Patriots

Postcard From Camp, Day 10: Brady puts on a show

Postcard From Camp, Day 10: Brady puts on a show

FOXBORO -- The Patriots welcomed the Jags to Gillette Stadium on Monday for the first of two joint practices before their preseason opener on Thursday. It was a sloppy session at times, with drops and penalties on both sides peppered throughout. There were, however, some competitive matchups to watch and Tom Brady put on a show late in the session.

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NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS
* Harvey Langi, Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentime, Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, David Harris, Shea McClellin were the first group out on defense to start. Langi was in a three-point stance as a five-technique.

* Cam Fleming was in at left tackle for Nate Solder and had difficulty with Yannick Ngakoue for much of the afternoon.

* Tom Brady submitted the best plays of the day, and they came on back-to-back snaps. First he completed a bomb to Brandin Cooks deep down the middle of the field when Cooks got behind both AJ Bouye and Tashaun Gipson. Brady then hit Chris Hogan with a perfectly-placed pass down the sideline with Tyler Patmon in close coverage.

* Kickoff team 1: 32, 38, 58, 31, 43, 37, 55, 92, 36, 23

* Kickoff team 2: 24, 41, 47 , 26, 53, 48, 44, 52, 35, 25

* 42, 47o, 48o, 13 all got some time as the third kickoff team.

* Dion Lewis, Cyrus Jones and Will Likely all got work in as kick returners. Rex Burkhead and James White served in the Matthew Slater role.

* Laps for Allen and Fleming early. Langi had a lap in 11-on-11 as did Devin Lucien.

Here's what we saw

ONE-ON-ONE NOTES

PATRIOTS OFFENSE v. JAGS
* Hogan bobbled and dropped a pass with Bouye in coverage.
* Edelman locked up by Patmon.
* Foster a one-handed catch on his back with Howard in coverage.
* Hollister dropped a tough one off his hands.
* Hogan worked his leverage on Myrick for short completion.
* Edelman broke Patmon on a short cross. Then broke him again cutting back.
* Brady nearly picked by Bouye when he and Cooks had a missed back shoulder.
* Carr ran a nice route to get open on Myrick.
* Lucien forced a hold from Robinson and beat him deep for a score on a throw from Brissett.
* Hollister beat Colvin for a good grab.
* Edelman beat up by Dixon during his route. Would've been pass interference.

PATRIOTS DEFENSE v. JAGS
* Butler beaten by Lee on a go route.
* Gilmore physical with Robinson. Borderline flags, though.
* McCourty jumped a Lewis route and dropped the pick.
* Chung broke up a pass intended for Sterling

7-ON-7
* Brady incomplete for Gronk. Ball bounced off of Gronk's shoulder pads.
* Brady incomplete for Cooks with Patmon in coverage.
* Brady complete to Gronkowski with Jack (44) in coverage.
* Brady tucks and runs. Good coverage by Jags.
* Brady complete to Hogan with Patmon in coverage.
* Brady complete to White with 27 in coverage.

* Garoppolo complete to Lewis over the middle.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Lucien. Pass was dropped.
* Garoppolo complete to Cotton.

* Brady complete to Cooks.
* Brady complete to Cooks.
* Brady incomplete for Burkhead in the back of the end zone. Ball was caught but juggled out of bounds.
* Brady complete to Edelman for the score.

* Garoppolo complete to Hollister in the back of the end zone for the score.
* Garoppolo complete to White for the score.

11-ON-11

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Ivory run.
* Ivory run.
* Bortles complete to Robinson.
* Bortles scramble.
* Henne in. Roberts runs over Yeldon.
* Henne complete to Bohanon.
* Grant run.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Gronkowski dropped.  
* Brady incomplete to Cooks. Cooks misjudged and dropped it.
* Brady incomplete to Edelman.
* Lewis run.
* Garoppolo in. Complete to Bolden.
* Bolden run.
* Garoppolo complete on screen to White.

