By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO - In the preseason, the Patriots completed one pass to Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker. Combined. Ten were completed to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. On Sunday, you have to figure nearly three times that many passes will be targeted to those players. The Patriots showed the Tennessee Titans nothing during the fake games. Youhave to expect the Titans are planning the same thing for the New England offense. "You have to deal with what youve seen because thats what they're working on and you have to deal with things that could come up because you understand that theyre probably holding some things back," Tom Brady explained during his Wednesday press conference. "Ultimately its going to come down to who executes the best. Its not the scheme; its taking care of the football, who does better on third down and the red area, taking advantage of scoring and penalties, all the things that play into every game. "But yeah, its different than Week 15 when you have a whole seasons worth of film on a certain team," Brady added. "There are some things were preparing for that we probably wont see and certainly there are things that they're doing that we havent seen. Thats just part of playing really early in the season."Last year, the Patriots burst from a quiet preseason to pummel the Dolphins, 38-24 as Brady threw for 517 yards. The potential is there for something similar to unfold against Tennessee. The potential is also there for the Tennessee to gum up a New England offense which didn't look revved up for the regular season in the practice games. Brady, as he usally is, seems wary of that Titans defense."Its a very fast front thats very disruptive, so you dont have a lot of time to sit back there and evaluate whats going on," Brady explained. "I think they mix in enough zone coverage with man coverage where its really tough to anticipate. To try to get a good pre-snap read and a good post-snap read and not really make up your mind before the ball is snapped of where the ball should go because they and they make some things look very similar, some blitzes look like coverage, some coverages look like blitzes, so you have to do a good job post-snap of really figuring out what theyre doing and find the open guy."The protection will be a big key because, as Brady's figuring out who's going where and what the defense's weak spot is, the Titans will be bringing pressure on an offensive line that's struggled some. With Nate Solder out at left tackle and Sebatian Vollmer (presumably) on the right side, the Titans have two edge spots to target. Solder's young. Vollmer's just back from injury and his conditioning may not quite be there yet. There will be a feeling out process to contend with on Sunday. And don't forget, this Titans team was 9-7 last year. They aren't slouches. The Patriots know they're in for something Sunday. Exactly what, they won't know until after kickoff. Yeah, thats part of it.
Michael Holley, Jackie MacMullan, Brian Scalabrine, and Cedric Maxwell address this question from the TD Garden
Roger Goodell is doing that damn thing again down in North Carolina this afternoon.
The NFL commissioner -- who once could carry off a press conference with a breezy, in-command air -- came off like a carrot-topped armadillo talking to reporters at the end of the May owner’s meetings in Charlotte.
Defensive, clipped and disingenuous, a monotone-speaking Goodell was asked about Deflategate and Monday’s Congressional report that alleged the NFL had lobbyists trying to pressure concussion researchers into using NFL-approved doctors.
Asked about the appeal for a rehearing of Tom Brady’s case on Monday, Goodell said, “I respect the NFLPA’s ability to appeal if they choose to do that . . . I’m not really focused on that at all.”
Goodell did not answer the second part of the question, whether or not he’d keep Tom Brady off the field if the court case was unresolved.
The answer, one can only presume would be, “Abso-friggin-lutely.”
As for the Congressional report, Goodell had the gall to answer that he “didn’t see the report.”
He then went on to disagree with what was in the report -- meaning his initial response was less than candid.
A few more minutes of short answers and the show was over with nobody much the wiser than when he began.
At the NFL's brief annual spring meeting, which typically lasts about 24 hours, Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft provided some equally brief remarks about his quarterback.
Asked for some comment on Tom Brady's legal situation, Kraft told NFL Media's Judy Battista a version of what he has been saying for the last few months as it relates to Deflategate.
"We've been behind him," Kraft said, "and the whole thing has been mishandled, in my opinion. It's unfortunate, and we hope he prevails."
The NFLPA and Brady's legal team filed a petition to the Second Circuit on Monday requesting that he be granted a rehearing. The Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension upon appeal earlier this offseason.
More to come . . .