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Bill Belichick: Patriots were ‘inconsistent in every area of game’ against Dolphins

09.08.14 at 11:58 am ET
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Bill Belichick and the Patriots lost their first season-opener since 2003. (Getty Images)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots lost their first season-opener since 2003. (Getty Images)

One day after their surprising 33-20 loss to the Dolphins in the season opener, Bill Belichick said his team was “inconsistent in every area of the game” in the loss to Miami.

The Patriots coach, speaking on a conference call with the media Monday morning, pointed to the early 10-point lead to indicate that it “wasn’t like it was disaster from the beginning,” but ran through a laundry list of needed improvements this week for New England, which will travel to Minnesota for a date with Vikings next week.

“We just didn’€™t do a good job all the way through — we have to get back to work,” he said. “We all have to coach and play better and play smarter and be more disciplined and just do a better job at the things that we’€™re doing.

“I don’€™t think there’€™s any magic wand. We’€™re just going to have to work at it and improve.”

The Patriots rotated heavily throughout the game, and Belichick said Monday that was by design, partial because he wanted to spread the workload in the South Florida heat.

“Our intention was to go down to Miami and really play everybody except for our backup quarterback,” he said. “We wanted to play all of our players in every position, including the kicking game, to try to use our depth and nobody really has played a full game in preseason at any position.

“Being a one o’€™clock game in Miami and all that, obviously stamina and conditioning is going to be somewhat of a factor, although I didn’€™t think it was a big factor in the game. But it’€™s still a factor in terms of managing the game.”

One of New England’s biggest drawbacks on Sunday had to do with ill-times penalties. The Patriots, who were the second-lowest penalized team in the league last year, picked up nine penalties for 100 yards against the Dolphins. It led to some of their own offensive drills stalling out an inopportune moments, and also provided an occasional assist for the Miami offense.

“Our issues in the second half were penalties, which put us in some long-yardage situations,” Belichick said. “We had good field position in the fourth quarter, with the game certainly still in balance at that point, we had an interference call, we had a run called back on a holding penalty that, again, would have created those type of first downs or moving the ball opportunities and ended up in long-yardage. We ended up with ‘€“ on a facemask penalty ‘€“ third-and-19 or whatever it was.”

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‘Pissed off’ Tom Brady shaves off beard morning after loss to Dolphins

09.08.14 at 11:10 am ET
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Tom Brady's beard is gone after Sunday's season-opening loss to the Dolphins. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tom Brady‘s beard is gone after Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Dolphins. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The beard is no more.

It wasn’t quite the same facial presentation that members of the Red Sox displayed last year, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turned some heads with the beard he grew during training camp and carried into Sunday’s regular-season opener in Miami.

After Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the upstart Dolphins in which Brady struggled to get the offense going in the second half, the quarterback decided to make a change.

“The beard’s gone,” Brady revealed during his Monday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan. “I was really pissed off this morning.”

Brady said his kids never minded the growth, but his wife, model Gisele Bundchen, was not a fan.

“She’s very happy,” Brady said.

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Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I’ve got to get better at a lot of things’

09.08.14 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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Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Patriots offensive line was ‘worn out’ against Dolphins

09.08.14 at 10:00 am ET
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Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots offensive line had trouble throughout the second half against the Dolphins defensive front. Hasselbeck said Miami’s hits on Tom Brady in the second half changed the complexion of the entire game.

“You look at hits on Brady in the first half, to hits on Brady in the second half, it was a different game. It goes to show you that Tom didn’t have a chance in the second half. Whether it was Jared Odrick beating [Dan] Connolly, whether it was Cameron Wake on a tight end and a back, whether it was Cameron Wake on Sebastian Vollmer. I’ve got three plays where you’re either dealing with a sack-fumble or a hit on the quarterback where [Brady] doesn’t have three seconds to get rid of the football. When you look at it in that regard, there has to be something with that offensive line, which by the way has been a concern for them throughout training camp in terms of the combination that they were going to play with. I think they were worn out. … They got tired.”

Some wondered whether the Patriots should have used more creativity to get the ball out of Brady’s hands quicker. Hasselbeck said the Patriots did an effective job of that in the first 30 minutes.

