Wilfork says offense got 'left out to dry'

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Wilfork says offense got 'left out to dry'

BALTIMORE, MD -- There's already much ado about the officiating in New England's Sunday night loss. But a poor job done by replacement refs -- on both sides of the ball -- is not the reason the Patriots lost 31-30 in Baltimore.
"We really couldn't get off the field," Vince Wilfork said after the game. "Offense played their tails off and we just left them out to dry. We can't do that."
No kidding.
The Patriots entered their Week 3 matchup with the No. 2 ranked defense in the league. Really. Where the Ravens and New England met on offense -- 522 net passing yards to 525; 74 passes attempted to 77; five sacks, one interception, and three touchdowns each -- it was on defense they split.
With the advantage to New England.
The Patriots had surrendered 529 yards through two games compared to 808 by Baltimore's defense. All the more reason why Sunday's numbers are startling: The Ravens had 503 total net yards of offense.
Yes, there were a couple of questionable defensive holding calls in the fourth quarter. But both were on second downs and cost just 5-yards apiece. Throw in any other bad flag you want and it still won't negate the fact that just five of Baltimore's 28 first downs were won by penalty.
"Can't too much dwell on flags and stuff; we have to play better, plain and simple," said Wilfork. "We have to play better. We have to help our offense and we didn't do that. Going forward I think we have to play together as a team. But the offense played their tails off. They've gotten better so we have to have to come out next week and help them get a win."
New England's offensive effort was valiant: 396 total yards and 33 first downs of its own; three touchdowns on two rushing, one passing; 83-percent red zone efficiency (5-for-6); 28-for-41 passing and a 101.2 quarterback rating from Tom Brady.
All for naught. The defense regressed; the Patriots lost.
"We have to take it and move on. We've got to get better from this. We will get better," Wilfork promised. "It's tough because we thought I mean, we had a pretty good idea how we wanted to play and it didn't work out for us."
The team will look to bounce back next weekend in Buffalo.
Question is, which defense will show up? The run-stuffing, turnover-causing, youth-infused 'D' from Weeks 1 and 2? Or last year's yardage-hemorrhaging squad with just a minor facelift?
It's trial by fire, now.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."