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

Teddy BridgewaterSep 29 09:47p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 29. QB Christian Ponder worked with the first-team offense during practice.

Geno SmithSep 29 09:47p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan publicly remained supportive of QB Geno Smith Monday, Sept. 29. He said he talked to the quarterback about his incident with yelling [ More ]

Donald BrownSep 29 09:23p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown and RB Branden Oliver combined for 42 yards on 29 carries in Week 4, and although head coach Mike McCoy bashed the running [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (toe) is not injured, head coach Chip Kelly said Monday, Sept. 29. 'He's not on the treatment list,' Kelly said. [ More ]

Vernon DavisSep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) had a 'positive mindset' Monday, Sept. 29, but general manager Trent Baalke said the extent of his injury is 'not fully known.'

Stevan RidleySep 29 09:13p

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley was on the field for just one of his team's seven offensive snaps in the first quarter Monday, Sept. 29, in the Week [ More ]

Roddy WhiteSep 29 09:03p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White said he expects the team to be involved in high-scoring shootouts all year, and head coach Mike Smith agreed to an extent. 'I don't [ More ]

David NelsonSep 29 08:13p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in Week 4, and the signing of WR Chris Owusu could be an indication Nelson's injury is significant. [ More ]

Frank AlexanderSep 29 08:03p

The Carolina Panthers reinstated DE Frank Alexander Monday, Sept. 29, after he served his four-game suspension. He won't count toward the 53-man roster limit for one week.

Patrick ChungSep 29 07:53p

New England Patriots SS Patrick Chung and RB James White were back taking kickoffs in pregame warm-ups Monday, Sept. 29, before the Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jarrett BoykinSep 29 07:23p

Green Bay Packers LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee) and WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. LBs Brad Jones (quadriceps) and Clay Matthews [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonSep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) was limited in practice Monday, Sept. 29.

Chad GreenwaySep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib) and CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) was limited, while FB Jerome Felton (knee), [ More ]

Aaron MurraySep 29 07:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, DL Damion Square, RB De'Anthony Thomas, SS Eric Berry, RB Joe McKnight, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 4.

Aaron DobsonSep 29 07:13p

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Alfonzo Dennard, DL Casey Walker, OT Jordan Devey, OL Josh Kline, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 4.

Chris OgbonnayaSep 29 07:03p

The Carolina Panthers will sign free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Browns).

Tharold SimonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (knee) is making progress in his recovery from knee surgery and is a few weeks away from returning, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Luke WillsonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson is expected to take over as the starting tight end while TE Zach Miller (ankle) is out.

Ray RiceSep 29 06:53p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice's (Ravens) appeal of his suspension will be heard by a neutral arbitrator after the NFL agreed to the change. The NFL and NFL Players Association [ More ]

Ropati PitoituaSep 29 06:43p

Tennessee Titans DE Ropati Pitoitua (knee) hopes to play in Week 5 after missing Week 4 because of a lateral collateral ligament sprain.

Bruce CarterSep 29 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (quadriceps) is considered day-to-day because of the quadriceps injury he suffered in Week 4.

Nick FolesSep 29 06:13p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles did not complete any of his 10 passes that traveled at least 20 yards down the field in Week 4, and two of those [ More ]

Chris ProsinskiSep 29 06:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Chris Prosinski and Washington Redskins LB Gabe Miller and DT Robert Thomas cleared waivers and became free agents Monday, Sept. 29.

Tauren PooleSep 29 06:03p

Carolina Panthers RB Tauren Poole was placed on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 29.

LeSean McCoySep 29 05:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy is not dealing with any injuries at this time, according to head coach Chip Kelly. McCoy rushed for only 17 yards on 10 carries in Week 4.

Josh NormanSep 29 05:23p

Carolina Panthers CB Melvin White has been benched in favor of CB Josh Norman.

Dee MillinerSep 29 05:23p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) could return this week, according to head coach Rex Ryan, who said he's confident Milliner will be able to play Week 5.

Jarius WrightSep 29 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings WR Jarius Wright said he created a solid chemistry with QB Teddy Bridgewater during the preseason, which is why he caught eight passes for 132 yards in [ More ]

Tommy BohanonSep 29 05:03p

New York Jets FB Tommy Bohanon (collarbone) has a fractured collarbone, according to head coach Rex Ryan.

Winston GuySep 29 05:03p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released SS Winston Guy Monday, Sept. 29.

Zach MillerSep 29 05:03p

Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) is only expected to miss two games after he underwent ankle surgery last week.

Marques ColstonSep 29 04:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston has struggled quite a bit during the first month of the season and seems to disappear at times. He had a late-game fumble [ 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