Mallett: It's hard to play catch-up in this offense


Mallett: It's hard to play catch-up in this offense

FOXBORO -- Without a doubt, Ryan Mallett worked his tail off to get in shape this offseason. The results are obvious enough.
"I've lost a little fat," he said Friday. "I feel stronger, I feel quicker."
But more important than cutting fried food out of his diet was his dedication to the offense. Mallett doesn't shy away from the fact that he felt behind in his rookie season. He's just relieved he's made progress.
I was lost sometimes last year because I wasnt here from Day 1 of the camp, he admitted.
I think having a spring under my belt and going back to day one of how we do things is the stuff that I missed last year from Day 1. So I was trying to play catch-up last year and its hard to play catch-up in this offense.

There was no question to Mallett's standing last season: Backup to the quarterback's backup. He's hoping this year -- with no NFL lockout in his way -- to at least make a pass at that No. 2 spot.
Patriots director of personnel Nick Caserio hasn't discounted the possibility.
"I think its been a pretty good competition," Caserio said during his morning press conference. "I know Bill Belichick alluded to this the other day, I think, the competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan has been pretty good.
"Theyve both had their share of good plays; theyve both had their share of bad plays. I think the most important thing is to try to eliminate the number of bad plays or mental mistakes or whatever it may be."
Unfortunately for Mallett, there have been several.
Despite his optimism ("I feel like I know what's going on, making smarter reads, protecting the ball.) he's been inconsistent at best. It seems for every pretty play there is a corresponding interception, ball in the dirt, or show of indecision. More than once during camp, the coaches have him in drills that don't have much to do with passing.
He's young, yet.
And a young quarterback being around a player like Tom Brady can't hurt. The way Caserio sees it, even if the veteran doesn't have a lot of personal time to devote to Mallett's development, communication is good enough in the meeting rooms that some wisdom can be gleaned.
Mallett will take whatever he can get.
I feel like you can always take the knowledge that theyve learned over the years and apply it to your game. You learn, you work on all the little things, then overall all the big things when it comes to the team drills," he said.
Its a process, but I feel a lot more comfortable.

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”



Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable


Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)


OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)