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Bortles complete to Robinson. Wise in on the pressure.
* Bortles incomplete for Lee. Lee dropped it.
* Bortles incomplete to Hurns. Rowe in coverage.
* Bortles complete to Yeldon.
* Bortles complete to Lee.
* Bortles incomplete to Hurns. J. Jones there in coverage to break it up. Hurns is hurt.
* Henne in. Henne incomplete deep down the sideline. Richards there in coverage. Langi pressure. Good game with Grissom.
* Henne complete to Sterling with Thompson in coverage. Valentine pressure.  

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Brady complete to Edelman.
* Brady complete to Edelman but would've been sacked off the left edge by Church.
* Brady incomplete. Would've been sacked off the left edge by Yannick Ngakoue.
* Brady complete to Cooks. Ngakoue got in on Brady again. Went low.
* Brady complete to White on screen.
* Garoppolo in. Complete to Lucien.
* Garoppolo incomplete to White. White dropped it.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Washington. Washington dropped it.

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Bortles complete to Fournette.
* Fournette run.
* Bortles complete to Green with J. Jones in coverage.
* Ivory run.
* Bortles incomplete for Bohanan. Langi in coverage.
* Bortles incomplete for Lee. Coleman PBU.
* Henne in. Grant run. Roberts steps up to stop it.
* Henne complete to Cole for the score. Harris closest in coverage.
* Grant run. Flowers there to stop it.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Brady complete to Hogan.
* Brady complete to Bolden on a screen. Nice block by Mason.
* Brady complete to White.
* Garoppolo in. Lewis run.
* Lewis run.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Allen. Sailed out of the back of the end zone.
* Brady in. Burkhead run.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman out of the back of the end zone.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. Ngakoue pressure off the left end.

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Bortles complete to Robinson. Miscommunication between Butler, Jones.
* Bortles complete to Lee with Butler in coverage.
* Bortles complete to Lewis.
* Bortles picked by Butler who undercut Robinson's route.
* Bortles complete to Lee.
* Bortles complete to Green.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Brady incomplete to White. Pass was dropped.
* Brady complete to White. Mason had some trouble with Malik Jackson.
* Brady complete to Cooks deep down the field. Cooks got behind Bouye and Gipson.
* Brady complete deep down the field to Hogan with Patmon in tight coverage.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. Edelman called for offensive pass interference.
* Brady complete to White.

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Henne complete to Fournette.
* Henne complete to Wynn.
* Henne incomplete to Cole. Kenny Moore PBU.
* Henne incomplete to Koyack. Thompson PBU.
* Henne incomplete. Grissom forces a hold.
* Henne incomplete for Cole.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Brady picked by Doran Grant. Free play because of offsides call. No pick.
* Brady complete to White.
* Brady complete to Edelman.
* Brady complete to Edelman.
* Brady incomplete to Edelman. Edelman dropped it.
* Brady complete to Cooks in the back of the end zone. Ridiculous one-handed catch.
* Cannon false start.
* Brady complete to Cooks
* Brady incomplete for Allen. Myrick PBU.
* Brady complete to Cooks for another score. Myrick right there in coverage.

JAGUARS OFFENSE
* Bortles fumbled snap.
* Hamilton stuffs Fournette at the goal line. Adam Butler also involved as well as Malcom Brown.
* Bortles complete to Lewis with Van Noy in coverage.
* Fornette stuffed at the goal line. Guy, Wise, Hamilton, Butler clogging thugs up.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* Bolden gets in at the goal line.
* Bolden stuffed.
* Burkhead stuffed.
* Burkhead hit at the four by Howard and stumbling, but he kept his balance to get in.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE
* False start Lucien.
* Foster run.
* Brissett incomplete to Washington.
* Brissett incomplete to Lucien. Lucien dropped it.
* Daniels run.
* Brissett tuck and run. Good coverage.
* Brissett picked by Jean-Baptiste.
* Brissett incomplete to wide open Hollister down the sideline.
* Brissett incomplete to Foster.
* Brissett complete to Hollister.
* Daniels run.
* Brissett complete to Maye.

Hard to find a Patriots equal in soft AFC

Hard to find a Patriots equal in soft AFC

John Elway created a stir this week when he said his Broncos, after a 3-1 start, had “gotten a little bit soft." Elway, the Broncos GM, said that after five straight Denver losses – the last two by the combined score of 92-39

Denver’s head coach Vance Joseph said Elway’s remark bothered him. He talked to his players about it. On Sunday, the Broncos went out and did something about it. They lost by just three at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Yay.

