Patriots

Brady: Unrealistic to expect Pats to execute at highest level for four months

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Brady: Unrealistic to expect Pats to execute at highest level for four months

The Patriots know that their third win of the season didn't earn them much in the way of style points. They made it difficult on themselves with 12 penalties for over 100 yards, two turnovers, three sacks allowed and over 400 yards of offense allowed. 

But Tom Brady reiterated what several of his teammates said following the game: On the road, coming off a loss, they'll take a win however they can get it. 

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"The thing about the NFL is it's such a week-to-week league," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show. "If we won by 50 points the other night, what does that really matter against the Jets this week? We'd all love to do that, and we'd all love to play our very best and execute at the highest level every week for four months. It's just, that's relatively unrealistic, but you're trying to win any way you can and score more points than the other team whether that's playing really well offensively or playing really well defensively."

Of all the numbers listed above, the sacks may be the one that's most concerning for the Patriots. Brady is playing at an MVP level at 40 years old, though it's fair to wonder how his body will hold up if he continues to get hit at this rate. He's on pace to be sacked 51 times (most in his career) and hit 105 times (eight more than he took in 2015 behind a banged-up offensive line). 

Brady had no real explanation for the number of hit he's taken other than to say things are still a work in progress offensively.

"I think in general we're not a finished product right now," he said. "We're still trying to figure out what we're good at and what we need to do consistently to score more points. Any time you lose players, like [Rob Gronkowski] the other night, you have a plan and all of a sudden he's not available. Things shift. And then you're trying to still find ways to move the ball down the field and score points. 

"No matter who's out there, the goal is still the same. It may look a little bit different based on the skill set of the players who are out there. We're making adjustments with injuries based on a season-ending injury like Julian [Edelman] and then weekly injuries, whether it's the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, receivers. Those go into the course of a long football season. It's still relatively early . . . Hopefully our best football is ahead of us."

Up next for Brady and his teammates are the Jets, who are tied with the Patriots and Bills for first place in the AFC East at 3-2.

"They're doing a lot of things really well," Brady said. "They're a tough rival. We play on the road. We gotta win by one point or more. That would be fine for me."

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#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

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#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

FOXBORO - Every Friday, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi will take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or Friday Bag, as they call it.

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. But for now, give the latest edition of the Bag a read.

MG: Hopefully that’s not needed, Casey, but I will pass it on. 

MG: BIG GAME! Sure. Why the hell not?

MG: Allie, this is a question that’s I’ve been pondering for years, or at least months . . . ok, for about 3 minutes. Tarzan has either a) been duping us all this time and actually has a job, drives an BMW and has a colonial with 2 1/2 baths or b) he’s a baby face who never hit puberty. 

MG: Mikey! Here’s a quite from Todd Wash, Jags DC, when asked about Ramsey possibly covering Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Sunday: “I think the last thing you can do is to go into a game like this and you try and reinvent the wheel . . . Jalen is a good corner and he plays against wide receivers . . . "

So either he’s telling the truth or he doesn’t want to reveal a wrinkle. My opinion: Why waste Ramsey outside the entire game? Brady’s at his best attacking inside the numbers and even more to the point, inside the hashes. At the very least, I’d deploy Ramsey on Gronk in the red area and make Tommy boy look elsewhere.

MG: Yeah, tough injury. Jon Jones has been terrific on special teams for two years, a likely heir apparent to Matt Slater as that guy who ends up being in the Pro Bowl every year. Love almost every bit of what he brings. Would say Jonathan Bademosi will be active this week and move into that role. 

MG: Sizzle, for sure. We’ve done a lot of X’s and O’s on this one and one area where the Jags have been especially vulnerable is under the linebackers. That means running backs, that means shorter crossing patterns and that means combo platters designed to force these LBs to make a decision. Telvin Smith was targeted 13 times last weekend (according to Pro Football Focus) and surrendered 12 catches. A healthy Brady feasts on this.

MG: Goose making his #FridayBag debut. Welcome. Best matchup is Matt Patricia and his big brains versus Blake Bortles. If that kid thinks he’s going to be looking at the same thing very often, I got a bridge to sell him. Worst matchup is T.J. Yeldon on the linebackers. We’ve spent a ton of time talking about Leonard Fournette and what he brings if he’s healthy but Yeldon is both strong, shifty and can catch. With a skittish QB, Yeldon could be heavily involved.



PP: JP, checking in from the District! I'd say the chances are minimal. I would do it. You might do it. Go out on top and all that. But you and I haven't been saying for years that we're planing to work into our mid-40s. And we don't have post-retirement business plans that kind of hinge on our ability to work into our mid-40s. We also aren't about to be named MVP...of anything. We'll see, but I would be very surprised if this ends up being Brady's last season.



PP: Good question, Michael. Also a scary one for Patriots fans, I'd think. If the unexpected happens and Brady can't take the field, I think you'd have some packages in place for Chris Hogan or Jacob Hollister just in case something happened to Brian Hoyer. Hogan is arguably one of the most versatile athletes on the team, and he threw a pass (left-handed) at MetLife last year. Hollister was a walk-on quarterback at the University of Nevada. When he transferred to Arizona Western Community College, he made the transition to tight end.



PP: To me, all of these questions are related, so let's smash them all together. I do believe the Patriots will show plenty of "21" and "12" personnel in this game. That means either a) two receivers, two backs and one tight end, or b) two receivers, one back and two tight ends. In that scenario, the receivers would be -- in my opinion -- some combination of Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. I'd use the Cooks-Amendola combination most frequently unless it seems like Hogan has completely shaken the rust from his long regular-season absence. The reason it would be a good idea to use theses heavier formations -- as opposed to "11" personnel with three wideouts -- is that it attacks the Jaguars with their weaker coverage people on the field. If the Patriots deploy, say, James Develin, Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski in the same look, Jacksonville would likely have to respond by putting run-stuffing linebacker Paul Posluszny on the field. If the Patriots can manipulate the coverage to get any non-Develin weapon on Posluszny, that's a mismatch they can exploit. We go into further detail on how the Patriots can exploit the Jaguars' base defense -- which has struggled in coverage this season -- here

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