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

competitive game.”

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

England.

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

the league.”

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.”