Belichick irked by flat showing in Tampa

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Belichick irked by flat showing in Tampa

TAMPA - When you break it down, you can see exactly what led to the Patriots' sputtering offensive performance Friday night against the Bucs. On their first play from scrimmage, they got 8 yards. Then no gain on Stevan Ridley runs on second and third down and a punt. On their next drive, Tom Brady took a sack (yielded by Marcus Cannon; Brady took the blame) and a third-and-14 pass was tipped, picked and returned for a touchdown.

Third drive, a loss of 1 on first down. "We didn't do anything offensively except lose yardage and turn the ball over," said Bill Belichick. "It was tough to watch any of what we did offensively. Throw them the ball, can't make any yards in the running game, third-and-long all day. Real hard to watch." It was not a total system failure. Rather, it was little things - like Ridley not making the first man miss on his second-and-2 run or Cannon giving modest effort on the sack - that turned into bigger things that jammed the system. "That's all being on the same page and everyone doing their job," Brady explained when asked about the lack of flow and rhythm. "When you put together a good play, you gotta put together another good play on top of that, another good play on top of that. You can't score points unless you do things well consistently unless you have a big play. And we didn't have any big plays tonight. Big plays make up for a lot of mistakes on offense, but if you don't make big plays you gotta drive the ball methodically down the field and you can't make errors. That's something we've got to focus on and something we have to focus on in practice."In an ideal world, the Patriots would have come out Friday, executed some drives in which they had balance and were able to sustain. Play well, have an orange slice at halftime and watch the second and third team scrap in the second half. Instead, they staggered around the entire first half, managing 118 yards on six possessions. Eighty-one of those came on their lone touchdown drive. They now have to at least consider playing the starters again in the final preseason game Wednesday against the Giants. "There's too many times where we're one step forward, two steps back. When you're not in a rhythm offensively it's hard to score points."It wasn't the big things as much as it was a myriad of little things that led to a disappointing night. "That's what separates the wins and losses," said Ridley, who was a bright spot with 87 yards on 16 carries. "We lost the game by just that much. It's the small things and that's what Coach Bill just said. We're gonna have to go back to the drawing board and play better football all around. We have to work on the small things and get those right so we can be the football team we need to be later on in the year."
It wasn't just the offensive inefficiency that vexed Belichick. "I think it was pretty obvious tonight that we got a lot of work to do," he acknowledged. "We really didn't perform to the level we need to in any area. When you can't score offensively, give up a lot of points defensively, nobody can make any plays in the kicking game you don't have a real good chance to win and that's the way it was tonight. "We're nowhere close to where we need to be. Hopefully we can close the gap pretty soon."

Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

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Patriots represented at Stanford, Utah, Missouri pro days

The Patriots had a busy day of gathering intel on Thursday. A very busy day. 

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia represented the Patriots at Ohio State and Notre Dame, respectively, the team had other representatives at high-profile pro days around the country including Stanford, Missouri and Utah. 

Here are a few of the players the Patriots were able to get a better look at . . . 

Stanford: The Patriots have shown plenty of interest in players coming from David Shaw's program in the past (Cameron Fleming, Jordan Richards), and they'll undoubtedly appreciate the talents brought to the table by two of the school's projected first-rounders in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Thomas is a powerful 6-foot-3, 273-pound defensive lineman who can play just about anywhere up front. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is one of the most athletic running backs in this year's class. He worked out as a receiver on Thursday and could fill a multitude of roles as a pro, whether it's as a back, a slot receiver or a kick-returner. The Patriots would need to trade back into the first round to have a prayer at landing either player. 

Utah: The Utes have a handful of draftable offensive linemen and one who is expected to come off the board in the first round. Garrett Bolles, who lit up the combine, might be the top tackle available -- and there are those who believe he's just starting to tap into his potential. Isaac Asiata is a monster guard (6-3, 323, 34-inch arms) who put up more bench-press reps than any other offensive lineman at this year's combine, and center JJ Dielman is an intriguing later-round option. One of the quickest risers in the pre-draft process? Marcus Williams, who is an eye-popping athlete. He was top-five for those at his position at the combine in the vertical, broad jump and three-cone drill, and he looks like a ready-made NFL free safety. The Patriots are pretty well stocked at that spot, but if they're picking at the bottom of the first round and going with the best player available, they may very well think that's Williams. 

Missouri: Defensive players were in focus for scouts and coaches at the Tigers pro day, and Charles Harris was the headliner. One of the most impressive players within a very deep class of edge defenders, the 6-3, 253-pounder appears to have the quickness and burst to give NFL tackles fits. One of Harris' teammates up front, Josh Augusta, ran a pretty ridiculous 40-yard dash Thursday, clocking in just a shade under five seconds. Ridiculous, why? Because he's a defensive tackle who wighed 390 pounds during the season. That's moving. Augusta dropped down to 347 after being diagnosed with a thyroid issue in January and is looking to get to 335. Corner Aarion Penton can competes well for the football, but his size (5-9, 177) may scare teams off until late in the draft. 

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

Curran: Patriots, Darrelle Revis have not discussed deal

The Patriots and Darrelle Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

This comes after CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported multiple anonymous NFL executives were convinced Revis would return to the Patriots.

Revis spent one season with the Patriots in 2014 when New England won Super Bowl XLIX. However, the Patriots did not pick up Revis' second-year option in the following offseason, and he elected to sign with the New York Jets in free agency. He played 14 games in 2015 and 15 games in 2016. He finished last season with 53 tackles, five pass deflections and one interception

The 31-year-old cornerback declined significantly during the 2016 season. Even Tom Brady said he noticed Revis was struggling phyiscally in the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Jets.

"I know he's not feeling great," Brady said in November. "I could see after the game, he winced a few times getting up. It looked like his leg was bothering him a little bit. But he's still very close on a lot of those plays. Even though you're hitting them, he's still very competitive.

"He's been one of the great players in the league for a long time. He's given up more plays this year than in the past, but you've gotta have a lot of respect for his style and his game."