|Rob Gronkowski: ‘It was good getting acclimated out there’||09.07.14 at 6:11 pm ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When Rob Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Tom Brady just 47 seconds into the second quarter, he unleashed his trademark spike and the Patriots went up 17-7.
Everything was going according to plan. He was getting his red zone opportunities in his first game back from his right ACL tear and the Patriots were dictating the pace of the game.
Then the wheels fell off in the second half. He appeared in just one of 13 snaps in the third quarter as the Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half, losing 33-20 Sunday in Miami.
“I mean it feels good to play football again, to be out there with the team,” Gronkowski said of his first action of any kin since last Dec. 8. “Being out there with your teammates, you win as a team, lose as a team. I just got to keep on improving every single week. I got a lot of things to work on. I got to keep working hard out there in practice.’
And the knee?
“Everything feels good,” Gronkowski said. “I mean I feel good, so we’ll just keep on playing and have a good practice week, this week, and just got to keep working hard to get better. Definitely can improve in a lot of areas.’
Gronkowski finished with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown as Brady targeted him 11 times on the day, including in the second quarter when he broke free of Brent Grimes in the end zone, a classic case of Gronk using his size to separate and get open for a six-yard score.
“It always it feels good to get the first one,” Gronkowski said. “Just literally a little slant and [QB] Tom [Brady] scrambled and he scrambled and saw me going across the end zone and he hit me on the pass. I just got to keep on improving, keep on making plays like that. We got to make more plays, as a team and got to keep on improving.’
As for playing just one snap in the third quarter, Gronkowski said it had nothing to do with his conditioning in the heat and humidity.
“We’ve been practicing in the heat a lot so that’s not it. They were just the better team out there today and got to give them credit. Whatever the coaches had. When they called the plays, that’s when I went in. I thought it was good, getting me acclimated out there and feel good. Just have to keep working hard this week.”
Gronkowski said the timing with Brady, as is the case with everybody else in a Patriots uniform, can improve.
“It was fine,” Gronkowski said. “I definitely can improve. That’s what practice is for and that’s what playing the game is for. I know we haven’t played in a game in a while but you can always improve in every area.”
“They just played better. They have a good team, they’ve got a good defense and we just have to go out there and play as a team better, make more plays definitely, including myself. They’re just a good team overall and we have to go out there and execute better.”
After Sunday’s shocking 33-20 loss to the Dolphins, Tom Brady gave credit to Miami, acknowledging that, despite the fact that the Dolphins suffered some serious personnel losses in the first two quarters, they were able to hang in and dominate the Patriots in the second half.
“They have a good team and they always play pretty well down here, especially against us,” Brady said of the Miami defense, which held the Patriots scoreless in the second half and limited the quarterback to 6-for-20 for 31 yards in the fourth quarter.
“I give them a lot of credit. They dealt with a lot of injuries, and they’re pretty mentally tough.
Indeed, for Brady and the New England offense, it was a tale of two halves. In the first 30 minutes, Brady was 19-for-29 for 187 yards and a touchdown. But it was a sad and sorrowful performance down the stretch, as the New England offense couldn’t string together any consistency in the third and fourth quarters.
“They took away everyone in the second half,” said Brady, who finished 29-for-56 for 249 yards with one touchdown.
“We played a good football team at home. We had a decent first half, but you have to play a good 60 minutes to beat them,” he added. “Our execution was just terrible. … We couldn’t run it. We couldn’t throw it. It was just a bad day.”
Brady was asked about the struggles of the offensive line — he was sacked four times and under pressure for much of the afternoon — but didn’t seem inclined to call them out.
“The guys in the blue jerseys today, I don’t think any of us played that well,” he said. “We just couldn’t sustain anything.”
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|Bill Belichick: ‘We need to perform better than this’||at 5:21 pm ET|
It was not the season-opener the Patriots and Bill Belichick had in mind.
After forcing three Miami Dolphins turnovers in the first half and leading 20-10 at halftime, the Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half as the Dolphins blitzed the Patriots, 33-20 Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t do anything well enough that we needed to do in the game all the way across the board so we have to get back to work and improve in every phase of the game — coaching, offense, defense, special teams — you name it. It just wasn’t what we needed to do today and therefore we had the results that we did,” Belichick told reporters following the game.
It was the first season-opening loss for the Patriots since 2003 when they lost in Buffalo 31-0.
“We need to perform better than this – all of us,” said Belichick.
The offense and particularly the offensive line was a major issue in the second half as the unit finished with just 47 total yards and just 10 entering their final drive at the two-minute warning.
Quarterback Tom Brady was under pressure almost every time he dropped back to pass as the Dolphins finished with four sacks. Every offensive linemen that dressed played in the game — including some in multiple positions — as the grouping continues to try and fill the void left by Logan Mankins after he was traded to the Buccaneers just prior to the final preseason game.
