. Our practice is always going to be intense. That’s how things are here.
“And I want to add to that: I also feel like the players, even in the locker room, we knew what we had to do. Not even down on ourselves because of the loss, but it’s like we knew what we had to do this week, and we went out and did what we had to do.”
|Tom Brady on D&C: Reports of issues with coaches not true, ‘I’ve always had input on what we do’||at 10:54 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday night’s 43-17 rout of the Bengals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots rebounded from last Monday’s humiliating loss to the Chiefs and tuned out all the criticism to put together a bounceback performance against the previously undefeated Bengals.
“There’s a lot of people outside of our locker room that never want to really see the Patriots win or do well. Certainly our opponents in the AFC East,” Brady said. “The more you eliminate distractions and eliminate listening to what people may say or think about you, the more you can focus on what you’re able to do. It was a really tough loss for us last week, we understand that it was one game and we didn’t play well and we can perform a lot better than we did, and we went out there and did it last night, which was really great to see, ’cause we’re a team that has a lot of mental toughness and a lot of heart. I’m glad that we went out and played our best game of the year so far.
“It’s a great step, it’s just a building block, it’s one game in a long season. We’ve got a huge one this week against Buffalo. So we’ve got to bring the same attitude, like we do every week, really an urgency to get better, make improvements, and then go out there and let it rip next Sunday.”
There was an ESPN report that there was “tension” between Brady and the coaches, and the quarterback’s input in game plans had been “significantly diminished.” Brady said that’s not the case.
“I’ve always had input on what we do,” he said. “I think that’s what’s been so great for me being here, is I’ve always had the opportunity to say how I feel and what I think. Those are very personal discussions I have with my coaches. They have so much respect for me, I have so much respect for them. I don’t feel that way, I would never say that way. It’s nice to for me to have an opportunity when you hear from my voice how I really feel. I feel there’s no place I’d rather play. Certainly there’s no coach I’d ever want to play for than coach [Bill] Belichick. My relationship with the offensive coaches is great. I respect them way more than they even know for the work that they put in to try to get us players ready to play.
“I think we’ve had a good thing going for a long time. I can see why people could try to be divisive when things aren’t going well. That’s not what our team’s always been about.The problems we’ve experienced this year have nothing to do with anything that’s been written or said. I try to tell you guys it’s about our execution and what us players need to do.
“Our coaches put us in a great position to win every week. And the way that they prepare, there’s nobody that has more respect for them than me. And certainly, if I ever had an issue with anybody in our organization, then how we deal with it as men is we go talk to each other about it. It’s unfortunate when things get said because I said after the game there’s very personal relationships that I have that you have years and years of trust and support with. And then someone other than myself says something and it gets reported as if it’s a fact. But there’s certainly no truth to it, to the way that I feel. And they know the way that I feel about them. It’s actually a great opportunity for me to say that from my own voice of how much I respect and love the job that they do for us players, because I don’t think there’s a better staff in the league that puts us into to position to win each week as players.”
Added Brady: “Absolutely not [true]. I’ve always had input. There’s not one play that’s ever been called in a game that I’ve said, ‘Look, I don’t want to run that play.’ That’s not the way it works. I think there’s always a great working relationship that I’ve had certainly when Charlie [Weis] was here, when Josh [McDaniels] was here the first time, when Billy [O'Brien] was calling plays, when Josh was calling plays this time. And we talk all the time. I’ve always had the ability to do those things. That’s what makes going to work every day challenging ’cause there’s always so much to learn and to work with people that you trust and respect — and they’re a hell of a lot smarter than me — that usually brings out the best in me. As I said, I’m very lucky to have those guys.”
|Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Despite Patriots’ win, lack of WR talent ‘a problem long term’||at 10:02 am ET|
A week after getting beat badly by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Patriots came back home to win convincingly 43-17. New England piled it on early with 20 points in the first half, and then continued the dominance over Cincinnati in the second half.
Hasselbeck said something went more into this win than just a good plan for the Patriots.
“There’s no doubt that emotion and feeling like you’re up against the wall a little bit and people have counted you out,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s just human nature for people to kind of dial it in. Focus it in during the week, which many times translates to how you play come Sunday. But I think it was a combination of that type of thing, good effort and a nice plan.
“I will say, not to pour water on some of the excitement of it, but part of what I’m working this morning is some these breakdowns, some of the successful plays New England had on offense. And there’s some really, really bad mistakes by a Cincinnati defense that is surprising me by looking at it this morning.”
The Patriots did protect Tom Brady better, which led to almost 300 yards of passing for the quarterback. Still, though, having quality receivers down the field still appears to be an issue for the offense.
“I do think it’s a problem long term,” Hasselbeck said of the receivers. “Nothing’s been solved in terms of somebody really dominating outside the numbers. I think [Brandon] LaFell’s role is kind of what it is for the team right now. And I don’t know how much bigger it can truly get. And [Julian] Edelman, he’s a fine player, but we know what he is. [Rob Gronkowski] looked to come alive a little bit more and Tim Wright’s involvement was fine. But when you look at all of that, that doesn’t solve the fact that you don’t have somebody that can really, really dominate outside. And you don’t even necessarily have to be totally dominant, but you just have to have the ability to win out there.”
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