Tom Brady keeping 'realistic expectations' considering Patriots 'circumstances'

Tom Brady keeping 'realistic expectations' considering Patriots 'circumstances'

Tom Brady knows what people have come to expect from the Patriots — and in particular the Patriots offense. 

He was the best player in football in 2016, leading one of the league's best offenses, and only missed out on that season's MVP honors because of his Deflategate suspension. He was the best player in football in 2017 and followed up an MVP season with a 500-yard performance in the Super Bowl.

Really, since 2007, this has annually been among the best offenses in the league.

But now the offense is far from lighting up the scoreboard, and Brady is a long way from filling up the stat sheet as he did in the 2007, 2010, 2016 or 2017 seasons. 

The Patriots scored 22 points in Sunday's loss to the Texans. But they had just nine points late in the fourth quarter against one of the league's worst third-down defenses and the worst red-zone defense. 

That kind of night doesn't mesh with the Patriots' expectations, even if they've shown over the last month that they're struggling to retain possession and score when in the red zone. 

They've done enough to win games when their defense has been lights-out, as was the case in Philadelphia and against the Cowboys. But when the defense gives up its share — as it did in Houston and Baltimore — then the Patriots have issues keeping pace offensively. 

Old expectations don't apply anymore, Brady told WEEI's "Greg Hill Show" on Monday, especially considering how the offense is constructed at the moment.

"We're not 2-10," Brady said. "We're 10-2. I know there's very high expectations, as there are for us. I think the expectations for our team often are a very, very, very high level. And I understand that. 

"At the same time, I think there's realistic expectations with our circumstances, incorporating different elements and players and injuries, and we're just trying to do the best that we can do. We've got a whole season ahead of us. We've gotta try to learn from the things we did last night and try to go out there and try to get a really tough win against [Kansas City] and see if we can get back to winning."

Against the Chiefs, the Patriots will see one of the most dynamic offenses in football, led by one of the game's best quarterbacks. It's another offense that has the ability to put up big numbers, another offense that — if the Patriots defense has a hiccup — the Patriots offense would have trouble running with. 

When Brady was asked on WEEI about Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he said last year's MVP is "pretty spectacular." But then he went on to explain why the Chiefs offense is so effective, and it's hard to not read his comments and consider the things that are ailing the Patriots offense at the moment: a lack of weaponry outside of Julian Edelman and James White; a lack of a Rob Gronkowski replacement; a lack of team speed.

"They have a very good team," Brady said. "They have a very good offense. They have very dynamic receivers, one of the best groups in the league. They got one of the best tight ends in the league. They have some great running backs. 

"Patrick distributes to all of them. It makes it very hard to defend when you have a lot of players you can get the ball to. It's a big challenge for our defense. Offensively we're going to have to play a great game. Gonna have to take advantage of our scoring opportunities and keep from turning the ball over and see if we can go out there and beat a very good team at home."

Playing at home should help the Patriots offense. But it's worth wondering, given their circumstances, how much better they can be.

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Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday at the league meeting in Dallas and provided updates on several different topics, including the ongoing investigation into the New England Patriots.

Here are the answers to some of the questions Goodell was asked.

On the Patriots-Bengals investigation...
The New England Patriots are being investigated by the NFL after a video crew taped the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline at last Sunday's Week 14 game in Cleveland. The Patriots said in a statement that the video crew was set there to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of their "Do Your Job" web series. 

There is no set timetable for when the investigation will be concluded, according to Goodell.

"I've actually been down here almost the entire time," Goodell said. "I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it's under review. We're going to be thorough. We'll take our time and make sure we look at everything that's pertinent here, and then we'll make a decision."

Will the Patriots' history of illegal videotaping (a.k.a. Spygate) play a factor in this current investigation?

“Of course. That's a factor,” Goodell said. “But I think the key things are the new information that we have — that (old) information, we obviously already had. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident.”

Does Goodell anticipate a conclusion to the investigation by the end of the season?

"I don't have any anticipation," he said. "We're going to be thorough. We're going to get all the facts. We'll go from there."

On the Antonio Brown investigation...
The investigation into the allegations made against former Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has not concluded. Goodell noted investigators still have more work to do before giving the league an update.

“They still have not completed the investigation,” Goodell said. “The investigators did; I did not meet with Antonio. They have more work to do. They are following up on that. I will get an update when they have more information.”

Brown was released by the Patriots on Sept. 20 after a brief 11-day tenure in New England.

On the possibility of reseeding in the playoffs...
It's looking increasingly likely that the winner of the NFC East -- the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles -- will finish with a losing record, but based on the current playoff format, that division winner probably will host a team with 10-plus wins (likely the NFC West runner-up) in the Wild Card round. Should the league reseed in the playoffs to not give teams with losing records a home playoff game just because they won their division? Goodell admitted it's not something being discussed right now.

"This is not the first time this conversation has occurred, or the situation has occurred," Goodell said. "Teams go into the season and the first objective is to win the division. That's what they work on -- we win the division and we get in the playoffs. That is something that we've considered over the years. I have not heard that this year. I don't anticipate hearing it again. It's been discussed in the past, but I don't see that as an issue. If it comes up, we'll certainly have the conversation. I don't anticipate it."

These stats paint ugly picture for Patriots offense>>>

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Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

The NFL's roster merry-go-round never stops, and the Patriots kept busy on the transaction wire Wednesday by signing three players to their practice squad: DE Eric Lee, DB Adarius Pickett, and K Josh Gable.

Gable's addition is the most out-of-the-box, as Phil Perry explained earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old never played college football, but made a name for himself with compilations of trick shot videos on YouTube. Gable most recently played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, where he went 6-for-16 on field goals and 50-for-57 on extra points.

The Patriots had brought him in for a workout earlier this season, but ultimately signed Mike Nugent, who only lasted four games.

As for Lee, this marks his second stint in Foxboro. New England signed the 25-year-old late in the 2017 season, and he racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and an interception in his first two games.

He played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles, but didn't survive roster cuts for the 2018 season. He bounced on and off the Lions active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

Pickett, the final practice squad addition, is an undrafted rookie out of UCLA who spent some time with the Bears and Chargers earlier this year.

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