“We didn’t do anything well enough in the second half period,” Belichick said. “We had a lot of long yardage situations, had too many penalties, turned the ball over, all the above.”
The game was played in the heat and humidity of South Florida and could have played a part in the number of different players who saw playing time on the offensive line, but Belichick said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“That was our plan for the game period,” he said. “There are a lot of things that go into the game plan.”
|Tom Brady goes deep with NFL Network||at 11:37 am ET|
On the self-talk going on in his head as he gets ready to start his 15th season:
“A lot of it is really, ‘God Tom, you’re not very good, you have to work harder at this; what are you doing, that was a bad play.’ I think that’s a lot of motivation for me is to always feel like I have to prove it to myself first. Every day in practice I’m trying to make the right throws, the right reads, the right footwork, the right emotional level because to sustain that for four or five months over the course of the season is a tough thing to do. But you have to do it; you have to find the balance. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy thing to do but if you want to play this position at a high level, you have to commit to those things.”
On if it feels like it’s been 10 years since the Patriots last won the Super Bowl:
“Yeah, it does feel like a long time. I think to win that last game of the year, that’s what we’re all trying to be able to do at some point. You don’t play this game to come in second place. I’m proud of the fact that we are in it and we got a chance every year, but I don’t think anyone is going to be satisfied around here until we close the deal.”
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It’s a time-tested weather cliche but appropriate for the season opener between the Patriots and Dolphins here at Sun Life Stadium. It’s not the heat but the humidity that will be the biggest factor on the field.
Game time temperatures are expected in the mid-80s while the humidity will be around 70 percent, making it feel like 95 on the field. With the heat and high humidity, there is a chance of thunderstorms throughout the game.
Players and training staff will obviously be keeping a close watch on the conditions, making sure everyone is hydrated. This could be of particular concern to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who enters the game nursing a calf issue.
The Patriots, under Bill Belichick, are looking for their 11th straight season-opening win, which would match the Dolphins (1992-2002) for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. The Dallas Cowboys hold the NFL mark, winning 17 straight openers from 1965 to 1981.
The Patriots 10 straight wins is also the longest such active streak in the NFL. The Patriots last lost on opening day in 2003 in the infamous “Lawyer Milloy Game” when the star safety was cut from the roster the week before the game and picked up by the Bills during the week. The Patriots were beaten 31-0 but recovered nicely to win Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston.
The Patriots are opening the season against Miami for the eighth time and for the first time since beating them, 38-24, in the Monday Night debut of 2011. The Patriots are 4-3 against the Dolphins on opening day.
Aside from Brady’s calf, the Patriots enter the game relatively healthy, with tight end Rob Gronkowski expected to make his season debut on time as he promised earlier in the week. Gronkowski, who traveled with the team on Friday, will play despite not having participated in a single snap during preseason.
The biggest story to watch during warmups will be who takes the bulk of the reps at left guard. This will be the first time the Patriots enter a season without Logan Mankins since 2004. Josh Kline, who started the preseason finale against the Giants, is a candidate, along with Jordan Devey and Marcus Cannon.
Belichick indicated on Friday that he is considering an offensive line by committee to fill the void and make use of what he sees as good depth along the line.
Speaking of offensive lines, the Patriots defense figures to attack the group protecting Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as the entire group is new from 2013. The turnover is, in part, due to what happened in the wake of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin verbal abuse controversy, which reached scandalous proportions midway through last season.
This game also marks the regular season debut of Darrelle Revis in a Patriots uniform and he’s expected to go up against Dolphins star receiver Mike Wallace, a receiver Revis and Belichick termed “one of the fastest” in the league this week. Chris Price has a breakdown of this and other storylines to follow.
|Tom Brady talks business of football with CNBC||09.05.14 at 8:10 pm ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke with CNBC on Friday and discussed a number of topics, including his endorsement deal with Under Armour, as well as what he would do as a parent if one of his sons asked him if he could play football — despite the risk of concussion. Here’s a portion of his Q&A.
Thanks to our pals at the NFL Network, here’s a sneak peek of Tom Brady‘s interview with Andrea Kremer, which will be part of their pregame show Sunday morning:
On the self-talk going on in his head as he gets ready to start his 15th season: ‘’’God Tom, you’re not very good, you have to work harder at this; what are you doing, that was a bad play.’ I think that’s a lot of motivation for me is to always feel like I have to prove it to myself first. Every day in practice I’m trying to make the right throws, the right reads, the right footwork, the right emotional level because to sustain that for four or five months over the course of the season is a tough thing to do. But you have to do it; you have to find the balance. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy thing to do but if you want to play this position at a high level, you have to commit to those things.”
On how will he know when it’s time to walk away from playing football: “I think if I feel like I can’t play at the level that I expect [of] myself, then I’m not going to play anymore. I want to be a great asset to a team; I want to bring a lot of value to a team that I’m playing for.”
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