Pats need to improve in red zone


Pats need to improve in red zone

The Patriots have struggled in the red zone lately, but last week took the cake. New England was a miserable 1-for-6 in red zone scoring opportunities against the Seahawks.

Tom E. Curran says there are some easy fixes that would allow things to turn around in that regard. First is better ball protection - Tom Brady committed a rare brain fart by throwing a pick in the red zone last week and that's something that's not likely to be a frequent occurrence.

Second is better clock management. An intentional grounding penalty in the final seconds of the half forced a ten-second runoff and cost the Patriots a chance at an easy field goal. The Patriots later lost by just one point.

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract


Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.