Tom Brady Notes Offensive Inconsistencies Despite Impressive Point Production in Preseason


Tom Brady Notes Offensive Inconsistencies Despite Impressive Point Production in Preseason FOXBORO, Mass. — When it seems like perfection is expected, any falter for the Patriots' offense will stick out more than usual.

Of course, quarterback Tom Brady has set the bar high in that regard by winning two MVP awards in his last three healthy seasons, and the Patriots led the NFL in scoring during both of those campaigns.

After a large majority of New England's starters sat out the preseason opener, Brady led 17 offensive series over the final three exhibition games. Those drives ended with seven touchdowns, two field goals, one interception and seven punts, including a trio of three-and-outs.

Brady and the starters combined to play a total of five quarters and one series in the preseason. By looking at it that way, it's impressive to note that they scored 55 points.

However, things slowed down a great deal after Brady's debut against the Bucs, when the offense scored four touchdowns in six possessions. Against the Lions and Giants, the starting offense had three touchdowns, two field goals, one interception and five punts, including two three-and-outs, in 11 possessions.

Still, the Patriots scored 27 points in three quarters and one possession. Those numbers would be above average to spectacular for every other offense in the NFL, but Brady didn't simply look at the numbers.

"I think we've been a little bit inconsistent over the course of the preseason, and we're trying to get a lot of things straightened out," Brady said. "We're trying to do the things that we've consistently done well, whether it's in training camp, in practices or in games. We haven't had a ton of practices, so that's where the inconsistencies come up. That's why we're going out to work on these things. We're a long way from figuring out where we're going to be. I'm sure every week we're going to improve and keep working hard at it, but we've only been together for five or six weeks. I'm sure things are going to be good, and [there are] going to be things we need to correct. Hopefully, we do enough to win."

Brady completed 28 of 50 passes (56 percent) for 379 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but the individual numbers aren't necessarily as important as the team's total output in the preseason. They didn't zero in on their opponents in the game plans, and it's a time to try out some different things while taking risks that would otherwise get thrown out when it counts.

More focus was placed on wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Deion Branch. Ochocinco was limited to three preseason receptions (on 10 targets) for 23 yards and one touchdown. Branch didn't catch a single pass and was only targeted twice in three games.

Does the lack of targets mean that he couldn't get open? Or was Brady comfortable enough with Branch to look in other directions to get different players involved? Those questions — from one extreme to another — can show why it's dangerous to make rash observations from preseason action.

"I feel real good," Branch said. "We did a lot of work in training camp. Unfortunately, a lot of things happen in games. We worked on a lot of different things. Everything changes week to week. It's Miami this week, and we'll see how it goes."

That's what matters. The preseason is more about getting ready for Week 1 than posting strong fantasy numbers in August. So, what the offense did on the practice field, behind closed doors, could be every bit as beneficial as it appeared to be on television.

Naturally, Monday night's TV performance will provide a much stronger indication of the Patriots' strides over the last month and a half.

"I think we've done some good things, and we've done some pretty bad things," wide receiver Wes Welker said. "It's kind of been an up-and-down battle, but I think we've progressively gotten better. Guys have moved forward, and hopefully we keep building on that to Miami."

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