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News Blitz 9/19: Patriots receivers simply aren't getting open

This edition of the news blitz focuses on a film review of the Patriots offense and checks out an article that claims Devin McCourty is one of the best safeties in the NFL.

As Dorothy said in the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz, 'There's no place like home'. After spending two Sunday's on the road to start the season, the Patriots players are looking forward to playing at home this week against the Raiders. Comcast SportsNet's Phil Perry collected a list of quotes from the players as they talked about their excitement for Sunday's home opener.

"After two Sundays on the road, the Patriots can't wait to play at Gillette Stadium. And can you blame them?" wrote Perry. "The Patriots are 11-1 in home-openers since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, and their overall record in regular-season play at home since that home-opener in '02 is 81-15."

Last night, the Atlanta Falcons embarrassed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 56-14 on national television. Even though the Patriots are note slated to play either team, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston says there are things the Patriots can learn from the Falcons and Bucs' Thursday Night Football game. Two of Reiss' takeaways included the importance of directional punting and ball security. Ball security is something we take for granted in New England. We don't often see the Patriots fumble the ball the way Tampa Bay and Atlanta did last night and it's largely because of Belichick's emphasis on protecting the football. If players can't hang on to the ball, they will likely see their playing time decrease dramatically -- just ask Stevan Ridley.

Reiss also made some observations on former Patriots, Logan Mankins and Dane Fletcher, who now play for the Buccaneers.

"Mankins still brings a nastiness to the field, as his first play ended with a powerful shove of Kroy Biermann into the turf," wrote Reiss. "Fletcher led the defensive huddle and was active with a pass deflection on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's first incomplete pass."


Jeff Howe]( of the Boston Herald joined CSN's "Early Edition" last night to talk about the Patriots receivers with Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek. He believes the receiving corps was over-hyped by the media during training camp because they've been unable to get open quickly enough so far this season. Specifically in regard to Danny Amendola, Howe believes it's a talent issue rather than a a trust issue.

"I looked at the Vikings game, he [Amendola] ran nine routes. They ran 23 passing plays, he was on the field for nine of them. He got open zero times. If Brady's not throwing to him it means Brady is doing the right thing," explains Howe.

For a more in depth breakdown of the Patriots receivers, Doug Kyed highlighted 20 pass plays from last week to show that the receivers simply aren't getting enough separation. In the article on, Kyed explains that Edelman and Gronkowski are the only Patriots receivers who are getting open on a consistent basis. As a result, Brady is targeting them more frequently.

"Brady's not forcing the ball to anyone. He's finding his open receivers, and that just happens to be Edelman and Gronkowski most of the time," writes Kyed.

As part of the Patriots Football Weekly show that airs on Comcast SportsNet each week, Andy Hart and Paul Perillo debated what player needs to step up in the passing game.

"It's got to be Aaron Dobson," argues Paul Perillo. "He's the one guy that I think has the ability, skill set, body size to do something different than what they already have."

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe believes that Devin McCourty has become one of the best safeties in the league. Young explains that McCourty has the utmost respect from his teammates that the safety's smarts and athleticism have elevated his game to an extremely high level.

"Despite their success thus far — the secondary is responsible for four of New England's seven turnovers and Cassel and Miami's Ryan Tannehill combined to complete just 54.4 percent of their pass attempts — McCourty said the group still has work to do," writes Young. Brady's not forcing the ball to anyone. He's finding his open receivers, and that just happens to be Edelman and Gronkowski most of the time.

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