By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO - In the preseason, the Patriots completed one pass to Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker. Combined. Ten were completed to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. On Sunday, you have to figure nearly three times that many passes will be targeted to those players. The Patriots showed the Tennessee Titans nothing during the fake games. Youhave to expect the Titans are planning the same thing for the New England offense. "You have to deal with what youve seen because thats what they're working on and you have to deal with things that could come up because you understand that theyre probably holding some things back," Tom Brady explained during his Wednesday press conference. "Ultimately its going to come down to who executes the best. Its not the scheme; its taking care of the football, who does better on third down and the red area, taking advantage of scoring and penalties, all the things that play into every game. "But yeah, its different than Week 15 when you have a whole seasons worth of film on a certain team," Brady added. "There are some things were preparing for that we probably wont see and certainly there are things that they're doing that we havent seen. Thats just part of playing really early in the season."Last year, the Patriots burst from a quiet preseason to pummel the Dolphins, 38-24 as Brady threw for 517 yards. The potential is there for something similar to unfold against Tennessee. The potential is also there for the Tennessee to gum up a New England offense which didn't look revved up for the regular season in the practice games. Brady, as he usally is, seems wary of that Titans defense."Its a very fast front thats very disruptive, so you dont have a lot of time to sit back there and evaluate whats going on," Brady explained. "I think they mix in enough zone coverage with man coverage where its really tough to anticipate. To try to get a good pre-snap read and a good post-snap read and not really make up your mind before the ball is snapped of where the ball should go because they and they make some things look very similar, some blitzes look like coverage, some coverages look like blitzes, so you have to do a good job post-snap of really figuring out what theyre doing and find the open guy."The protection will be a big key because, as Brady's figuring out who's going where and what the defense's weak spot is, the Titans will be bringing pressure on an offensive line that's struggled some. With Nate Solder out at left tackle and Sebatian Vollmer (presumably) on the right side, the Titans have two edge spots to target. Solder's young. Vollmer's just back from injury and his conditioning may not quite be there yet. There will be a feeling out process to contend with on Sunday. And don't forget, this Titans team was 9-7 last year. They aren't slouches. The Patriots know they're in for something Sunday. Exactly what, they won't know until after kickoff. Yeah, thats part of it.
00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.
05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.
10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati.
16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.
This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats.
As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions.
The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around.
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“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”
In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game.
If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone.
Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016.
With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1.