Tom Brady has won a lot of football games over the course of his legendary career, but hardly ever did he look as dejected after a victory as he did on Sunday. Despite the New England Patriots defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 17-10 and improving to 9-1 on the season, the quarterback was visibly frustrated during his postgame press conference — his answers were short, and after just 1 minute and 40 seconds he was gone from the podium again.
Brady had his next media appearance on Monday morning, when he joined WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, and he did acknowledge his dissatisfaction with the current state of the Patriots’ offensive attack: “It’s just frustration with the offense; we’re trying to grind them out. I’m happy we won on the road, but at the same time, I just wish we’d score more points. We have to figure out how we can fix our problems as best we can.”
Against the Eagles, the Patriots gained just 298 yards of offense and scored only one touchdown on a pass that was not thrown by Brady: wide receiver Julian Edelman received a backwards pass from his quarterback, before himself throwing the football down the field for fellow wideout Phillip Dorsett. The score and the ensuing two-point conversion by running back James White ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
But while wins come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and New England was able to take one back home from Philadelphia to stay atop the AFC’s playoff race, it is obvious that Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense remain a work in progress 11 weeks into the regular season — something he pointed out on Monday: “As crazy as it sounds, we’re still kind of relatively new; getting familiar with each other on offense,” he said.
Brady certainly has a point. Against the Eagles, the Patriots received contributions from a rookie playing in his first NFL game (N’Keal Harry), an in-season trade acquisition (Mohamed Sanu), tight ends who were acquired during the offseason and have only appeared in a combined nine games so far (Benjamin Watson, Matt LaCosse), and a struggling offensive tackle that only joined the team in September (Marshall Newhouse).
All the way back to the offseason, the Patriots saw considerable personnel turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired, wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Chris Hogan left in free agency, center David Andrews and fullback James Develin were placed on injured reserve, and wide receivers Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas were added to the team only to be let go again a short time later.
“I just wish we would play better offensively. We have to go do it. I don’t think it’s about talking about it. It’s about doing it and trying to get the best we can out of our offense, and seeing if we can be more productive and score more points,” said Brady about the the Patriots’ offense following its game in Philadelphia. The 42-year-old also went on to point out that the unit is the team’s weakest link in its current state.
“The strength of our team is our defense and special teams,” Brady said. “So on offense, we just have to take advantage when we get opportunities, understand where our strengths lie and try to play to them. Not giving short fields. Not turning the ball over. Try to take advantage when we get into the red area and score touchdowns. That’s kind of where our offense is, and that’s kind of where our team is.”