Why are Patriots wideouts being kept quiet?

Why are Patriots wideouts being kept quiet?
November 22, 2011, 6:26 pm
Share This Post

To see Tom Brady go 15-for-27 passing isn't too shabby -- for a half.

But for TB12 to do so for an entire game, even if it was in a convincing 34-3 home win over Kansas City, it gets the attention of many. Brady included.

In his weekly interview with WEEI, Brady was asked about the Patriots' passing game; specifically, how the team's outside receivers only had four catches total.

"Well, we only had 15 receptions (as a team)," Brady said. "We weren't 27-of-40. We were 15-of-27."

The knee-jerk reaction to those numbers is that the outside receivers simply weren't open.

"It's not that they're not open, I'll tell you that," Brady said. "There's definitely times where I've got to get them the ball. And they're running good routes, it's against a tough coverage, and sometimes it's double coverage and they're doing a good job of getting open."

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien said there's a lot more to the outside receivers not getting the ball as much.

"It all works together," O'Brien said. "It's the protection; it's the route, the coverage that we see. It's not just the outside receivers aren't open . . . it's a combination of, maybe something flashed in front of his (Brady's) eyes that he liked better that didn't take him through the rest of the read. It's a combination of a lot of factors that ironed themselves out as the game went on."

Indeed, New England's tight ends seemed to be benefiting more than anyone else by the way Kansas City's defense played the Pat's wideouts.

Rob Gronkowski continues to play at a Pro Bowl level this season, grabbing four catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. New England's other tight end, Aaron Hernandez, had four grabs for 44 yards.

Still, you're talking about a New England team that understands there is room to grow in all phases of their play, regardless of if they win or not.

And getting the ball in the hands of the team's outside receivers like Deion Branch, is indeed an area the Patriots recognize can be better -- a lot better -- than it is now.

"Obviously it's something that we're going to work on and continue to work on," O'Brien said.