2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Brady blames himself for Patriots' red-zone woes

By HOWARD ULMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-25 16:49

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady bent forward and put his hands on his knees in frustration. Then he stood up, slapped both sides of his helmet and jogged off the field.

He had just thrown an interception in the end zone, his third straight bad pass with the ball at the 6-yard line.

No, rookie receivers aren't the only players responsible for the New England Patriots' problems in the red zone.

``Just poor execution,'' Brady said Wednesday. ``I've been one of the main culprits.''

The Patriots may be 3-0 but it's not because of what they've done inside the 20. They're third in the NFL with 13 trips there but have just four touchdowns, a 30.8 success rate that is the worst in the league.

That's hard to believe with one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.

In his 14th season, Brady has to get used to rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson as his primary wide receivers while Danny Amendola is sidelined. And he did throw two touchdowns to Thompkins and seven completions to Dobson in last Sunday's 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But he failed to connect with them about five minutes into the third quarter when the Patriots had a first-and-goal at the 6.

On the first play, Dobson was wide open in the middle of the end zone, but Brady threw the ball low and in front of him.

On the second play, Thompkins was lined up to the left, but Brady's hard throw at the line of scrimmage was inaccurate.

Then came the costliest flub.

Brady fired the ball toward the end zone where rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld was just over the goal line, and Dobson, the intended receiver, was behind him at the end line. Neither was open, but Brady threw anyway - right into the hands of safety Mark Barron next to Sudfeld.

Brady refused to blame his new receivers.

``I think throwing an interception right to a strong safety last week doesn't help,'' he said, ``especially (when) two plays before I had a wide-open guy. I think plays like that are more the problem. I have to a good job finding the open guys, guys that are running free and then hit them. That will help our red zone offense more than anything.''

Except, maybe, for the return of Rob Gronkowski.

The two-time Pro Bowl tight end is getting closer to playing his first game this season after offseason forearm and back surgery. As usual, he shed little light on his chances of returning for Sunday night's game at Atlanta.

``I don't know,'' Gronkowski said Wednesday after participating in practice on a limited basis. ``As of right now, we're just focusing day by day.''

That was the phrase of the day for Brady's sidelined pass catchers, well aware of coach Bill Belichick's obsession with revealing little about injuries.

``Just going day by day,'' Amendola said when asked if he would play against the Falcons after missing the past two games with a groin injury.

``I gave him all the tips,'' Gronkowski said with his usual smile, ``just day by day.''

Amendola was Brady's primary target in the opener with 10 catches in a 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills. He hasn't played since, and Brady is ranked just 24th in passer rating, 26th in completion percentage and 33rd in average gain per attempt.

``I anticipate being 100 percent shortly. I don't know when, but I'm getting closer,'' he said, before adding that he didn't know if he would have to deal with any residual issues from the injury for the rest of the season.

Gronkowski's return would have a bigger impact on the red-zone offense. He leads the NFL with 29 red-zone touchdowns since arriving in 2010.

But he's coming back from several surgeries, and Belichick said, ``I don't know'' what impact Gronkowski would have in the red zone when he returns.

Brady has a pretty good idea about what the 6-foot-6, 265-pound star with excellent hands can do there.

``He's just a big target and he's got a great catch radius,'' Brady said. ``When he's not out there, look, we have to count on the other guys to do it. I know we haven't been great in the red area this year, but it's no excuse. The guys that are out there are plenty capable. I'm plenty capable of getting the ball into tight spots and making the plays.''

But it can get crowded.

``There are 22 guys, if you're inside the 5, within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage,'' he said. ``Guys aren't open for very long down there. You have to make the plays when they're there. When you have a great opportunity like we had last week, you have to take advantage.''

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ryan TannehillSep 15 04:15p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill struggled to deliver accurate passes in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills, and TE Charles Clay had several dropped passes. Tannehill was 5-for-16 (31 [ More ]

Chris IvorySep 15 04:11p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson played 27 snaps in Week 2, while RB Chris Ivory played 27 and RB Bilal Powell played 17 snaps Sunday, Sept. 14.

