“Our offense has never been the same two years in a row, really,” the offensive coordinator said. “The system hopefully is broad enough where we can use the skills that our players have to the best of their ability. We try to put them in position to be successful with whoever is out there on the field. We’ve had to do it a lot of different ways in the course of time. Whatever that way is we’re not real sure yet.”
With Wes Welker in Denver,
“It’s definitely a work in progress,” he said when asked about the transition.
In fact, it’s quite clear that even when Gronkowski returns to health Brady and McDaniels are going to have to find new ways to get the job done.
The biggest uncertainty is at receiver. Though
That’s a lot of learning to undergo for a team that’s known for having a rather complex, adjustment-heavy passing playbook. Adding new players to that mix over the years – whether they be rookies or veterans – hasn’t always been easy.
But Brady is trying his best to understand the process that those young players, and the offense as a whole is going through this summer.
“I don’t want to be a grumpy old guy,” Brady said. “I understand there’s a learning curve and there is a patience [needed]. I think you try to let them know, though, that there’s an urgency about it. So it’s not like you can afford mistakes. And we all make them. I make them myself. I make more than anybody. So yeah you’re patient with certain things. Mental errors you don’t really want to tolerate. I think those things are always preventable. But you know they’re going to happen.”
So far second-round pick
According to the two-time Super Bowl MVP, all the young players have been impressive in their early work.
“We have a pretty smart group of guys,” Brady said. “That’s been a real positive and hopefully we continue to play smart. It’s hard to exist in this program if you’re not a smart player.”
Smart as they may be, they’ve never played together. Brady will enter the season – assuming Gronkowski isn’t ready to go on opening day – without his top five pass catchers from a year ago, a group that collectively hauled in 338 catches.
Sure all NFL teams go through some changes each year and meld the system to the talent on the roster. But this is clearly an extreme case of that with the Patriots.
And it’s clearly a work in progress.
“Our offense every year, there is really no one specific identity for it other than we try to use the players’ skills that we have and move them around and get them the ball as many ways as we can to allow them to be effective,” McDaniels concluded. “Whether that’s using two tight end sets as we have in the past few years quite a bit or multiple receivers or one tight end and three … whatever it may be. We’re just trying to see what everybody can do at this point, what are our better groupings to do certain things from.
“There are a lot of things left to go through in terms of evaluating. But I think whether that’s using some different personnel groupings that we haven’t used in the last couple years, that may come into play. Really we’re still in a phase of trying to figure out exactly what’s best for the Patriots.
“I think whatever we determine that may be – and that’s probably going to change quite a bit from week to week, then we’ll make those decisions as we go. I think we’re still trying to put those guys in spots to see what they can and can’t do. Not only at the tight end position, but the receivers, the backs. They all can kind of do different things. Once we kind of settle on the roles that everybody will have and earn, I think our offense will take a more obvious shape as we go on.”
Lights, camera, action …
The Patriots practiced inside Gillette Stadium in front of season-ticket holders, residents of Foxborough and South Walpole as well as those who attended the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The crowd of 20,543 was a spirited group and raised the excitement level of the workout, if not the overall performance.
Despite the added potential for intensity, it seemed that only the defense took advantage. The offense was sloppy for the most part, failing to complete passes with much regularity and struggling to maintain much consistency when running the ball during 9-on-7 drills.
The defense came up with most of the big plays, including a pair of interceptions from
“Anytime anybody gets and interception it’s good,” said safety
The Patriots hoped to get a surprise boost from
Armstead has yet to practice after being placed on the non-football illness list before camp and the team released the following statement about his status after practice Monday night:
"Armond Armstead had surgery to treat an infection. Armond is in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery. A timetable has not been set for his return to football.”
Armstead dealt with a heart condition during his college career and that caused him to go undrafted in 2012. After playing in Canada last season he earned a contract with the Patriots in an effort to jumpstart his NFL career. Now it appears as if that’s on hold for at least the short term.
Pats have ’em cornered
The Patriots had a chance to lose two of their three starting corners from 2012 via free agency but both
Boyer, who is in his eighth season with the Patriots and fifth working in the secondary, feels a comfort level working with familiar faces. But in addition to the experience, Boyer believes having the two re-signed free agents back in the fold has helped in other ways as well.
“Aqib and Kyle in particular – those guys have been really good leaders – they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do,” Boyer said. “Both of them are very coachable, they’ve worked very hard in the offseason, they’ve come back in good shape, they’re doing good things in practice, there’s a comfort level with those guys out there with the safeties, we’re getting the same group working together there as well, so that’s been good for us.”
Linebackers coach Pepper Johnson always has an interesting way of putting things and he offered a unique take of rookie linebacker
“In today’s football, it’s hard for a guy to just play one position because the offense, with Josh and those guys, they would transfer the tight end, move him over and get you in different formations and he would end up playing [Jerod] Mayo’s position anyway,” Johnson said.
Then he broke out some typical Pepper-speak when describing Collins’ game.
“I think Coach Belichick did a great job of getting a linebacker in here. It’s just a matter of getting him to understand the game, which he does. So, he came ready with a lunch pail – it’s just a matter of us putting the sandwiches and the milk and all that stuff in the lunch pail. He’s a guy who understands football so that makes it easier for me to guide him.”
Play of the Day – With the offense operating out of the no huddle, Tom Brady moved the ball methodically down the field. Facing a first-and-10 from near midfield, Brady executed an effective play-action fake and found tight end
Quote of the Day – “Athleticism, if it doesn’t transfer out there on the football field then we’ll start hiring male football cheerleaders or something and have them do flips.” – Pepper Johnson, explaining how athleticism is only useful if it translates to the field.
The Patriots had one addition to their injury list as running back