The Patriots earned their first shutout since 2009 when they beat the Dolphins yesterday, 28-0. Cause for celebration, right?
Well, not exactly. New England's defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said the team still had a lot of work to do despite its solid outing on Sunday.
"I think absolutely youre always looking for improvement," Patricia said. "Obviously youre happy with the effort and excited for the players. Theyre the ones who did all the work on the field to achieve certain goals, but certainly when you go back and look at the film, theres a lot of things we need to do better, improve on and work on and thats really what well focus on, obviously more so than just the scoreboard there."
The Dolphins helped the Patriots with a fumble near the goal line in the third quarter. And Dolphins receiver Armon Binn dropped what looked like it might've been a touchdown in the second quarter.
But, as Patricia pointed out, any time you can shut out an NFL team, it's a performance to be proud of. Certainly New England's seven sacks were a sign of the defense's continuous effort, even when it appeared the game was out of reach for Miami.
"You know, it was a good effort by everybody out there," he said. "I think guys really tried hard and did things we asked them to do and were pleased with that, but there are certainly some areas of improvement that you can really take a look at and say, 'We really have to do some things better here because they just werent good enough.' "
FOXBORO - The Lions are moving on from tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Could the Patriots be interested in moving him in?
New England’s tight end landscape has gone from brilliant to bleak in about a week with Rob Gronkowski done for the year, Martellus Bennett hobbling on bad ankles and an unknown Matt Lengel the only depth at the spot.
Which could put the team squarely in the market for anyone that could lend a couple of helping hands. Pettigrew is a former first-round pick who the Lions are reportedly about to release. They put him on the their non-football injury list on Tuesday, closing his chance to return to the team. He’d been practicing since November 22 and both he and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke positively about his return.
Pettigrew’s been rehabbing an ACL tear suffered last December. He turns 32 in February and was probably going to be released by the Lions in the offseason as he had a 2017 base salary of $4.35M.
Once Pettigrew is released, he will pass through waivers as all players do after the trade deadline. If unclaimed, he can sign anywhere. His contract would travel with him so his new team would be on the hook for the remainder of his agreed-upon 2016 salary.
It wouldn’t be a horrific idea for the Patriots to put in a waiver claim on Pettigrew and see what he could bring them for the stretch run even if he had descended into disuse in Detroit.
Pettigrew caught 17 passes in the 22 games he’s played for the Lions since 2014. At 6-5, 278, he’s probably not as quick and agile as he was eight seasons ago when he was the 20th overall pick. Would it be a desperate move? Yes. But it’s a desperate situation at the position.
There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through, which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.