Patriots prepare to focus on penalties
Tom Brady quieted concerns about his knee and the Patriots
defense got four sacks in a preseason game on Friday night. Now
about those penalties.
”We have to tighten that up,” New England coach Belichick said
Saturday on a conference call with reporters, a day after New
England was flagged 10 times. ”In the end it ended up being a very
After leaving practice earlier in the week with an injured knee,
Brady put to rest any lingering concerns about his health,
completing his first 11 passes of the game and finishing with just
one incompletion and a touchdown in the 25-21 win for New
Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan returned an interception 53 yards
for a touchdown.
After converting on 29 of 35 field goal attempts last year, the
eight-year veteran is just 2 of 5 through two preseason games,
including a missed 50-yarder that hit the upright Friday.
”I think our overall field goal operation needs to be better,
and he’s a part of that, but so is the snapper and so is the
holder,” Belichick said. ”We’ve had three different snappers and
two different holders in camp and in the preseason games.
”As it relates to Steve specifically, I think he’s had a good
camp,” he added. ”He’s worked hard and he’s in good condition.
He’s kicked the ball well and hit the ball very solidly and
consistently. . I’m confident that he’s one of the best kickers in
Another concern, although unaddressed by Belichick, was the poor
play of third-string quarterback Tim Tebow, who is fighting just to
make the 53-man roster.
Tebow completed one of seven passes for -1 yards and rushed six
times for 30 yards. He also threw an interception that sailed well
over the head of intended target Kenbrell Thompkins.
”I worry about what I can control, not listening to outside
influences,” he said. ”It’s my attitude and my effort and getting
better every day and just staying focused.”
A couple of rookies certainly stood out.
Ryan, drafted in the third round this year, stepped in front of
a pass from Mike Glennon and walked untouched into the end zone
midway through the third quarter. One of three players drafted by
New England this year out of Rutgers, and nine overall on the
roster, Ryan even impressed Belichick.
”I think he’s improved in a lot of areas,” he said. ”His
technique, his recognition, and of course in the secondary,
communication is such a big part of the game. No matter who you’re
playing for or what you’re playing, being able to communicate with
your teammates back there in the secondary – there’s not much
margin for error.
”He’s worked hard, he’s been durable, he’s been out there and
gotten a lot of snaps and he continues to improve with those
repetitions, so he’s definitely making progress.”
Tight end Zach Sudfeld’s performance also went a long way toward
solidifying his spot on the team. With Rob Gronkowski sidelined
indefinitely and Aaron Hernandez jailed on a murder charge, the
rookie from Nevada caught two passes for 32 yards, including a
22-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett that he juggled before
hauling in while diving to the ground between a pair of Tampa Bay
defenders. Sudfeld also caught a two-point conversion pass from
Brady following a touchdown on the opening drive.
”It’s been such a great experience. The game today was pretty
incredible,” Sudfeld said. ”I am a rookie and have a long way to
go and a lot to learn and a lot to improve on, but so far it has
been a great experience.”