Three major parts of the Patriots’ offense last season were not among the options in the season opener vs. Buffalo, and quarterback Tom Brady said it will take time to make things click with their replacements.
Brady was throwing to rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld and free-agent addition Danny Amendola instead of Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Wes Welker.
“The better football players you have on a team, the better you are going to be, so those were two really spectacular football players, three including Wes [Welker], and all those guys really fed off each other, so the more really great football players you have on a team, the more it’s going to be open for everybody. So we’re working to get to that point,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan program.
“There’s a lot of time and energy spent with all those players to get to that point, so it’s hard to expect the level of execution that was with guys that you’ve never done that with before, but that’s what we’re trying to get to.”
Brady threw to Thompkins 14 times but he only caught four passes.
“There’s things that we can all do better. It’s not just one player, it’s not just KT, it’s all of us that have to work harder to communicate, to be on the same page. When you’re in the first week of the year, there’s a lot of things that we can do better,” Brady said.
First-week jitters were evident throughout, although Brady was able to rally the Patriots to a 23-21 victory over the Bills. Gronkowski has been practicing with the team but was ruled out on Sunday as he continues to recover from arm and back surgery.
“It was my first time playing a meaningful game with a lot of these guys, so these are things that you learn under fire and you’ve got to end up going through them and learning from them, and hopefully you can be better every single week out there.”
The Patriots’ mistakes allowed Buffalo to take the lead in the third quarter and hold it until the Patriots kicked a game-winning field goal with five seconds left. Among them were a pair of fumbles, including one by Brady at the goal line.
“Football is not necessarily a game of perfection, but I think the big ones, like the turnovers – I thought we did a decent job with the penalties – but the turnovers were the one thing that really held us back from scoring more points and it really allowed them to score their points. So that was a big part of the game if you take away the turnovers,” he said.
Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.