Bill Belichick's biggest gripe with Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks was that the Patriots didn't make the play they needed to make, on both sides of the ball.
In the end, he said in a conference call on Monday, it came down to execution and situational awareness. And when the execution isn't there, that makes the possessions and plays late in a game that much more important.
"Then it really becomes an awareness thing, and certainly an execution thing," said Belichick. "How well can you execute that one, two, however many plays it is, that now determine the outcome of the game."
The outcome of Sunday's game in Seattle came on Russell Wilson's 46-yard bomb to Sidney Rice, deep down the middle of the field. The touchdown gave the Seahawks a 24-23 lead after the extra point, and all eyes were on rookie safeties Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner, who were beat down the field by Rice.
After watching the tape, Belichick admitted that the pass rush and the coverage could have ben better on that play. He even believed his defense was set up well enough to have enough bodies back there in the secondary. But the execution that Belichick spoke of on Monday, also had to do with the execution of the coaching staff, teaching their rookies how to properly execute on the field in those coverages.
"I mean, look, I'm not trying to put the blame on the players or anything like that," said Belichick. "I don't think there was anything wrong with the call. I think we could have played it better, which includes coaching it to be played better. So I think there's a responsibility on the coaching end . . . The execution, that's part of the coaching's fault as well."
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The Patriots announced three roster moves on Monday night. Two resulted in players parting ways with the team. The other opened a roster spot without a departure.
In addition to releasing both defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and center Bryan Stork, the Patriots also placed guard Tre' Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
Jackson began training camp on PUP, and he has not practiced with the team since camp kicked off. Now that he is on the reserve/PUP, the second-year player out of Florida State will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, but he will not count against the active roster during that period.
Jackson, a fourth-round pick last year, played through knee issues at times as a rookie, seeing action in 13 games and starting in nine. He has been spotted on the practice fields this summer, but he has been limited to warm-ups and conditioning work.
In his absence, the Patriots still have depth at guard, which may have had something to do with the team's willingness to make Jackson unavailable for almost the first half of the season. Rookie Joe Thuney looks like he will be the starter at left guard, while Josh Kline could be the option at right guard to start the season. Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason are dealing with injuries at the moment, but they both returned to the practice field on Monday, and they also have a shot at the right guard job. Rookie sixth-rounder Ted Karras could also factor in as a reserve at either guard or center if he makes the club.
The Patriots currently have 80 players on the active roster and need to reduce that number to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.