2015 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

Arian FosterAug 4 02:53p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) will undergo surgery on his injured groin. He should return during the season, however.

Arian FosterAug 4 02:23p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) may need surgery on his injured groin.

Arian FosterAug 4 01:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) suffered a groin injury during the team's first fully padded practice Monday, Aug. 3, according to sources.

Terrance WestAug 4 10:52a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West appears to be on thin ice because of maturity issues, and his conditioning is a question, according to ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi.

Doug MartinAug 3 09:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin was confirmed as the team's lead back Monday, Aug. 3, by head coach Lovie Smith. 'We talked about being able to establish the [ More ]

L. WashingtonAug 3 07:22p

Free-agent WR L'Damian Washington signed with the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Aug. 3.

Senquez GolsonAug 3 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Senquez Golson (shoulder) told ESPN Monday, Aug. 3, he might need surgery on an injured shoulder, and he will find out in the next few days. [ More ]

Ace SandersAug 3 07:02p

Free-agent WR Ace Sanders (Jaguars) was suspended 10 games by the NFL Monday, Aug. 3, for a second violation of the league's drug policy.

Stephen HillAug 3 05:52p

Free-agent WR Stephen Hill (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Monday, Aug. 3, after being waived/injured Sunday, Aug. 2.

Michael EgnewAug 3 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Michael Egnew was released Monday, Aug. 3.

Kevin ConeAug 3 05:42p

Cleveland Browns WR Kevin Cone was waived Monday, Aug. 3.

Timothy FlandersAug 3 05:22p

Free-agent RB Timothy Flanders (Saints) signed with the Cleveland Browns Monday, Aug. 3.

Jalen ParmeleAug 3 04:52p

Free-agent RB Jalen Parmele (Cardinals) was signed by the Cleveland Browns Monday, Aug. 3.

Kyle WilliamsAug 3 04:42p

Denver Broncos WR Kyle Williams (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 3. WR Corbin Louks was subsequently signed.

Matt ElamAug 3 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Baltimore Ravens FS Matt Elam (biceps) will have surgery on his torn biceps soon and will officially be out for the season.

Michael JohnsonAug 3 02:32p

Updating a previous report, Cincinnati Bengals DE Michael Johnson (knee) will be out four weeks with a grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain.

Matt ElamAug 3 11:12a

Baltimore Ravens FS Matt Elam (arm) will likely miss the entire 2015 season with a torn biceps muscle suffered during a full-contact practice Sunday, Aug. 2.

Stephen HillAug 2 08:02p

The Carolina Panthers waived WR Stephen Hill (knee) after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament Sunday, Aug. 2.

Terrelle PryorAug 2 07:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Terrelle Pryor took reps with the first-team offense during training camp Sunday, Aug. 2.

Martavis BryantAug 2 04:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (elbow) will undergo a procedure for an elbow infection that will cause him to miss the Hall of Fame Game Sunday, Aug. 9, against [ More ]

Michael EgnewAug 2 03:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released TE Michael Egnew.

Tony McDanielAug 2 12:12p

The Seattle Seahawks released DT Tony McDaniel Sunday, Aug. 2. McDaniel should quickly find a new home.

Stephen HillAug 2 12:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Stephen Hill (knee) has an ACL injury, according to assistant head coach Steve Wilks Sunday, Aug. 2.

Sam BradfordAug 2 11:52a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) has been cleared for 11-on-11 drills Sunday, Aug. 2, and head coach Chip Kelly told reporters the quarterback doesn't have any restrictions.

Stephen HillAug 2 10:12a

The Carolina Panthers signed free-agent WR Paul Browning Sunday, Aug. 2. Browning is expected to take WR Stephen Hill's roster spot.

Brandon BoykinAug 1 08:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired CB Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, Aug. 1, in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Eagles could [ More ]

Kyle WilliamsAug 1 02:22p

Denver Broncos WR Kyle Williams (Achilles') suffered at least a partially torn Achilles' tendon in practice Saturday, Aug. 1, according to a source. He may be out for the season.

Melvin GordonAug 1 02:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has struggled with pass protection through the first three days of training camp.

Devin SmithJul 31 09:32p

New York Jets WR Devin Smith (ribs) will miss a majority of training camp after suffering broken ribs Friday, July 31, according to the team. He will be held [ More ]

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:42p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland (knee) is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he suffered during practice Friday, July 31.

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:22p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Breeland received a citation for marijuana possession last year.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 31 06:22p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is not allowed to use his injured hand while it is healing from the fireworks accident he had earlier this month. Pierre-Paul [ 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