2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Unbeaten Pats hope to pick up offense against Bucs

    2013-09-17 02:31

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots have showed offensive balance while becoming one of the NFL's eight unbeaten teams.

Both their running and passing games have struggled.

Tom Brady's rookie receivers have plenty to learn and their performances show it with wrong routes and dropped passes.

Stevan Ridley has a lot to improve on to build on his 1,263 yards rushing last year and carries a bigger burden with backup running back Shane Vereen sidelined for at least seven more games with a broken left wrist.

``It's just a struggle,'' Ridley said Monday when the Patriots returned from two days off.

``It's going into Week 3 and I don't think any football team in the league is really where they want to be right now, and that's not making any excuses for us.''

The Patriots edged the New York Jets 13-10 last Thursday night four days after beating the Buffalo Bills 23-21 on Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds left.

Hardly impressive, but the Patriots are 2-0 heading into Sunday's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2).

``A victory is a victory. I'd rather have ugly wins than pretty losses any day, and I had a lot of pretty losses in my career,'' said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who spent his other nine NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

The Bucs had ugly losses in their first two games, losing one on a field goal with 2 seconds left and another on a field goal as time expired.

``Talk about a team that's two plays away from being 2-0, that's Tampa,'' coach Bill Belichick said. ``They've been really close the last two weeks and have come up short, but a couple plays that just turn out a little differently, wouldn't have taken much, we'd be looking at a 2-0 team.''

A couple of plays that turned out differently would have left the Patriots at 0-2.

But they've done just enough to win with an offense nothing like the one that led the NFL in points and yards last season.

Only one team has gained fewer yards per pass attempt than the Patriots with Brady averaging 5.2 per throw.

And his completion rate of 52.7 leaves the Patriots tied with the Jets for 30th. Only the Bucs, at 45.3, are worse.

The running game is better but far below last year's ranking of seventh in the league. It's 15th with 3.6 yards per rush and 13th with 106 yards per game.

``I don't think anybody on this team's happy with where they (are),'' Ridley said. ``I struggled myself and I definitely didn't get off to the start that I wanted and I'll man up and say that.''

Ridley didn't return to the opener after he fumbled in the second quarter as he slipped while cutting and Buffalo's Da'Norris Searcy returned the ball 74 yards for a touchdown.

He also lost the ball in the first quarter, but officials ruled that he was downed by contact.

Vereen rushed for 101 yards in the opener then was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, ``a crucial blow,'' Ridley said. Vereen is eligible to play on Nov. 18 against the Carolina Panthers.

Against the Jets tough defensive front, Ridley gained just 40 yards on 16 carries.

On Sunday, he faces the team that led the NFL in run defense last season.

Anything specific he needs to work on?

``Hold the ball,'' he said. ``It's early in the year so nobody's going to be perfect.''

The Patriots and Bucs practiced together before their preseason game, but that may not help either team.

``I know they're going to show a lot more than when they were here this summer,'' Ridley said. ``I don't think our coaching staff really showed too much and I don't think they really showed too much.''

It's time for Brady and the Patriots' offense to show more.

``I'm not going to say anything about our offense. I just expect as a defense to keep playing better,'' Kelly said. ``I can't worry about what's going on over there. Tom knows what he's doing. I'm going to leave that to Tom.''

NOTES: WR Danny Amendola was at the start of practice that the media was allowed to observe. He missed Thursday's game with a groin injury. ... Asked if tight end Rob Gronkowski would play Sunday, Belichick said, ``We'll take everybody day to day here.'' Gronkowski missed the first two games while recovering from forearm and back surgery.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Howard Ulman on Twitter: http://twitter.com/howardulman

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group