Brady: You can't sit around and mourn

897093.jpg

Brady: You can't sit around and mourn

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady took the podium this week in an unusual circumstance.

The Patriots have a losing record.

Only three games have come and gone in 2012, but this is a team that played 145 consecutive games at .500 or better, the longest streak of its kind in NFL history. In New England, the possibility of three losses in a row is a "situation." Or at least that's how it was being posed to players in the locker room.

Brady went through a gauntlet of "What's gone wrong?" queries Wednesday.

"Its not like we sit here and look in the locker room and say, Wow, were terrible, we cant make any plays, were not even in these games,'" the quarterback said. "Were right in them; we just have to do a better job in certain areas. If we do that, well start winning close games. If we dont, well have a miserable year. No one wants that around here.

"Thats really what my concern is: How the team responds . . . this is about winning."

It's an inarguable point. What will be scrutinized and criticized is what the Patriots do about it. Brady knows better than anyone.

"We have to obviously make improvements because what were doing isnt good enough. Thats in any area -- thats certainly that everyone has to look at what they can do better to really help the team win. So, its frustrating when we lose. Its been two weeks in a row and obviously nobody feels very good about it."

New England can stop its slide Sunday in Buffalo.

There's no point in asking if the game is a must-win -- every player on every team will tell you every game is 'must-win.'

But is it fair to assume some urgency? Sure.

"All of our energy and focus is on this particular opponent and the challenges they present, certainly a big challenge for us. Theyre a very good team, very well coached and they play well at home. Its going to be a battle."

Buffalo knocked New England off its high horse last year with a 34-31 win at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Brady threw four interceptions on a beautiful September afternoon.

To avoid a repeat performance of that, or to avoid a continuation of... this, the Patriots will need to hone its killer instinct. Brady said after the Baltimore game Sunday that its something the team currently lacks.

Only one of New England's six losses in the last two years was by more than four points -- an eight point defeat in Pittsburgh the night before Halloween 2011.

What it comes down to, as far as Brady is concerned, is playing the best football when the pressure is highest.

"I think its just more that whether you make the play or you dont make the play on Sunday, certainly sometimes you just dont make the play. To not be aware of the situation is another thing. I think hes always trying to coach us to be aware of the situation. Whether we execute it great or not, you can know exactly what to do and how to do it but you just dont get it done. I dont think its from us not knowing whats going on out there. I just think we need to a do a better job executing."

Be clear: Brady wasn't moping about having a losing record through three weeks. Using failure as motivation is much different than rolling around, getting comfortable in the mire.

"You cant sit around for four days and mourn a loss and say, God, this is the end of our year," he said. "I mean, were 1-2, were not in a good position right now, were in the exact position we deserve to be in, and weve got to do something about it. So the energy and attention is focused on this opponent and how we can be better and how we can play better so that hopefully if we play well, we can get to 2-2.

"That's the only place we can go from here."

That's their hope, anyway.

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

FOXBORO – Talked to Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. His session with the media was as efficient and frills-free as his Friday night performance against the Carolina Panthers.

Brissett, the third-rounder From NC State, keeps improving. From 7-for-13 for 63 yards in the first game of the preseason to 9-for-13 for 87 yards Week 2 to a 9-for-9, 85-yard, one touchdown performance against Carolina.

He’s completed all manner of passes – inside, outside, checkdowns, tight windows – and looked preternaturally comfortable doing so.

Maybe I have a little recency bias working, but I don’t recall a drafted quarterback looking as poised and in command in his rookie preseason as Brissett has so far. Jimmy Garoppolo may have had more impressive game-by-game numbers, but Brissett oozes composure that that I don’t think Garoppolo matched.

Encircled by a media horde Sunday, Brissett was pleasant and perfunctory when asked about his performance.

“Definitely it was progress,” he said, adding that he’s, "still learning. I’m sure I’ll be learning until I leave here."

 Even though he was 9-for-9, Brissett said that watching film he could see “things you messed up on and could have done better.”

Asked for an example, Brissett talk about speed. At the line of scrimmage, going through progressions and delivering the ball, Brissett said all of it can improve.

