Patriots coach Bill Belichick had plenty to say about the early collision between former Patriots receiver Wes Welker and current Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in the first quarter of Sunday’s 26-16 Broncos win.
Belichick castigated Welker for laying out Talib, but quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t willing to vilify his former teammate on Monday. Brady said he “didn’t really see the play” and hasn’t watched any replays since the contest, but Brady did have a bit more to say when asked if he might like to have a big-play receiver on the outside of the offense.
Brady certainly sounds open to the idea, but was careful not to say anything negative about Julian Edelman, Austin Collie or Danny Amendola while pointing out that the Patriots missed chances to do more on offense.
“Yeah, I had Randy Moss and he was pretty good at that,” Brady said on WEEI, via the Boston Herald. “Those are really unique players and we have a very good skill set of receivers in Julian, Austin played yesterday, Danny played his heart out. We had plenty there yesterday, we just couldn’t do enough early in the game to put pressure on the team to play from behind. And we got behind and it was just too much to dig ourselves out of a hole. I’m proud of the way we fought. Our guys played with a lot of toughness and a lot of resiliency. All the way up to the end we fought. That’s really the mark of coach Belichick and what he talks about.”
Two of the biggest misses came when Brady couldn’t find the range on deep throws to Edelman and Collie, with the Edelman miss possibly costing the Patriots six points in the first half because the receiver was behind the Denver defense.
The Patriots offense certainly missed the dimension that Moss brought to the team years ago, to say nothing of what Rob Gronkowski did when healthy and what Aaron Hernandez did before he was a guest of the state. As much as players like that would help, failure to execute across the offense was a bigger issue in Sunday’s loss because, as Brady said, there were opportunities for the Patriots to change the way things played out on the field.