Brady pick ends record-setting streak of passes without an interception

Brady pick ends record-setting streak of passes without an interception

FOXBORO -- It wasn't so much the decision that bothered Tom Brady. It was the execution. 

With 9:17 left in the second quarter of Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks, Brady took a shotgun snap and surveyed the field for about four seconds before he was flushed from the pocket by Seattle defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin. Brady scrambled to his right before working his way back to the middle of the field and heaving a pass down the left sideline for rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell. 

The attempt for Mitchell was underthrown, and it landed into the arms of Seahawks corner SeShawn Shead.

With that, the Patriots' streak was over. Earlier in the game, on the opening drive, Brady had helped the team set the NFL's record for pass attempts without a pick to start a season: 259. All three Patriots quarterbacks -- Brady (134 attempts), Jimmy Garoppolo (60) and Jacoby Brissett (55) -- contributed to the streak.

"We were behind them, I just didn’t get a great throw on it," Brady said after the game. "I was kind of running back to left. We made some plays on scramble plays this year. I just didn’t get a great throw on that. I wish I would have because we would have had a chance."

Brady added to those sentiments on Monday morning during his weekly interview with WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show. 

"We've had a lot of really good plays this year where we've bought time and scrambled," Brady said. "We had one in the Buffalo game deep to [Julian Edelman], he got behind the defense. Malcolm was back there [against the Seahawks], and I just didn't get a great throw on it. 

"It just didn't kind of come out of my hand the right way, and didn't get kind of all the momentum into the ball and came up, I don't know, five yards 10 yards short of where I was intending to throw it. The DB had his eyes on the ball, and Malcolm was trying to get behind him and trying to react late. That's one of those, it's partly decision-making and partly . . . If I throw it the way that I want to throw it, it's not a pick. It's just both of those things happened. It just resulted in a turnover."

The Patriots turned the ball over twice, and as coach Bill Belichick explained after the game, they were probably lucky there were only two. Cyrus Jones fumbled a return that was scooped up by Nate Ebner, and Brady recovered his fumbled snap at the goal line on New England's penultimate offensive play. 

"It’s something we need to do a better job of," Belichick said. "We’re turning it over too much, and we’re not turning it over enough on defense and special teams. It’s not the way we want to be so we’re at minus-two tonight. That’s not really a good formula. Honestly we’re lucky it wasn’t worse than that to tell you the truth."

He added: "Our ball security is not what it needs to be. We’ve addressed it. We obviously have to keep addressing it more and find a way to improve it. We can’t keep turning the ball over."

Brady said that protecting the football is a priority every week, but particularly against the Seahawks they needed to do a better job.

"We talked about it all week," Brady told WEEI. "It's a turnover-driven defense. They do a good job of . . . They got a lot of guys around the ball, and they hustle and they're big strong guys, and I think they do a good job of pursuing. 

"On Jules, he caught it, and he was dealing with a defender and the second guy came in and saw the ball and just knocked it out. They do a good job with that. They teach it well. I think Coach [Pete] Carroll's motto is, 'It's all about the ball.' It is. He's right . . . They didn't turn it over at all, and we had two of them. Those are usually always different.

"There's no stat that correlates more to winning and losing games than the turnover margin. When we win it, we're pretty unbeatable. When we don't turn the ball over we're like 96 percent win. We gotta do a better job. People who have the ball take care of it, because that's what it's all about."

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."