Patriots prepare to focus on penalties
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady quieted concerns about his knee and
the Patriots defense got four sacks in a preseason game on Friday night.
Now about those penalties.
"We have to tighten that up," New England coach Belichick said Saturday
on a conference call with reporters, a day after New England was
flagged 10 times. "In the end it ended up being a very competitive
After leaving practice earlier in the week with an injured knee, Brady
put to rest any lingering concerns about his health, completing his
first 11 passes of the game and finishing with just one incompletion
and a touchdown in the 25-21 win for New England.
Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan returned an interception 53 yards for a
The kicking game still needs work.
After converting on 29 of 35 field goal attempts last year, Stephen Gostkowski is just 2 of 5 through two preseason games, including a
missed 50-yarder that hit the upright Friday.
"I think our overall field goal operation needs to be better, and he's
a part of that, but so is the snapper and so is the holder," Belichick
said. "We've had three different snappers and two different holders in
camp and in the preseason games.
"As it relates to Steve specifically, I think he's had a good camp," he
added. "He's worked hard and he's in good condition. He's kicked the
ball well and hit the ball very solidly and consistently. ... I'm
confident that he's one of the best kickers in the league."
Another concern, although unaddressed by Belichick, was the poor play
of third-string quarterback Tim Tebow, who is fighting just to make the
Tebow completed one of seven passes for minus-1 yard and rushed six
times for 30 yards. He also threw an interception that sailed well over
the head of intended target Kenbrell Thompkins.
"I worry about what I can control, not listening to outside
influences," he said. "It's my attitude and my effort and getting
better every day and just staying focused."
A couple of rookies certainly stood out.
Ryan, drafted in the third round this year, stepped in front of a pass
from Mike Glennon and walked untouched into the end zone midway through
the third quarter.
One of three players drafted by New England this year out of Rutgers,
and nine overall on the roster, Ryan impressed Belichick.
"I think he's improved in a lot of areas," he said. "His technique, his
recognition, and of course in the secondary, communication is such a
big part of the game.
"No matter who you're playing for or what you're playing, being able to
communicate with your teammates back there in the secondary — there's
not much margin for error.
"He's worked hard, he's been durable, he's been out there and gotten a
lot of snaps and he continues to improve with those repetitions, so
he's definitely making progress."
Tight end Zach Sudfeld's performance also went a long way toward
solidifying his spot on the team.
With Rob Gronkowski sidelined indefinitely and Aaron Hernandez no
longer on the team, the rookie from Nevada caught two passes for 32
yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett that he
juggled before hauling in while diving to the ground between a pair of
Tampa Bay defenders.
Sudfeld also caught a 2-point conversion pass from Brady following a
touchdown on the opening drive.
"It's been such a great experience. The game today was pretty
incredible," Sudfeld said. "I am a rookie and have a long way to go and
a lot to learn and a lot to improve on, but so far it has been a great
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