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Unfiltered Notebook 10/27: Pats looking to make practice execution into gameday reality

Josh McDaniels and his offensive staff look to the practice field to get their offense back on track.


Patriots players were off on Tuesday, as it was the coaches turn to speak the media via Webex. Josh McDaniels took centerstage in the morning, as he and his offensive staff look to get Cam Newton and the attack back on track after a performance where not much was working.

"There's no shortcuts," said McDaniels, who stressed making practice execution gameday reality as the only way to start producing on offense. "We're gonna work as hard as we can to try to make improvements every day in practice. I know Cam will. He's dedicated to doing that, I know our whole group is. Nobody's content with what we've been able to do recently, we know we have to make a lot of progress quickly and we are hard at work doing that this week."

Quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch explained Newton is in the thick of it now, trying to learn a new offense and play in a style he's unfamiliar with in the NFL. Fisch said Newton's work ethic has been even sharper during the recent weeks of struggle and that should help get him and the team out of the rut.

"I think what it comes down to is he's continuing to gain experience and knowledge in the system," said Fisch. "There's clearly some times that we probably haven't pulled the trigger fast enough, therefore we're hitching a couple extra times or holding the ball a little bit longer than we would like to and that can cause many things. It can cause a negative play, a sack, an interception, an incompletion, a late throw.

"I've got to do a better job coaching, he's got to continue to do a better job reacting and understanding that the looks are always going to be a little bit different, that it is going to be a little bit faster on Sundays and he's going to have to quickly translate the game from the practice field to the game field."

Where will the coaches start? Leaning into what Cam does best.

"I think it starts with doing the things that he's comfortable with and then working those things in practice so you end up in a place with the entire unit and the entire group and, in this particular case, the people who are really working together to make it go so that they can get comfortable with one another and improve," said McDaniels.

For the second day in a row, the stress being placed not just the importance of practice, but practicing with purpose, is notable. Were the Patriots rusty back on the practice field last week? It sees certainly possible, but now, in their second week back on a normal routine, New England must take advantage of every moment of preparation.

"I think that's the biggest thing for us on the practice field, when you start stringing together days of practice," said McDaniels. "It's not okay to just go out there and be on the grass... you got to make progress, you got to produce results that are the types of results you want to see on Sunday during the games.

"What you want to do is make progress and approve as an individual and as a group. We've talked a lot about that. We're really committed to try to make practice execution turn into game reality and see some of the progress show up in the game against Buffalo."

Bill on the Bills

Bill Belichick weighed in on the Buffalo Bills this morning. Sitting atop the division at 5-2, the Bills are in unfamiliar territory when it comes to playing the Patriots and a big reason why has been the development of Josh Allen.

"He can run and he does run, but I think he's become more patient and just does a better job of dealing with outlet receivers in the coverage or secondary receivers in the pattern than he did," said Belichick. "As he gained experience, I think that's to be expected of any good quarterback like that. So, he can certainly make all the throws. He's got a great arm and he can run, he's athletic, he's hard to tackle. But, I'd say his overall execution in the passing game has improved each of the last three years."

Receiver Stephon Diggs has helped with Allen's development. leading the team with 48 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs is an explosive threat that will give the Patriots plenty to gameplan for.

"He's, I think, really become the go-to guy for them," said Belichick of Diggs. "He's made a lot of big plays. He's an excellent receiver, gets good separation, very good hands, really attacks the ball, catches in a crowd, takes the ball away from defenders. He's done that multiple times. He's made big plays down the field, catch and run plays in a red area. He's an excellent player."

Table inside Article
Stats Patriots (2-4) Bills (4-2)
Overall DVOA 26th 14th
Offensive Points 17.3 (30th) 25.1 (18th)
Offensive DVOA 25th 12th
Offensive 3rd Down 38.8 (24th) 52.4% (2nd)
Offensive Red Zone 55.0% (25th) 60.7% (22nd)
Offensive Rushing DVOA 7th 32nd
Offensive Passing DVOA 30th 3rd
Turnover Ratio -2 (t-23rd) -1 (t-20th)
Defensive DVOA 25th 21st
Defensive Points 23.8 (12th) 25.4 (15th)
Defensive Third Down 37.7% (9th) 50.6% (30th)
Defensive Red Zone 57.9% (12th) 65.6% (19th)
Defensive Passing DVOA 23rd 18th
Defensive Rushing DVOA 25th 26th
Special Teams DVOA 9th 10th

Webex Quotes of Note

Jerod Mayo on rookie Anferee Jennings:

"I'll tell you from the first day, Anferee's come in with a great attitude, a learning attitude. A guy who is learning not only for me but from the other players. Obviously he has the physical attributes you want in a good linebacker. He's a smart guy, he's making contributions to this defense. Obviously still a rookie, still has a long way to go, but he's getting there."

Steve Belichick on getting the defense on the same page:

"Everybody's got to take accountability and it starts with the coaches putting players in a position to play fast and play aggressive. It starts with us as a coaching staff. Getting those guys in the right situation, it's everybody. It's not just one guy out there, we all have to do our job in order to be successful. It's tough to play with 10 or nine guys and a couple guys doing the wrong thing. It's up to everybody to do their job."

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