The interesting question the Patriots face now is whether they are prepared to allow Brissett to be the lone backup to the still relatively green Garoppolo. Or does the team need an experienced backup to call on if Jimmy melts down?

Thursday night could be a telling evening for that. With Garoppolo unlikely to play a ton so the team can make sure he’s good to go for the opener, it comes down to who benefits more from reps against the Giants, Tom Brady or Brissett?

It shouldn’t be close. Brissett needs the reps.

Meanwhile, we made mention of Brissett’s relationship with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells after he was drafted and I figured revisiting that on Sunday wouldn’t hurt.

Brissett said he’s circled up with Parcells “here and there” but smiled knowingly and said, “He’s not the head coach here so you kinda need to listen to what your coach here is saying.”

Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

ridley_benched.jpg

Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

After being cut from the Detriot Lions last week, Stevan Ridely has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

The running back played for the Patriots for four seasons (2011-2014), averaging 4.3 yards per carry while scoring 22 touchdowns in 52 games. He only played in six game in his final year with New England as a result of a torn ACL and MCL.

Ridley played for the AFC-East rival New York Jets in 2015 with a limited role in the nine games he played.

 

Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

Bill Belichick knows the data. Knows the risk involved in exposing a player to a waiver claim at this time of the year and long ago came to the uneasy truce that you can’t keep ‘em all and somebody else might snag ‘em.

This summer, the Patriots don’t have a mass of easy releases, especially among their rookies and first-year players.

There are a lot of very intriguing players who’ve looked good either in practices, games or both. Good enough to make the Pats think twice about whether they want to leave them exposed.

Top of mind for me there are corners Jonathan Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc, linebacker Elandon Roberts, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton and running back D.J. Foster who appear to be right on the roster bubble but are impressive.

“It’s something you take into consideration, it’s a hard thing to predict,” Belichick said when asked about weighing the risk of a released player the Patriots would like to re-sign to their practice squad getting claimed. “There’s going to be, I don’t know, certainly going to be a lot of players, probably over 1,000 players that will be exposed to waivers in the next eight calendar days or whatever it’ll be. I think the average claim is somewhere in the high 20s there…so that’s what the odds are. We’ve had years where we haven’t had any of our players claimed and we’ve had years where we’ve had multiple players claimed. I think at the end you just have to do what you think is best for your team.”

Belichick has given us terrific insight this week into how he and Nick Caserio strategize their roster decisions. When asked about the team’s releases in advance of the cutdown deadlines, Belichick mentioned the team wanted to have the ability to accommodate new players who may come available.

Enter the Barkevious.

He also got into projecting young players against established performance levels of veterans and weighing current contributions against future ones.

"That’s the $64,000 question," Belichick said on Tuesday. "That’s what it is. It’s been like that since the day I got into this league. From all of the personnel meetings I’ve ever been in it’s a [matter of] a player who’s more experienced [and] more ready to help the team now, versus a player that’s not as ready now but at some point you think the pendulum will swing in his favor. Will you do that? Can you do that? What are the consequences of making that move? What are the consequences of not making that move? How likely, as you said, is it that you could keep both players in some capacity?

"That’s what it’s about, trying to balance now with later. We’re going to field a team in November, we’re going to field a team next year, we’re going to field a team in 2018. Not that we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re going to be in business in those years, so we have to sort of have an eye on those moving forward and a lot of the other factors that go into that. Those are all tough decisions. They’re all things that you really have to think about."

As is the risk of having a player scooped.

“It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to happen when you put players on the wire because in all honesty, you don’t know what the other [31] teams are going to do and who they’re going to put on the wire,” Belichick explained. “Even though you put a player out there that you don’t want to lose, if another team happens to put a player out there that may be a team that needs that position and would be better with your player, your player gets claimed. Sometimes we waive players that we didn’t think would get claimed and they were, so that’s really hard to predict.

“In the end, you’ve got to make the decision that you feel like is best for your football team, and if you really want that player and you just can’t bear to live without them, then you shouldn’t be exposing them to the wire,” he concluded. “That’s the reality of it. We keep an eye on them, but I don’t think it’s an overriding factor. If you’re prepared to waive them, then you’ve got to be prepared to lose them. That’s just the way it is.”