Patriots

Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

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Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - When you look at the list of 2011 Patriots salaries and cap hits, one number in the top five jumps off the page. Ty Warren with an approximate3.1 million salary and a 5.878 million cap hit. (Thanks, Miguel!). That number is too steep for a player of Warren's age and injury history despite all the good work he's done for this team. And there was a lot of it between the time he was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2003 and July 28, 2011. When I contacted Warren Friday afternoon and told him I was sorry to hear the news, he replied,"Don't be sorry. It's all good, man. I'm excited, really, to be honest with you. I appreciate everything. I appreciate my journey with the Pats and the Kraft family presenting the opportunity. I appreciate all my teammates over the years who were close friends...and will continue to be. I look forward to bigger and better things. "We're putting out feelers to certain teams around the league," he added. "I'm looking forward to donning the jersey of a contending team and that's what you'll see me wearing this fall."Warren missed all of 2010after hip surgery.The 30-year-old from Texas A&M has been a highly regarded player in the community and the locker room, but there seemed to be growing friction between he and Bill Belichick in the last couple of years here. On Thursday, Warren failed the team's conditioning test, pulling up with a hamstring injury. "But there's people who failed the running test who stuck around," Warren pointed out."I think the team was looking to do some things differentlyon defense andI wasn't in the plan. It doesn't have anything to do with the test or anything else or related with Bill. You can see by the acquisitions they made. Plan on doing different things I'm not in the plans for and with my salary, they weren't going to keep me around as dead money."Asked about his relationship with Belichick, Warren said, "Bill's a unique guy. There's some things that toward the end of my careerwe didn't agree on. At the same time, you can't make him happy all the time and he can't make me happy all the time. At the end of the dayI respect him as a good coach and as someone who was very good at preparing the team. But that's about as far as it goes."Hisexit conversation with Belichick was "a grateful talk." Warren added,"I respect Bill and I respect the guys."The other salary-cap related move was clearly offensive lineman Nick Kaczur who was on the books for3.4 million in salary and over 4.3 million in salary and potential bonus money. A third-round pick in 2005, Kaczur wasa more than serviceable right tackle for much of his time but his performance lagged in 2009. A back injury during training camp last year cost him the 2010 season. Alge Crumpler may be thebiggest surprise among the releases. He was due a salary of 2.4 million this year. He joined the Patriots last spring and quickly became a mentor to young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and brought such great leadership he was named a captain last year. He was also an outstanding blocker. He seems the most likely of the released players to get re-signed to a lower contract at a later date. The Patriots also announced the previously reported releases of Marcus Stroud and Tully Banta-Cain, as well as the signings of two rookies - quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady on pace for huge numbers, so why is he down on his play of late?

Tom Brady on pace for huge numbers, so why is he down on his play of late?

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady is on pace for 5,224 yards passing in 2017, just a shade under his total from his career-high in 2011. He's on track to have 34 touchdowns and just five picks. Barring a continued run of ridiculous efficiency from Kansas City's Alex Smith, those numbers would be MVP-caliber in all likelihood.

But Brady's not thrilled with the way he's played of late. What gives? 

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In his past two games, he hasn't thrown the football as consistently as he would have liked. After starting the season with a 10-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio, he's 3-to-2 in the last couple of weeks. His accuracy has been at times pinpoint (as it was on his 42-yard completion to Brandin Cooks to help set up a Rob Gronkowski score against the Jets), but it has also been uncharacteristically erratic.

He was picked deep down the middle of the field by Buster Skrine last week, but the more concerning throw may have been the quick out-route to Gronkowski that Skrine dropped for what should have been an easy interception. Brady missed Phillip Dorsett on what looked like it could have been a long touchdown with Dorsett running free behind the defense. He threw behind Chris Hogan twice in the game, one of which opened up Hogan to a rib-shot that landed him on the injury report this week.

Against the Jets, Brady was not sacked and he was hit only four times -- a light day for him compared to other weeks this season when he's been battered. Yet he still completed just under 53 percent of his passes for 257 yards and a season-low 6.76 yards per attempt. 

"Well, I've got to hit the open . . . If the throws are there I've got to be able to make them," he said on Friday. "It's disappointing when I don't. To me, it just comes back to technique and fundamentals and making sure everything is working and that's the consistent daily thing that you're working on. I'm always working on my accuracy.

"I wish I hit them all. I'm capable of hitting them all and I need to be able to do that. I said last week that some of these games wouldn't be as close if I was playing better in the red area. I think some of those missed opportunities in the pass game with me hitting guys would really help our team. Hopefully, I can do a better job for this team."

Brady is no longer listed on the Patriots injury report, but he dealt with a left shoulder injury against both the Bucs and the Jets, and it's worth wondering if that somehow impacted how his passes traveled in those games. Balance is key in Brady's world, and even though he can make flat-footed throws look easy, perhaps an injury to his front side limited his ability to place the ball where he wanted. 

Keeping Brady upright could go a long way in helping the 40-year-old regain his form from Weeks 2-4 when he didn't dip below a 104 quarterback rating. Bill Belichick said earlier this week that part of the reason the Jets pass-rush wasn't quite as effective as others they'd faced this year was his team's ability to run the ball. Productive rushing attempts on first and second down mean manageable third downs, which mean shorter pass attempts. Those of course, in theory, lead to less time standing in the pocket and a healthier quarterback.

"It's great," Brady said of his team's recent surge running the football. "I mean, to be able to run the ball consistently in the NFL is important for every offense. It does take a lot of . . . I wouldn't say pressure, it's just production. If 400 yards of offense is what you're looking for and you can get 150 from your running game, the 250 has got to come in the passing game. If you're getting 50 yards in the rushing game then it means you've got to throw for more.

"I don't think it's pressure it's just overall you're going to get production in different areas and the backs are a big part of our offense and handing the ball off to them is an easy way for us to gain yards if we're all coordinated and doing the right thing. But those guys are running hard. The line is doing a great job up front finishing blocks and so forth."

Against the Falcons and their talented -- though underperforming -- offense this weekend, the running game could be key. First, it could help the Patriots defense by controlling possession and keeping Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman off the field. Next are the obvious advantages for the signal-caller who could use a stress-free day in the pocket to help him solve his recent accuracy issues. 

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