Despite a disappointing end to the loss in Buffalo, the Patriots offense made some solid strides, with their best offensive output since September, posting over 20 points for the first time since beating the Raiders. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels felt lCam Newton made strides in the offense simply by taking what the defense offered.
"I think there were some really good examples of the Bills taking things away down the field that we are trying to look for and then [Cam] using the tight ends and the backs on the check downs, and there were some also some good examples of him throwing the ball away," said McDaniels. "I don't think we've ever lost a game because we threw an incomplete pass. Those are the kind of things we're trying to build on."
The offense will receive a boost from newly acquired receiver Isaiah Ford, who figures to step right into the mix alongside Jakobi Meyers, who had a bit of a breakout game against the Bills.
"Jakobi is always ready to go, always ready to take a advantage of the opportunities he's given," said McDaniels. "I thought he did a good job on Sunday of being ready to go. That's a couple weeks in a row where he's practiced well then been able to do some things for us. I have a lot of confidence in Jakobi Meyers."
McDaniels hopes to pull together Newton's progress with the possibilities of Meyers' emergence and Ford's arrival, along with the effective running of Damien Harris, to elevate the Patriots offense to a new level. Harris got his first touchdown on Sunday and played well in pass protection. That earned him praise from McDaniels, along with his big-play potential.
"Damien is the kind of guy that there may or may not be a whole but he's going to make one," said McDaniels. "When he gets into the defense as he did on Sunday, got a chance to break a tackle or make somebody else miss and create a bigger play. Very pleased with what Damien's done. Like the way he plays, like his run style. I think he gives us an opportunity to create some chunk plays with the way that he attacks the line of scrimmage and addresses linebackers and safeties at the second level.
"One of the areas when you come into the league that you don't necessarily have a great exposure to is at handling blitzes, seeing all the things that are thrown at you in the National Football Leauge. Damien was able to pick up some secondary pressures on Sunday, again, the more you do that, the more he does that, the more confidence you have in him."
Now it's just up to stringing another good week of practice together and focusing on getting a win against the Jets.
"For this team, this year, I think we're continuing to try to grow," said McDaniels. "There were some positive steps we took on Sunday. Certainly, nobody's happy with the results. That's all we need to focus on, what are things we need to improve on and take advantage of against a good team when they're presented to us."
Pats pick up a defensive tackle
Aside from helping out the receiver position by adding Isaiah Ford, the Patriots reportedly also added some reinforcement to their defensive tackle spot by signing Tennessee Titan Isaiah Mack to the 53-man roster. Mack made the Titans as an undrafted rookie last season, partially due to a strong performance against the Patriots in the preseason. He'll provide some new depth with Beau Allen now done for the year and uncertainty surrounding Lawrence Guy's status after leaving last game and not returning.
Mack is a little undersized for the Patriots usual interior linemen but the need might be so big it didn't matter. A player they liked and needed was available and now they'll figure out how to use him.
Webex Quotes of Note
Steve Belichick on Josh Uche getting his first game action:
"Excited to get Josh out onto the field. I know he was excited to get out there. It's the first steppingstone, got a long way to go with everybody but very excited to get him out there, get him healthy and get him on the field. He can definitely help our defense."
Cam Achord on the different variations of onsides kicks the team works on:
"To give you a number on how many we attempt or how many we try I'd be lying if I told you it was one, two, three. To be honest with you it could be a number of them because as you said, we're looking to see if you can get better every day out there, so we're attempting new things and trying to develop as many as we possibly can, that way when the game comes out and presents itself, we had the best kick available for that situation."
Bill Belichick on defining an elite cornerback:
"All things that are important to that position are evaluated. Not every player – even the good ones or the great ones – not every player is elite in every single thing. Some things they do maybe better than others. So, you just have to – depending what you're doing, what type of scheme you're running, if you're in man coverage a lot, how you're matching up the man coverages for what you need him to do – then you evaluate him based on that, but it's hard to find guys that are just elite at everything. But, sometimes they're elite at two or three things, and that's certainly a great place to build on."