While decisive, the New England Patriots’ season-opening victory of the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn’t quite perfect.
Speaking on a conference call the morning after his team’s 33-3 win at Gillette Stadium, Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed one area for improvement that might not have been immediately evident to folks watching the game on television.
Ted Karras, who became New England’s starting center after David Andrews (blood clots) was placed on injured reserve, delivered his shotgun snaps to quarterback Tom Brady at varying velocities, which Belichick said threw off the timing of some plays.
“The timing when the quarterback’s in the shotgun is different than when he’s under center because (in the latter) he has the ball in his hands through the entire drop,” Belichick explained Monday morning. “It’s different when he’s 5 yards behind the center and has to catch the ball and then go through his footwork and so forth.
“So, if there’s a variance in the snap, either speed or accuracy, that it then runs over into the footwork and timing of the play, then that’s just another added degree of difficult. So I’d say (that’s) one of many things that we can do better.”
Karras did hold up well overall in pass protection, allowing just two hurries on 40 pass-block snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots’ offensive line will be constructed when they visit the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. Replacing right tackle Marcus Cannon, who left the game with a shoulder injury, may require some positional shuffling.
Other nitpicks from Sunday’s blowout win include the performance of running back Sony Michel, who finished with just 14 yards on 15 carries and was not used in the passing game. The Patriots also struggled in the red zone, settling for field goals on all three of their trips inside the Steelers’ 20-yard line.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images