2013 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

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ More ]

Rashean MathisApr 14 12:52p

The Detroit Lions will re-sign CB Rashean Mathis to an undisclosed one-year deal, according to a league source. Mathis started 13 games last year and recorded 47 tackles.

Chris PressleyApr 14 10:02a

The Cleveland Browns have signed free-agent FB Chris Pressley (Bengals) to an undisclosed deal.

Alex SmithApr 14 02:02a

Draft stock for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater appears to be falling based on recent workouts, so the Kansas City Chiefs may take a flier on Bridgewater if he is [ More ]

Donald ThomasApr 14 01:52a

The Indianapolis Colts offensive line is still in flux, with several players battling for key spots. OG Donald Thomas (knee), returning from a torn ACL, is expected to man [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 11:42p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was released from a Los Angeles jail Sunday, April 13, after posting $20,000 bail, shortly after being charged with [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 09:22p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was arrested Sunday, April 13, at Los Angeles International Airport after he made a threat that he possessed a [ More ]

Damian WilliamsApr 13 08:48p

Miami Dolphins WR Damian Williams said the team talked to him about the possibility of being a return man for them. Williams likely would be behind RB Marcus Thigpen [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 06:52p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was reportedly detained by police at Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend. A man, believed to be Smith, was belligerent in the [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 13 06:32p

The New York Giants are concerned QB Eli Manning is entering the decline stage of his career. The team opted not to extend his deal, which runs through 2015, [ More ]

Jermichael FinleyApr 13 06:32p

The Miami Dolphins have talked to free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (Packers).

Charles GodfreyApr 12 11:32p

The Carolina Panthers want to see how FS Charles Godfrey (Achilles') does in his recovery from an Achilles' tendon injury before deciding on his future with the team. Godfrey [ More ]

Alex MackApr 12 08:22p

Cleveland Browns C Alex Mack said there is no bad blood between him and the team after the team placed the transition tag on him, and he signed an [ More ]

Chad JohnsonApr 12 08:12p

Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said the team has been talking with free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) about a contract and will work him out Tuesday, April 15.

Deonte ThompsonApr 12 11:52a

The drug charges against Baltimore Ravens WR Deonte Thompson have been dropped because of insufficient evidence. Thompson was arrested in February for suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Bobby MassieApr 12 12:02a

Arizona Cardinals OTs Bobby Massie, Nate Potter and Bradley Sowell are expected to compete for the starting right tackle job during training camp.

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