Week-to-week game plan key for Patriots offense

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Week-to-week game plan key for Patriots offense

If there's one thing we know about the Patriots' offense, it's that Tom Brady has several weapons on any given play.

But deciding which weapons to use on Sunday is a strategy that changes every week, every play.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien talked about utilizing their offensive weapons in a conference call on Monday following their 41-23 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The topic came up because of Aaron Hernandez' big nine-catch, 129-yard game, while Rob Gronkowski finished with only four catches. Lately, those numbers had been the other way around.

Hernandez was Tom Brady's go-to target against the Broncos, but that was just something that developed as the game went on.

"I think it really comes back to the execution of our offense, as far as reading the defense and getting the ball to the right people," said Belichick.

"As much as you'd like to think that only one guy's going to get the ball, that's just not the way it works . . . If BenJarvus is open, then hopefully we'll throw it to BenJarvus. If Aaron is open, then hopefully we'll throw it to Aaron. If Chad Ochocinco's open, hopefully we'll throw it to Chad."

"They did a lot of different things to Gronkowski," said O'Brien. "They hit him at the line of scrimmage, or they put two guys on him, or whatever it was. So, whenever that happens, that means that, there's only 11 players on the field. So you can't double everybody. And Aaron benefited from that, and the backs benefited from it. And that's a good thing. So we'll just have to keep seeing how teams are playing us, and get ready game-to-game, week-to-week."

O'Brien said his receivers are taught to run "multi-purpose routes" and are -- as cliche as it sounds -- a "game plan offense."

"If they take this part of the route away, then this other part of the route should be pretty good," said O'Brien. "And that's how we've coached the passing game since I've been here. Tom does a good job of recognizing coverage, both pre-snap and post-snap, and tries to throw it to the open guy, which is always the goal here. Just get it to the open guy, the guy that's got the best chance to make yards with the ball.

"We look at the defense that we're playing that week, and we say, 'OK, how can we put our players in position to do the things that they do best, every week?' And it's a very challenging deal, not only for the coaches, but for the players."

Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

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Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

Tom Brady may be biased, but he believes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the best to ever walk a sideline. 

That's what Brady told Westwood One's Jim Gray in an interview before the radio broadcast of Monday night's game between the Falcons and Saints. After Belichick helped cook up a game plan for the Patriots to beat the Texans on short rest with rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett behind center, Brady may not have many people argue with him. 

"I definitely think so," Brady answered when he was asked if Belichick was "the best coach to have ever done this."

"I think whatever hand he's been dealt, he finds a way to win. That's the mark of a great coach. Sitting in those meetings for the last 16 years and watching him prepare the team, there's no [other] coach I'd ever want to play for. He's just remarkable in every aspect. It's a privilege to play for him. I look forward to going back out there and, you know, getting yelled at by him. He's tough on the players and he expects the very best out of each of us every day. That ends up getting the best out of players. He's so consistent with his approach, and it's paid of for our team for a long time."

Brady said it's that consistency that stands out to him and separates Belichick from any of his peers.

"I think his consistency is just what's remarkable," Brady explained. "It's so much of what you don't see on these Sunday afternoons. But it's the way the offseason program is run in April. It's his urgency and enthusiasm at that time of year when no one's watching. His OTA schedule and his emphasis over the course of those practices in May and June when no one's really watching. There's no scoreboard to compete against. But we always feel like we're in competing against the other teams, even when there is no scoreboard.

"You go to training camp, and you can't waste days in training camp because you don't get those days back. Those days in training camp are going to prepare you for what's going to happen in Septmeber. There's urgency throughout the entire offseason to get us to the month of September, and then once September comes it's all about winning games and making improvements towards October.

"Then once you make improvements toward October, you can be in a really good position to really capitalize come November. That's when the playoff races start to shape up and you really see where you're at and there's a lot of scouting done at that point. That's whenn you really see the team develop and how the depth of the team really takes place. Coach Belichick is always understanding where the roster needs to be at and which positions we may need a little more depth at based on injuries over the course of the season.

"Then comes December when it's the last stretch of the season when you need to be at your best. He prepares us all the way throughout the season. His consistency has been remarkable. It's been fun to see from this point obvously for the last four weeks, but I've experienced that every day. That part of it doesn't really surprise me, but to see the way that my teammates have come out and played and performed under pressure on a Sunday night game, and the first home game, and a Thursday national TV game, it's just been so much fun to watch."

Rex and the Bills can’t afford to go belly-up vs. Patriots

Rex and the Bills can’t afford to go belly-up vs. Patriots

An unexpected – and convincing – win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday put some bounce back into the step of Rex Ryan.

Now, instead of gazing at his cavernous navel, wallowing in an 0-3 start and ticking off the reasons it isn’t really his fault, he’s buoyant.

After opening his press conference by mocking Bill Belichick’s deadpan approach to injuries, Ryan was asked what a win over the Patriots would do.

“It would mean a lot to our football team,” he said. “I think when you look at it, they’ve been the standard of this league. Not just in our conference or division or whatever. They’ve been the standard of the league. So you want to put yourself up against the best. I think everybody saw what happened when everybody’s: “No Tom Brady, this team is going to be a disaster.” Well they’re 3-0 last time I checked and beat some pretty good football teams. So, yeah, it’ll mean a lot. We need a win in the worst way. But, as far as the Patriots, I think, my admiration is really for Belichick more than anything. As a coach, that’s the guy, that’s the best. He’ll go down as probably the best in the history of the game. So, I like poking fun at him and all that stuff but there’s no coach I respect more than him.”

We are now in Year Seven of having Rex as an AFC East foil for Belichick. Given the start in Buffalo and the way things ended last year, we may not see a Year Eight. So the candor – even if it’s nonsense – will be missed when it’s gone.

With Tom Brady down for one more week, Jimmy Garoppolo likely being a close call with his AC joint separation and Jacoby Brissett having injured his thumb, there is uncertainty for Ryan to deal with. And he knows it will drag.

“I expect them immediately to tell us,” Ryan responded when asked when he thought he’d find out who the Bills would be defending. "As soon as they tell us, we’ll be like, 'yeah, ok.' Nobody would believe it anyway, Nah, I don’t know. We’re not going to find out until kickoff…

“We’ll we’ll be prepared for them,” he added. “We’re looking at all their talents and all that. The Patriots are a little different. They may take an entire game plan, and throw that away and look at you differently then they look at other teams. So, I’m watching them play Miami, and they’re chipping their defensive ends. Will they do that to us? I don’t know. Looks like to us, they do a lot of empty. So, we’ll see how they decide to play us, we’ll be ready for everything.”

Ryan gave due credit to the Patriots for their 3-0 start, saying, “Brady’s probably the best player in the league. So, it’s hard to replace guys like that. But, they are a team. They’ve always been built as a team anyway. But it has been impressive. …They have an excellent football team. They do a great job, guys, they know their roles. They have a lot of veteran players that have been in systems for a long time. You take Julian Edelman, he replaces a [Wes] Welker. They just keep rolling on. So they draft and they get players to fit their system and they do a phenomenal job of it.”

Sunday's win over Arizona probably afforded Ryan only a little bit of time. If the Bills go belly-up in Foxboro against a third-string rookie, he'll be back on the clock.