Despite win, Brady not pleased

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Despite win, Brady not pleased

FOXBORO -- Something's bugging Brady.

In the wake of a 34-3 Patriots win, the source of his angst might not be obvious. But rewind farther, back to when New England entered the break up just 10-3 on the reeling Chiefs, and you'll find it.

"Obviously the first half we didn't do anything," he said after the game. "I don't think it could have gotten much worse than what we did in the first half. But I thought we came out strong in the second half and took control in the third quarter. It's good to get a win at home after the loss to the Giants in their last home game."

He never smiled in reflection of how "good" a win it was.

Brady completed 8 of 16 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown through two quarters. His first drive of the game went three-and-out. The next showed improvement -- five plays before the punt. Brady's third drive ended when he fumbled after a sack.

"Execution," he lamented. "We just sucked in the first. If you can't complete a pass, you're not going to move the ball. Can't run it, can't complete a pass -- we just didn't do anything."

He's not exaggerating.

Gaps closed on BenJarvus Green-Ellis before he could even look for them. The offensive line not only struggled to create space for the backs, it also couldn't give time to Brady; he was sacked three times on the night. The number isn't great, but zoom out and it's downright ugly.

Brady has been sacked 19 times in 10 games. In 2010, he was taken down 25 times in the entire season. The year before it was 16.

Keeping the quarterback upright is not the problem, but it is a problem. The pressure encourages New England's slow, sputtering offensive starts -- a consistent trend now for the Patriots. Look at the game log: Three-and-out to start against the Jets last week, 20 total points scored in the loss to the Giants, 19 against Pittsburgh in that loss, the 20-16 win against Dallas was pulled off in the final minutes.

No rhythm.

While an uphill battle isn't overwhelming against an AFC West bottomfeeder like Kansas City, it couldn't be won against Pittsburgh's stifling defense (three sacks of Brady). Is the Patriots QB looking beyond the regular-season schedule? Probably not. But, at this point, winning the games they're supposed to isn't going to satisfy him.

The Patriots haven't won a playoff game since 2007. Brady wants that streak snapped and he needs the offense to improve before the Patriots are faced with it.

"We're going to need to play better than we did offensively tonight if we want to start making some serious improvements down the stretch," he said. "We're 7-3. I don't think we're really where we hoped to be at this point."

Sometimes, the win's not the only thing.

The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

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The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist, and former Celtics beat writer, Dan Shaughnessy sits down with CSN for an extended discussion on "The '86 Celtics Interviews" podcast. Shaughnessy talks about the greatness of that team and the players' surprising reaction when they found out he was moving from the Celtics to the Red Sox beat.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Garoppolo: Panthers offer ‘closest thing we’ll get to Week 1’

Garoppolo: Panthers offer ‘closest thing we’ll get to Week 1’

One throw could have very well changed the overall assessment of Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance last Thursday against Chicago. 

Garoppolo had looked completely poised, on rhythm and decisive, carving up the Bears on four straight drives, including an impressive march to open the third quarter. And then, on third down in the red zone, the Pats quarterback correctly read man-under coverage, with a single high safety floating. But with his first two reads covered, Garoppolo pivoted back to his right and threw almost sight unseen to James White. One problem: Bears linebacker John Timu was sitting in the passing lane and dropped what should have an interception.

“Yeah, the linebacker made a nice jump on it,” said Garoppolo. “It’s unfortunate what happened.”

What happened was the Pats escaped with three points and Garoppolo exiting to excellent reviews. But that was a gift from the football gods, though the third-year pro shrugged it off.

“It was just one of those bang-bang plays,” said Garoppolo. “In the red zone, there are tight windows down there, so sometimes you’re going to make throws that get tipped or whatever it may be. You don’t try to make those happen, but sometimes it happens down there.”

A deeper review of the Pats approach versus the Bears showed a greater emphasis on Garoppolo getting rid of the ball the moment those feet settled on repeated three- and five-step drops. That resulted in the best performance by the Pats signal caller since before that full practice scrimmage in which the QB on the other side - a fella by the name of Tom Brady - went 25-for-25. That day, Garoppolo waded into choppy waters and took nearly two weeks to find solid footing. 

“I think part of that comes with just learning the offense overall,” said Garoppolo when asked about his decision making. “Year after year, you’re going to be more comfortable in the system, whatever it may be. I think I’m progressing the right way. There’s obviously a long way to go, you always want to be as precise and decisive as you can be, but I think I’m working in the right direction.”

No denying that, although now comes another test, the preseason tilt Friday night in Carolina against the defending NFC champion Panthers. There may be a greater strain put on Garoppolo and the starters, but as for the idea this is the closest thing to a dress rehearsal for the regular season, Bill Belichick reminds you not to get it twisted.

“I think this is a good opportunity for us to compete against arguably as good as any team in the league. [With] all that being said, we’re not talking about a regular-season game here, “ he said. “We’re not talking about game planning and all of those kind of things, which I can’t imagine would happen in this game, but they’re going to happen in a couple of weeks so it’s a whole different ballgame. I don’t think you can compare this game to a regular-season game even though I’ve heard people try to do that. I’m not sure what game they’re looking at. “

Maybe the same thing as Garoppolo is…

“It’s pretty much the closest thing we’ll get to Week 1, so we’ll see how it goes,” he said.