Quarterback Tom Brady has been spreading the ball around his offense like wildfire. No longer does Brady give all (or most) of the looks to receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The Boston Herald reports Moss and Welker's receiving percentages have gone down from 28 and 26 to 23 and 24 percent, respectively. The most notable increase in receiving percentages is rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has received the rock 15 percent and accounted for 28 percent of the total team's passing yardage through the first three games this season.
Option-expanding tight ends like Hernandez, fellow rookie Rob Gronkowski and veteran Alge Crumpler, may be bad news for the Dolphins D, who have had trouble containing tight ends in their last two games against the Vikings and Jets, according to the Boston Globe.
"In Week 2, Minnesota tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had six catches for 86 yards in Miami's 14-10 win. And last week, tight end Dustin Keller had six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets' 31-23 victory," writes the Globe.
Yet perhaps these two losses have made the Dolphins defense wary of what's to come on Monday Night Football. Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby sounds ready.
"[The Patriots] got two guys that could block very well and then you got a receiver," Dansby said in a conference call yesterday. "They say, they've been making a lot of plays on their offensive side of the ball. Like I say, they've been getting down the field and scoring touchdowns left and right and making big plays left and right. So, like I say, we just got to be sound in our technique and finish plays. I think that's what we didn't do against Dustin Keller and it allowed them to have a lot of success out on the field. Like I say, we were playing with bad technique and the communication was off-it was a lot of things that allowed him to have success out on the field."
Listen to Dansby's conference call.
According to ESPNBoston.com, "It's a pretty good time to be a New England Patriots season-ticket holder, who doesn't own a television."
The story highlights (or "low"-lights) Patriots' struggles on the road since the beginning of last season, on which New England has a record of 2-7. If you don't count the London game, which was neutral territory for the Pats and the Buccaneers, the Patriots are 1-7.
The article delves into hard numbers, revealing a significant decrease in Brady's passer rating among other things, but it also notes the fact that the Pats are playing tougher teams on the road as of late. Whatever the case may be, all of these statistics add up to pure speculation on what New England can do with its next seven away games. And the person, in the best position to change these stats, is Brady himself.
"Well, we're 0-1 this year [on the road]," the three-time Super Bowl champion QB said yesterday during his press conference. "So really, this is a totally different team than last year. We've played one game on the road this year - a meaningful game. We played well in the first half. We didn't play well in the second half and we lost. It sounds generic, but based on one game this year, it's hard to say, 'Well, we have to play well in the second half. That's what we have to do.' We have to play 60 minutes of football. Like I said, you can't expect to go out there on the field and miss throws and turn the ball over and not score in the red area, not play well situationally, and then win the game. You come in here and, "Oh, we made these 10 mistakes.' And, 'Oh, why didn't we win that game?' Well, because we can't make mistakes. And when you're on the road, the momentum is tough to gain and it's pretty easy to give away. You can't really make those types of plays. So, that's what we're focusing on this week."