“In the first half, as I’m taking notes on stuff, I was impressed with the creativity of some of that stuff — how they were using [Julian] Edelman, and how they were doing things where, like the jet sweep a great example. To get that from them you start to say, ‘OK, I like the creativity of it.’ ”

The trade of offensive lineman Logan Mankins for tight end Tim Wright has been a source of controversy since it occurred, and many blame the deal for the line’s struggles on Sunday. Hasselbeck said the trade was not the cause of the issues.

“Logan wasn’t going to be blocking Cameron Wake. Cameron Wake gave them fits. Dan Connolly is blocking his man, and he gets beat by his man. Is the outcome of the game is different? I don’t think there’s any shot the outcome of the game is any different.”

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Read More: Cameron Wake, Dan Connolly, Logan Mankins, ray rice

What pundits were saying about Patriots on Sunday

09.07.14 at 11:40 pm ET
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Here’€™s a quick rundown of what some NFL analysts were saying about the Patriots before and after Sunday’€™s game against the Dolphins:

Tony Dungy on NBC’€™s Football Night in America after the game: “œI had [the Patriots and Saints] going to the Super Bowl, both of these teams. They didn’€™t look like it today.”

Rodney Harrison on Patriots defense on NBC’€™s Football Night in America after the game: “€œBill Belichick, he has to be a little bit concerned. Not panic mode, but a little bit concerned.”

Dungy on Patriots after the game: “Don’€™t get too panicked now if you’€™re ready to kill the New England Patriots. They didn’€™t play well. They had some offensive line problems. But Bill Belichick is the best adjustment coach in the league, so don’€™t bury the Patriots just yet.”

Michael Irvin on NFL Network before the game on comparisons between Tom Brady and Troy Aikman: “A whole lot of things remind me of Troy Aikman. … He never lets what he did become bigger than who he is. But on game day, when the game is on the line, there is a hyperfocus that both these guys reach to bring the best out of everyone around them.”

Michael Robinson on NFL Network before the game on the Seahawks‘€™ greatest opponents: ‘€œThe one team that can even challenge the Seahawks is the New England Patriots. That’€™s because of their defense and their quarterback. Tom Brady, the plays that he makes with receivers — we don’€™t even know their names half the time — puts him in a category to be able to challenge the Seattle Seahawks.”

Robinson on the Patriots before the game: “This defense is too good. It’€™s Super Bowl or bust for Tom Brady. I expect them to be in the Super Bowl this year.”

Deion Sanders on NFL Network after the game on Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis and the rest of the Patriots: “We normally never see Tom Brady under duress like that. It seems like he calls it like a Peyton Manning; he gets rid of the ball methodically. They need a better running game. Defensively, this is not a Bill Belichick defense’€¦Darrelle Revis, I love him, he is a good corner, but he has to get back to the old Revis or they are going to keep victimizing him. They targeted him several times today. He played a fairly good game but not a great game, and I expect a little more. I know I’€™m going to get more because he has to get that attitude back. They brought him over there to take them to the next level, not to be an average corner. He’€™s better than that.”

LaDainian Tomlinson on NFL Network after the game on Patriots defense allowing 33 points in loss to Miami: “We didn’€™t expect that defense to play like that. They gave up 33 points and that’€™s not reminiscent of a Patriots defense from Bill Belichick. I look on the other side of the ball and I didn’€™t get anything from the run game. You’€™re expecting Tom Brady to do everything. I thought when the season first started that they were going to rely a lot more on their run game; a lot of play-action passes, a lot of passes to [Rob Gronkowski] but also managing the game, not putting Tom Brady in a bad situation. We saw that. They couldn’€™t block Cameron Wake and that was a problem all day, and they didn’€™t try to give him any help.”

Steve Mariucci on NFL Network after the game on Patriots-Dolphins: ‘€œThis game was decided in the trenches. The inability for the Patriots to run the ball and giving up 191 yards rushing; Knowshon Moreno had 134 by himself. And then of course all of the pressure on Tom Brady. The Patriots go into halftime with a 20-10 lead and then they can’€™t get anything done really in the second half. I don’€™t know if the heat or anything got to them a little bit, but Miami really poured it on in the second half and controlled this game.”

Read More: Deion Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Irvin, Michael Robinson

Darrelle Revis: ‘Very frustrating’ to miss end of game with cramps

09.07.14 at 8:06 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis had tough luck on Sunday with Mike Wallace. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis had tough luck on Sunday with Mike Wallace. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It may not have changed the outcome but Darrelle Revis said he was frustrated to be kept on the sideline by a minor issue in the closing moments of Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.

