Pats O-line issues vs. Jets called for quick change

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Pats O-line issues vs. Jets called for quick change

FOXBORO - When the Light went off Sunday night, the Patriots realized they had a communication problem.

This was the scene: Late in the second quarter, Tom Brady got called for intentional grounding in the end zone when Sebastian Vollmer and Danny Woodhead both got bulldozed by Jets' defender Jamaal Westerman. That play was preceded by center Dan Connolly snapping the ball when Tom Brady wasn't looking, a move that resulted in a loose ball that Brady somehow pried away from a Jets defensive lineman.

On the Patriots sideline, offensive tackle Matt Light got up from his seat with his fellow linemen and said in very clear tones that the offensive line was being hung out to dry by the length of time it was taking to establish all the presnap responsibilities.

At that point in the game, the Patriots were huddling and before each snap, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was being relayed Jets defensive substitutions from the booth upstairs while getting the right playcall established and relayed into Brady.

Brady then would call the play, get to the line, wait for the Jets' defense to declare, identify the middle linebacker to set the blocking schemes, get the changes - if necessary - to the wideouts and backs.

Bill Belichick, when asked about some of the false start penalties Logan Mankins has taken this season, alluded to the hardships the offensive line is under with the style it employs.

"As an offensive team we have too many penalties collectively," Belichick explained. "Some of those false start penalties, although they're certainly the responsibility of the player that false starts, they're also related to a certain degree to coaching, the overall cadence system, the quarterback-center rhythm, timing, calling, if you will. There's a few things involved there. When one guy moves and nobody else does, is he wrong? Yeah. But, the harder we make it, the more likely that is to occur.

"We have to be careful of the advantages to doing things a certain way ... maybe there's some disadvantages to doing them that way too and those are things we talk about and we work on," Belichick added.

Sunday night, after Light made his feelings known, the Patriots went hurry-up. Instead of processing the Jets' defensive alignments and personnel first and then probing for pre-snap voids - essentially letting the Jets defense dictate to them - the Patriots made the Jets react to them by not allowing them to sub and snapping the ball before New York could process what was coming.

It's a good job by Belichick and the offensive staff to realize they were asking a lot from their offensive line Sunday night. Too much, apparently.

"The more things that are involved, the more multiples there are, the more chance that something will go wrong," said Belichick. "If we just go up there and snap the ball on '1', to me, if we have a mistake on that it's a total lack of concentration.

"(But) if you're up there and reading and you have a lot of communication and calls . . . we do that," he acknowledged. "And it helps us in a lot of ways and it certainly enables us to handle some pressure and to make some play calls that we've had tremendous production on.

"I don't want to change that, but at the same time, one of the consequences of that is we've had more false start penalties, things like that. Twelve men in the huddle," Belichick pointed out. "We've gotta eliminate those. That's our responsibility. That's not great defense, that's us not being able to operate cleanly. It starts with the coaches and the system we run and then to the players."

And the Patriots were smart enough Sunday night to tweak the system. Success followed.

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

It's been well-established that Bill Belichick has a strong affinity for the sport of lacrosse. That the NCAA Division I men's and women's lacrosse Final Fours are taking place at Gillette Stadium this weekend means that the Patriots head coach has an opportunity to be around the highest level of college competition the sport has to offer. 

And he's taking full advantage. 

Not only did he meet with and speak to the Boston College women's team on Thursday, he's also met with the Ohio State men's team, and he took a few minutes to speak to all eight finalists at the Division I lacrosse banquet on Thursday night before the weekend of play got underway.

"I know that for us, fortunately, we've been to a lot of these games, and we've come out on the good side on some and not on the good side on others," Belichick said. "But just the experience, the competition of playing at this level and playing against this type of competition for what's at stake this weekend, it's just an awesome experience for you and your families."

Belichick explained that he had seen all eight teams play at one point or another this year, and he sounded like a fan of them all as he closed his remarks.

"It's really exciting to watch," he said. "You guys play with a lot of class, a lot of heart, a lot of toughness, and that's what I admire. Hopefully, we can play like that this coming year."