They’re pretty much all soft in the AFC this year. Check out the AFC West. There’s Denver. And the Raiders – who the Patriots handled with disturbing ease on Sunday, 33-8. The 5-4 Kansas City Chiefs, who lost on the road to the one-win Giants after starting the season 5-0.

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The AFC East is soft. Miami was 4-2. It’s lost four straight including a 40-0 loss to Baltimore. The Jets were 3-2, they’re now 4-6 (which is a minor miracle given how ragged their roster is). The Bills were 5-2, now they’re 5-5 having lost by a combined 101-34 the past two weeks as head coach Sean McDermott willingly stuck a butter knife in an electrical outlet and replaced Tyrod Taylor with a not-ready-for-preseason-Week-4 Nathan Peterman.

The AFC South is led by the Jaguars and Titans. Jacksonville – which can play some defense – isn’t as bad as the rest. The Jags have won four straight and play cutthroat defense, but they had their hands full with the 0-10 Browns on Sunday. During the week, running back Leonard Fournette complained about having to play in the cold in Cleveland. At least he showed up Sunday and ran for 111. The Titans are awful when they leave Tennessee, which was further proven last Thursday when they lost 40-17 at Pittsburgh. Since October began, they’ve been outscored 122-43 in four road games. Their one road win in that span was a 12-9 decision over Cleveland. 

The big, bad AFC North contingent led by the Steelers at 8-2? Talented. But led by a forever-whining, passive-aggressive quarterback who openly and annually mulls retirement and two “me first” skill guys in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Their greatest strength may be in executing elaborate post-touchdown skits. Vital.

Meanwhile, here are the boring-ass Patriots. Yeah, they have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and continuity in the program and coaching staff, but the gap between them and everyone else in the conference is that they don’t worry about the cold or the road or the five-act plays after they score.

They stayed a week in Colorado Springs to get ready for the altitude. Two Patriots – Stephon Gilmore and Danny Amendola – had to be treated for dehydration in the second half. After five PLAYS, Raiders rookie Obi Melifonwu was asking out of the game saying he couldn’t breathe.

The Raiders – a team that went 12-4 last year - haven’t improved a bit defensively all season. They are – under head coach Jack Del Rio – one of those “we do what we do” defenses the Patriots love to face because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Brady is now 8-1 against Del Rio-led teams/defenses and the numbers against Del Rio’s teams are absurd: 225 completions on 310 attempts for (73 percent) for 2,387 yards, 21 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

It just feels like the AFC is a collection of teams, with an overwhelming majority of them in turn-it-on, turn-it-off mode. Their coaches are just kind of casting about, constantly open to suggestion and willing to give anything a shot because, hell, they better try something to get hot or they’ll be passing out resumes at the Combine in four months.

The Patriots remaining schedule goes like this: Dolphins, Bills, Dolphins, Steelers, Bills, Jets. Shake me awake on December 17 when the Steelers game comes. And we have a mountain of data explaining how that one will go too.

I’m not weary of the team. It’s historic and fascinating, like watching a hooded Mozart compose and a helmeted Van Gogh paint every week. But the exercise of trying to conjure scenarios where the Patriots play November football with the exquisite ineptitude of their opponents is not easy.

They are doing this without Julian Edelman or Dont'a Hightower. They played Sunday without Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon and Matt Slater.

Offenses can’t score against them. Defenses can’t stop them. They create points on special teams. They manage the game, the clock and their opponents like simple arithmetic while every other team’s doing trigonometry. What was broken in September has been long fixed.

The time will come again when the Patriots appear just as inept, clueless and mired in mediocrity as every other AFC team appears right now. But it won’t be this year.

So embrace the softness? I guess?

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Wentz, Eagles roll over Cowboys 37-9 after losing kicker

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Wentz, Eagles roll over Cowboys 37-9 after losing kicker

ARLINGTON, Texas -- No kicker, no problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Carson Wentz threw for two touchdowns and three 2-point conversions after Philadelphia lost kicker Jake Elliott to a head injury, and the Eagles all but wrapped up the NFC East with a 37-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Eagles (9-1) outscored the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half while extending their winning streak to eight games, their longest since 2003-04 and tied with New Orleans for the best current run in the NFL.

