Less talk, more action needed from Pats secondary

760410.jpg

Less talk, more action needed from Pats secondary

SEATTLE -- The Patriots secondary has a mantra: "We need to make more plays."
At some point, they'll need to stop saying it and start doing it.
The Seahawks had 11 passing plays of 10 or more yards in their 24-23 win over New England Sunday. Quarterback Russell Wilson, a rookie, completed 16 of 27 passes, including three bombs that traveled 46, 50, and 51 yards. Two of those deep balls went for touchdowns.
After the game, that tired old refrain spun around and around.
"It's just that simple. That's the bottom line: We've got to make more plays to help this team win," said cornerback Devin McCourty.
"It's disappointing. We could have played better. Seattle did a great job, just kept fighting and trying to make plays. We've got to play better."
Nobody is arguing.
New England's secondary is the imperfect cog in an otherwise sleek machine. Sometimes, the cog works OK, like when McCourty grabbed two interceptions against Buffalo. Even then, as with Denver last week, the opposing quarterback was allowed more than 300 receiving yards and at least three touchdowns.
But the Patriots offense rolled on in both weeks because of its high-powered offense and defensive front seven. Two victories drowned out the groaning of that uncertain cog.
Until this weekend.
A hip injury has sidelined safety Steve Gregory since Week 4. When Patrick Chung sustained a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter and left the game, that left rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner to sure up the back end. That's when Seattle's quarterback and Sidney Rice pounced on New England with a 46-yard game-winner.
"I got beat -- plain and simple," said Wilson. "We were in simple coverage. Rice made a play and I didn't.
"I'm held accountable just like everybody else on this team. I don't expect them to take no slack on me because I'm a rookie. That's what my team put me out there for -- they expect me to make the play. And I should make the play."
There's always the threat of benching.
Starting cornerback Kyle Arrington was booted on the third series for rookie Alfonzo Dennard. A 24-yard touchdown surrendered by Arrington in the first quarter appeared to be a last straw of some kind.
But what do you do when the entire unit gives up 293 yards to the NFL's 31st-ranked passing offense? Bench them all?
"Gotta do better," said Arrington. "I don't have much to say. I can only speak for myself. Gotta do better. I will be better and we'll work our ass off this week and get ready for New York."
All they need to do is make more plays.

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

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.