John AbrahamSep 15 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion) will return to the team, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Abraham had been mulling retirement.

Keith RiversSep 15 04:02p

Buffalo Bills LB Keith Rivers (groin) will be tested this week to gauge how close he is to returning from a groin injury. Rivers did not practice last week [ More ]

Vernon DavisSep 15 03:32p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is undergoing an MRI on his injured left ankle, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Charles TillmanSep 15 03:32p

Chicago Bears CB Charles Tillman (triceps) will likely be placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIISep 15 03:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will not be placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

DeSean JacksonSep 15 03:12p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is day-to-day with a shoulder sprain. His status for this week's game is yet to be determined.

Jerrel JerniganSep 15 02:42p

New York Giants WR Jerrel Jernigan (foot) has a mid-foot sprain and is being evaluated. There is no timetable yet on his return.

Kelvin BenjaminSep 15 02:42p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) had his right knee taped Monday, Sept. 15, but appeared to be walking fine.

Rod StreaterSep 15 02:32p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (hip) suffered a hip flexor injury Week 2.

Marques ColstonSep 15 02:32p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston, who didn't catch a pass in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns for the first time in 87 games, wasn't even targeted a [ More ]

Walter ThurmondSep 15 02:32p

New York Giants CB Walter Thurmond (pectoral) is out for the season as he will undergo surgery for a torn pectoral Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Justin JonesSep 15 02:22p

Free-agent WR LaQuan Williams (Ravens) and TE Justin Jones (Patriots) are scheduled to work out for the Kansas City Chiefs Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a source.

Donald BrownSep 15 02:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown is likely to fill the void as the team's every-down running back with RB Ryan Mathews (knee) sidelined.

Nevin LawsonSep 15 02:22p

Detroit Lions CB Nevin Lawson (toes) could very well be out for the season after undergoing surgery on his dislocated toes, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Lawson suffered [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 15 02:12p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is scheduled to work out Tuesday, Sept. 16, in order to test his injured thigh.

Marcedes LewisSep 15 02:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis (ankle) is a candidate to be placed on the Active/Reserve/Injured list because of his high ankle sprain, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Tavon AustinSep 15 01:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and is expected to miss around two weeks, according to a source.

Chad HenneSep 15 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne is still the starting quarterback for now, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Mark IngramSep 15 01:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram (hand) suffered a broken hand in the team's Week 2 game and will miss at least four weeks, according to a source.

Carson PalmerSep 15 01:42p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) said he wasn't close to playing in Week 2 against the New York Giants. He described his injury as a nerve in his [ More ]

Tyrann MathieuSep 15 01:42p

Arizona Cardinals FS Tyrann Mathieu (knee) played for the first time in Week 2 against the New York Giants since suffering two torn knee ligaments last December. He was [ More ]

Lamar MillerSep 15 01:32p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (ankle) left the Week 2 game against the Buffalo Bills in a walking boot Sunday, Sept. 14, and his status for Week 3 against [ More ]

Allen HurnsSep 15 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (ankle) is considered day-to-day because of the ankle injury he suffered Week 2.

Ryan MathewsSep 15 01:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, according to a source. Mathews could [ More ]

Jamaal CharlesSep 15 01:22p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Chris McCainSep 15 01:22p

Miami Dolphins LB Chris McCain (illness) hardly played at all in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills after being a big contributor in the Week 1 victory. McCain missed [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 15 01:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was reinstated after being deactivated in Week 2 against the New England Patriots following his arrest on a charge of causing injury to his [ More ]

Marcedes LewisSep 15 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis (ankle) will be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of a high ankle sprain.

DeSean JacksonSep 15 01:02p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is listed as day-to-day after being diagnosed with an AC joint sprain in Week 2. Jackson left the game in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

R. Griffin IIISep 15 01:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) isn't dealing with a fractured ankle, according to an MRI exam, and he doesn't think surgery is necessary. The best-case scenario for [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group