Philadelphia leads the second-place and defending division champion Cowboys (5-5) by four games with six to play after handing Dallas its worst home loss at 8-year-old AT&T Stadium.

Dallas' Dak Prescott threw a career-high three interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in his second straight loss without star running back Ezekiel Elliott, serving a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence.

Jake Elliott's injury wasn't a factor for nearly a half because the NFL-leading Eagles couldn't get in scoring position. They failed to get a first down on five straight first-half drives, starting with one at the Dallas 15 when Elliott missed a 34-yard attempt and soon after left the field.

Trailing 9-7 at halftime, Wentz led the Eagles on scoring drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards, the middle one boosted by Jay Ajayi's 71-yard run against his hometown team in his second game since getting traded by Miami.

"The biggest thing was sticking with the game plan," said Wentz, who is up to 25 touchdown passes with just five interceptions. "The big boys up front kind of came out angry. We ran the ball the second half really effectively."

Ajayi had 91 yards on seven carries and LeGarrette Blount added 57 on 13 carries, including a 30-yarder leading to the last offensive touchdown.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson declared at halftime that he would go for every fourth down and try 2-point conversions after every touchdown.

It came into play right away when Corey Clement scored on an 11-yard run to open the second half and ran in a screen pass behind three blockers for the 2-pointer.

The first fourth-down try was Wentz's 17-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery for a 29-9 lead. That 2-point pass failed. Torrey Smith had the other TD catch, an 11-yarder.

After Derek Barnett hit Prescott's leg and arm as he was throwing, Nigel Bradham picked up the loose ball and ran it 37 yards for a touchdown. Wentz's 2-point pass to Trey Burton provided the final margin.

"We got some nice 2-point conversions," said Wentz, who was 14 of 27 for 168 yards. "Now we've got to go back to the drawing board with our 2-point plays."

The Cowboys appeared to have fixed the problems of missing injured left tackle Tyron Smith and 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee from a week earlier, when they allowed eight sacks of Prescott along with three Atlanta scoring drives following Lee's injury in a 27-7 loss to the Falcons.

But after protecting Prescott fairly well before halftime, Dallas allowed three sacks and 180 of Philadelphia's season-high 215 yards rushing in the second half. Lee's replacement at weakside linebacker, Anthony Hitchens, left with a groin injury after halftime.

Prescott was 18 of 31 for 145 yards for a career-worst 30.4 passer rating before backup Cooper Rush took mop-up duty.

"It's no excuses," said Prescott, who teamed with Elliott in a remarkable rookie season that is now a distant memory with already two more losses and three more interceptions than Prescott had a year ago. Elliott won't be back until the final two games of the regular season.

"We're not saying injuries or any of that's bothering us. We're not saying it's the reason we're not winning is because of those guys."

NO RUST THIS TIME

The Eagles had a focus on being better following the bye after losing nine of 11 last season after a 3-0 start going into the break. Now Philadelphia will take a shot at the best record in the NFL with history on its side when starting this strong. The Eagles have two NFL championships (1949, 1960) and two trips to the Super Bowl (1980, 2004, both losses) following 9-1 starts.

SECOND-HALF MELTDOWNS

The Cowboys have been outscored 47-0 in the second half the past two weeks following a three-game winning streak that seemed to have Dallas back on track following an NFC-best 13-3 record last season.

"It would be pretty tough not to panic, but I don't think we are panicking," said running back Alfred Morris, who had 91 yards filling in for Ezekiel Elliott. "It's been two tough losses, ugly losses on top of that. But at the same time, I know the character of this team and the fight we have."

EMERGENCY KICKER

Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is the emergency kicker for the Eagles. But he completely missed the safety net on a practice try on the sidelines, sending the ball into the stands. He did reach the goal line with his first kickoff, though.

UP NEXT

Eagles: Home against Chicago next Sunday.

Cowboys: Los Angeles Chargers visiting for annual Thanksgiving game.

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