Belichick: Thursday's score was deceiving

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Belichick: Thursday's score was deceiving

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
After getting a chance to evaluate the films the Patriots' 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers onThursday night, Bill Belichick came to what might seem, to some, a surprising conclusion.

The first half, in which the Pats built a 28-0 lead, wasn't as good as it looked, said Belichick. And the second half, in which they were outscored 14-3, wasn't as bad as it seemed.

I think the scores a little bit deceiving," Belichick said in a conference call Friday. "I think in thefirst half we still made a lot of mistakes. Theres a lot of things we needto do better.

"And in the second half, we did a lot of good things out there,but a lot of those were negated by a few bad things.

They did some good things in the first half, too.

I thought, overall last night, that we obviously got off toa good start, which was great, he said.We got some great field position, defensively, and our offense was able tocapitalize on that and put some points on the board, get some balls in the endzone, played good in the red area."

A few of those second-half bad things were an interception thrown by quarterback Ryan Mallett, which was returned for a touchdown, and another throw that should have been picked offand taken to the house but was dropped.

Belichick said that while nobodys rooting for thoseinterceptions, mistakes like that are just part of the everyday evaluation oftraining camp . . . both by the coaches, and the players themselves.

Of course you dont want to see negative plays happen, buteventually theyre going to happen in this league, said Belichick. And so,whether it was Tom Brady getting sacked in the two-minute drive, or Ryan throwing aninterception, or Ryan throwing an interception that the corner dropped thatwould have been brought back for a touchdown, you do want to see how playersrespond to those plays.

Belichick also got to see how rookie offensive linemanNate Solder performed in his second preseason game.

I think Nates had a couple good weeks, said Belichick.Im sure he learned a lot of things last night. He did some good things.

Hes making progress. Hes working hard. I think hescompetitive in every phase of the game, the running game, pass protection,playing against athletic guys, playing against power, bigger guys. I think hescompeting in all those levels. Just being a little more experience,consistency, working together with his teammates.

Belichick said defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who's only practices once with the team, is day-to-day. When asked if Haynesworth was working out at Gillette Stadium, Belichick responded, All the players are here.

The Pats also placed rookie free agent linebacker Christian Cox on injured reserve because of a neck injury. Cox, 25, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on July 27 out of Utah.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Brady comes off the bench to throw TD in his preseason debut

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Brady comes off the bench to throw TD in his preseason debut

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There will be a moment in the days between September 3 and October 3 when Tom Brady stops what he’s doing, sets his jaw and mutters, “*$%^## Derby…”

During his first – and perhaps only action of the 2016 preseason – Brady had some very good plays, was let down by a few drops (like Derby’s on a third-down toss) and had a near pick on a downfield throw to Martellus Bennett.

Brady was in for four possessions, entering the game after Jimmy Garoppolo ran the team on the Patriots first three series.

Brady missed the first preseason game then plunged trainer’s scissors into his thumb just prior to the second preseason game and missed that one as well.

With a fair amount of buildup to this game, Brady’s first pass was a deep in-cut to Aaron Dobson that went for 37 yards after Dobson stepped out of a tackle.

That was followed by a crossing pattern drop by Julian Edelman and a high throw to the end zone on third-and-5 that doinked off the left hand of tight end Bennett under the goalpost. Seemed like a mistimed jump on the high throw over the hands of a couple defenders.

On Brady’s next series, a pair of Tyler Gaffney runs gained 20 before Brady dropped a fade in to the hands of Chris Hogan for a 32-yard touchdown. It couldn’t have been placed any better if Brady had been allowed to walk to Hogan and hand it to him.

Brady’s conversion pass to Dobson was incomplete.

The Patriots got another chunk play from LeGarrette Blount to start their next drive and Brady then hit Edelman for 6. But his throw to the left sideline on third-and-4 was bungled by Derby, ending the drive.

Brady’s final series was bleak. His first throw was batted down by Kawann Short. His second one, a deep throw across the field to Bennett after Brady stepped up in the pocket, should have been picked by Kurt Coleman. Brady was sacked on third down.

Garoppolo came in for the final two series of the first half and started the third quarter.

Brady spent much of the first quarter apart from the offense when it was on the sidelines, standing with arms folded. When the offense was on the field, Brady mostly sat by himself on the bench. There wasn’t any significant interaction between he and Garoppolo, who huddled with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after his series’ ended. Brady did the same after he came off the field with Garoppolo hovering nearby.

Brady finished 3-for-9 for 76 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Patriots were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half. 

First half Patriots observations: Brady and Long up, Garoppolo and Solder down

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First half Patriots observations: Brady and Long up, Garoppolo and Solder down

The Patriots had their share of good and bad in the first half of their preseason game with the Panthers on Friday. Here's who we saw as some of the team's top performers, as well as some of the players who may have to make some corrections in the second half. 

* Tom Brady was only 3-for-9 in his four series, but he completed his passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown pass to Chris Hogan might have been the best throw of the preseason for any Patriots quarterback as he hit Hogan in stride, over the shoulder, for a 33-yard gain. Brady was close to having a second touchdown pass, but it glanced off the out-stretched hands tight end Martellus Bennett in the back of the end zone. Brady was nearly picked on his final drive, again trying to hit Bennett. He was sacked on his final play of the half.

* Jimmy Garoppolo had a difficult time early in this one. He was 5-for-9 for 37 yards, and he picked up an intentional grounding penalty. Garoppolo also was strip-sacked by Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, but James White recovered. Garoppolo was nearly picked by Luke Kuechly early in the first quarter when there was an apparent miscommunication between Garoppolo and Julian Edelman. 

* Chris Long had a standout half with two pressures, a pass-breakup that led to a Devin McCourty pick, and he drew a hold. The veteran defensive end has shown a good motor and a knack for getting to the quarterback in each of New England's first three preseason games. 

* Logan Ryan also had a strong first half in his preseason debut. His first five targets in coverage resulted in no completions, an offensive pass interference penalty and an interception. His former college teammate Duron Harmon also had a pick of Panthers backup Derek Anderson.

* Nate Solder allowed the pressure that eventually led to the sack of Brady by Kony Ealy. He also was flagged for a false start. Being that it's the third preseason game -- when starters typically go deep into the game -- he'll likely have a chance to redeem himself in the second half.