“€œVery frustrating. I couldn’€™t be out there and help the team out in desperation mode at that time,” Revis said.

Revis was asked specifically if it was cramping from the heat and humidity that kept him out of the game at the end.

“Uh, yeah,” Revis said. “Minor. Minor. Minor things going on but yeah.”

Revis made his official debut with the Patriots and was targeted several times by Ryan Tannehill, including on the Mike Wallace touchdown reception over the middle that tied the game, 20-20, in the third quarter.

“I actually knocked the pass down and thought it popped up like the post he ran earlier in the first half. I don’€™t know, I have to see the film,” Revis said of the Wallace TD grab. “My teammates were telling me it hit his knee and popped back into his hands. You don’€™t want those happen – sometimes they happen ‘€“ but the only thing you can do is, I don’€™t know. Sometimes the plays happen and you have to tip your hat off to Mike for keeping focus and coming up with it some weird way.”

Wallace, who finished with seven catches and a TD on 11 targets, nearly had another touchdown on Revis on an out-and-up move in the second quarter but Wallace’s right foot came down out of bounds.

“€œIt’€™s not a good day for us,” Revis said. “We didn’€™t play too well and that’€™s the taste we have in our mouth today. It doesn’€™t matter about my first day, it would have been way better if we would have come out with a victory. We’€™re worried about the loss.”

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Miami Dolphins, Mike Wallace, New England Patriots

Tom Brady isn’t throwing his offensive line under a bus: ‘I don’t think any of us were gelling’

09.07.14 at 7:38 pm ET
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Tom Brady struggled against the Dolphins Sunday in Miami. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady struggled against the Dolphins Sunday in Miami. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tom Brady was a beaten and banged up quarterback on Sunday but he was not about to let the pounding show itself by blaming his offensive line.

“€œTruthfully I don’€™t think we were really gelling anywhere,” Brady said. “There wasn’€™t much positive from the quarterback position, the receiver position, the tight end position and the running back position. None of us can play like that and expect to win. All of us have to go out and do a much better job than we did today. We’€™ve got to take the coaching, understand what we need to do better and then go out and execute next week.”

Brady, sporting his Logan Mankins beard, wouldn’t call out an offensive line that allowed four sacks, two of them for strip sack turnovers, and six official quarterback hits (though it seemed twice that number). This can happen when you have an interior offensive line by committee, which is what Bill Belichick and his staff has decided to use, at least to start the season.

The starting line was left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Marcus Cannon, center Dan Connolly, right guard Jordan Devey and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Three drives – and three quarterback hits – into the first half, the Patriots shifted Connolly to right guard, brought in Ryan Wendell at center and featured Cameron Fleming as a tackle eligible for added protection.

“€œI think our execution was just terrible,” Brady said. “We just couldn’€™t do anything offensively, we couldn’€™t sustain drives and we couldn’€™t get a first down. We couldn’€™t run it and we couldn’€™t throw it. It was just a bad day.”

The Dolphins were without their projected three starting linebackers just 10 minutes into the game as Koa Misi (ankle) and Dannell Ellerbe (hip) left with injuries.

‘€œI know but like I said they had some guys that came in and did a good job,” Brady said. “No. 53 (Jelani Jenkins) and [Jason] Trusnik did a good job. They have some good players and depth at that position, they’€™ve got a good front and they have good players in the secondary that make you earn it. We just couldn’€™t sustain anything. We just had too many drives where we sputtered and starting in the second half and the third quarter, you can’€™t play football that way.’€

But Brady did eventually hint that he was mentally affected by the constant pounding when asked if the hits changed his thinking in the pocket.

‘€œThat’€™s a good question,” Brady said. “I just don’€™t think you want to stand back there and hold the ball when you know they’€™re bearing down. You just try to pick guys out and make the throws but there’€™s time when you look on the film and you had more time than you think and that’€™s part of playing football. I’€™ve got to do a lot better job using my instincts to help our team move the ball and score points.”

All the pounding didn’t appear to affect his ailing calf or his sense of humor, when asked about the leg after the game.

‘€œIt’€™s good, thanks for asking,” he said.

Read More: New England Patriots, offensive line, Tom Brady,
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