The Patriots earned their first shutout since 2009 when they beat the Dolphins yesterday, 28-0. Cause for celebration, right?
Well, not exactly. New England's defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said the team still had a lot of work to do despite its solid outing on Sunday.
"I think absolutely youre always looking for improvement," Patricia said. "Obviously youre happy with the effort and excited for the players. Theyre the ones who did all the work on the field to achieve certain goals, but certainly when you go back and look at the film, theres a lot of things we need to do better, improve on and work on and thats really what well focus on, obviously more so than just the scoreboard there."
The Dolphins helped the Patriots with a fumble near the goal line in the third quarter. And Dolphins receiver Armon Binn dropped what looked like it might've been a touchdown in the second quarter.
But, as Patricia pointed out, any time you can shut out an NFL team, it's a performance to be proud of. Certainly New England's seven sacks were a sign of the defense's continuous effort, even when it appeared the game was out of reach for Miami.
"You know, it was a good effort by everybody out there," he said. "I think guys really tried hard and did things we asked them to do and were pleased with that, but there are certainly some areas of improvement that you can really take a look at and say, 'We really have to do some things better here because they just werent good enough.' "
LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England.
Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.
"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.
"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."
Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.
Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.
Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.
Magic Johnson was named the Los Angeles Lakers' president of basketball operations after longtime Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball ops Jim Buss were fired, the team announced.
"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights [late owner] Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss' daughter, Jim Buss' brother and Lakers president and co-owner, said in a statement. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”
Johnson, the Hall of Famer guard who led L.A. to five NBA titles, said in the same statement: “It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”
Johnson, part of a group that owns MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers, returned to the organization as an adviser earlier this month. Johnson coached the Lakers briefly in the 1993-94 season, going 5-11.
Johnson's new job with the Lakers won't change his role with the Dodgers, according to the L.A. Times.
The current Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA at 19-39 after finishing with the second-worst mark in the league (17-65) last season. Kupchak was named an assistant GM under Jerry West in 1986 and in 2000 took over for West as GM.