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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Patriots Zone: Week Two

Julian+Edelman+had+a+great+outing+against+the+Vikings
Julian Edelman had a great outing against the Vikings

The Patriots started off the 2014 season in unfamiliar territory as they fell to the Miami Dolphins in their opener, 33-20. It was the first time that New England has started off the season with a loss since 2003. The team flew to Minnesota to take on the Vikings — who must have been feeling quite confident after their thrashing of the Rams last week. This week was a much tougher challenge against the experienced and well-tested Brady-Belichick duo. [It was even tougher that they didn’t have all pro running back Adrian Peterson, as he was accused of allegedly abusing his son and was deactivated for the week.]
The first drive of the game was shades of last week. The Patriots seemed to be overcompensating for the threat of Vikings’ play-maker, Cordarrelle Patterson, who had a big game against St. Louis on September 7. Minnesota picked apart Patriots linebackers. Matt Cassel hit Matt Asiata out of the backfield for a touchdown.
In terms of the Viking’s offense, that was pretty much it for the day. For the rest of the game, Cassel looked rattled in the pocket. The defensive line was putting pressure on him all day, making life difficult for the former Patriot.
Led by Chandler Jones, New England tallied six total sacks on Cassel. The 10 year veteran looked like a rookie at times out there. He went 19/36, throwing for 202 yards. He also had the touchdown to Asiata as well as four interceptions to his former team. Cassel was swarmed by Patriots for the duration of the game.
The defense was definitely improved from Week One. How about the offense? There were some improvements from last game, but it’s still not the Patriots offense that fans are accustomed to seeing. As far as protecting Brady, the offensive line was definitely a lot better. Brady had time throughout the day and didn’t seem to be rattled.
But God almighty the penalties! A Bill Belichick coached team has never committed that many penalties. On the other hand, it was good to see Ridley get some touches and rush for over 100 yards. The dual threat of Ridley and Vereen continues to impress; they balance each other out nicely in the rushing and receiving aspects of the game.
Another thing the Patriots should do is use more of their offensive weapons. Right now Brady is relying too much on Julian Edelman. Sooner or later teams will figure him out. Rob Gronkowski gets a pass for now coming back from the ACL injury. He’ll be back into form soon. Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell need to get more involved in this offense. Both have been virtually non-existent these first two weeks. They have too much talent to not be utilized in this offense.
The Patriots are just a work in progress. They have a very talented roster and just need time to work on some things. The offensive line is the main issue to focus on moving forward. The defense will be alright and in time the offensive weapons will start to click.
The Patriots are at Gillette Stadium for their home opener Sunday September 21st against the Oakland Raiders.