Brady on huddling vs. hurry-up

587694.jpg

Brady on huddling vs. hurry-up

FOXBORO -- Sunday night provided a case study in the "Huddle Up vs. Hurry Up" debate.

For most of the first half in New York, the Patriots took their time and didn't put pressure on the Jets defense to deal with their fast break, so to speak.

But after falling behind 9-6 late in the first half, the Patriots took over on their own end and went no-huddle. A couple hours later, the Jets defenders were just getting their breath back and sucking on a 37-16 loss.

Tom Brady spoke Wednesday about trying to go up-tempo without being haphazard. And he cited examples where, unlike the Jets game, it didn't work.

"Wetried to run it against Dallas and we didn't score a lot of points and we tried to run it in Pittsburgh and didn't score a lot of points," pointed out Brady. "To me it's more about the execution than the tempo of the game. ... Sometimes when you try no huddle and it doesn't work we say, 'We're not gonna do that anymore' and then you guys wonder why we didn't go no-huddle."

The communication necessary to run any offense is critical. And because the Patriots are generally good at communication, you'll see in most every game the points when Brady lets the play-clock dwindle so he can get everything set after the defense declares. That would be the huddle-up.

"(At the line) you're trying to get everybody on the same page," Brady said. "If I'm doing one thing and the offensive line is thinking another or the running back is thinking something different from the two of us then that's where it gets challenging. I really think that at times we've done a good job of it this year, especially on the road where things are more difficult."

Sunday wasn't one of those nights. Which is why the Patriots finallyopted to speed things up.

The quick change, said Brady, can leave a defense up the creek.

"(If the defense says), 'Let's disguise, let's disguise' then I go up and say 'Blue go!' and the ball's snapped and there's a guy totally out of position, (that's bad for the defense)," Brady noted. "There's a fine line between what you're doing. If we feel that it's gonna be a big disguise game then there's gonna be a lot of quick counts (to catch the defense in its dummy formations). Ultimately, if they're showing you what they're doing then you take your time. That's just the cat and mouse all day long with good defenses and good secondaries. You can have one guy that's trying to disguise but then if nobody else is, then that makes no sense.

Ultimately it's a coordinated effort by a defense to try and disguise. You can try to disguise all you want but if the offense is making the plays, the coach is going to say, 'You just have to get up and cover your guy.'"

And the tough thing for any defense -- and this week's opposing defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel -- is knowing that the Patriots can do it either way.

So too is knowing when to play games with the defense.

Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?

patriots_belichick_052916.jpg

Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?

Malcolm Butler was one of many not spotted during OTAs on Thursday when the media got a looksee at one of the practices.

Butler wasn’t the only one. But he did stand out as a missing player who hadn’t (to my knowledge) had a surgery but did have a contract that needs addressing. Another one? Rob Gronkowski. If we really want to extend it out, throw in Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan.

This is the point where it’s important to point out that these workouts are voluntary – VAW-LUN-TERR-EEEE! Players don’t have to be there. Additionally, I’m not even sure Butler or Gronkowski (or Ryan and Harmon) weren’t at the facility. All I know is they weren’t on the field. And, per usual, nobody’s tipping his hand as to why.

But we do have this, relative to Butler. ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote Sunday that he “wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to his contract status.” Reiss said that Butler “told teammates and friends he plans to push for an adjustment to his contract before the 2016 season, and staying off the field in voluntary workouts would be a decision that limits injury risk and also could be viewed as a statement to the organization that he's unhappy with the status quo and/or the movement/specifics of contract talks.”

In the same vein, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gronkowski opted out as well for the same reason, especially since he threw out a tweet that signaled dissatisfaction with his pact in March.

But in terms of a statement, not going to OTAs is more of a throat-clearing than a noisy proclamation.

Not to minimize the move if Butler, Gronkowski or anybody else is actually staying away because of business. The Patriots usually enjoy almost perfect OTA attendance. Also, there hasn’t been much contract strife around here for the past five seasons.

Money matters were an annual issue for the Patriots from about 2003 through 2010. Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, Ty Warren, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, Adam Vinatieri, Mike Vrabel and – quietly – Tom Brady all had their contract dances back then. But the only one that got hairy in the recent past was Wes Welker.

It’s still too soon to know if any of these will get contentious. When will we know? When either a player or his agent spouts off. Or, when someone’s a no-show at mandatory minicamp beginning June 7.

That would amount to a shot across the bow. Of all the players likely to take that shot, Butler seems a reasonable bet. His base pay this season is $600K after a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015 that saw him check the opposition’s best wideout on a weekly basis. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year. He deserves longer-term security than he currently has. Gronkowski has a lot less to kick about. He may make less than lesser players, but he also was the league’s highest paid tight end when he was missing scads of games due to injury.

After Butler, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower would figure to have the strongest cases to want new deals and want them snappy. Ryan and Harmon would be right behind those two. Then Jabaal Sheard.

Sheard, Hightower and Collins were all on the field Thursday. 

Can the Patriots get all these guys reupped? Will they even try? How do they have them prioritized? If the guy who howls loudest gets to the front of the line, the time to make some noise is close.

But we have yet to hear any of these players loud and clear.