McDaniels keeps seeking consistency

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McDaniels keeps seeking consistency

"Why this and not that?"

That question is posed a few million times in living rooms and bar rooms, on airplanes and sidelines and over coaching headsets every single NFL Sunday.

Everybody has the right to wonder. Loudly if they so choose. And - contrary to what some may have you believe - the guys selecting "this" over "that" make the wrong decisions. A lot.

Clearly, the Patriots' offensive performance over the past few weeks leaves them open to some questioning and second-guessing.

Because they have players who've demonstrated a high level of competency, there is no question about whether their talent is an issue. So when the offense fails to gain separation in the second half and leads leak away, it logically comes down to either play-calls or execution.

The myriad variables that flow off of that are too long to list.

During a Monday conference call, I asked Josh McDaniels if he felt any closer to establishing what the offense does really, really, really well. What can it rely on?

"I think that you always try to evaluate what the team does well and hopefully were making as many good decisions about what to do with our players and our offense as we can all the time," said the Patriots offensive coordinator. "I think youll also learn as you go through this portion of the season. ...There are always some things you learn from each game, whether it be a new package that may have a chance to be productive for you or less of something else and more of this."

The essence of coaching successfully is either coaching with a relentlessly predictable efficiency so that, even if the other team knows what's coming, it can't stop it. Or winning the game with subterfuge and hitting them where they ain't. Usually, it's a blend.

A team as offensively diverse as the Patriots has lots of answers. Their challenge is providing the right ones when the defense presents them with a problem. Diversity is awesome. But simplicity is nicer.

Of course, the opponent is throwing subterfuge back at you, which McDaniels alluded to.

"So many factors go into each week ... like the way we attacked Seattle, it would have been hard to say thats exactly the way to attack the Jets because theyre so different in terms of the way they play and the schemes they use and the player strengths they have on defense," he explained. "You try to take the things that you do best that make sense to use against the team youre playing and then try to do them the best you can that week."

In-game adjustments, McDaniels said, create another level of complexity that makes the "that" which should work consistently a changeable thing.

"There are certain games we go into expecting to be pressured a lot and maybe we dont get blitzed," he pointed out. "Or theres a certain game we expect a lot of coverage and we get pressured a lot. In those situations, you may have to change what you anticipated would be a strength for your team as you go into it and try to do something else.

"Its Week 7 of the season, going into Week 8," McDaniels reminded. "There are always things you can learn about your team so that hopefully youre playing your best football as you head into the last half to last quarter of the season. So hopefully youre really peaking at the right time."

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.

Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

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Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape. 

OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.

@tombrady always fighting for that extra yard. 😂😂 #TBAsiaTour #IWILL

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The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.

Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent. 

Arigatōgozaimashita 🇯🇵🙏

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Brady vs Brady #therecanonlybeone 🏆

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