Friday, March 7, 2014
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
(Continued from page 1)
WHO: Buccaneers (0-2) at Patriots (2-0)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
SERIES RECORD: Patriots lead 5-2
LAST MEETING: Patriots beat Buccaneers 35-7, Oct. 25, 2009
LAST WEEK: Saints beat Buccaneers 16-14; Patriots beat Jets 13-10
BUCS OFFENSE: Overall (29), rush (11), pass (31)
BUCS DEFENSE: Overall (13t), rush (12), pass (18)
PATRIOTS OFFENSE: Overall (22), rush (13), pass (21)
PATRIOTS DEFENSE: Overall (8), rush (28), pass (4)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: Bucs lost their two games by combined three points. Patriots won two by combined five points. ... Tampa Bay's Doug Martin rushed for 144 yards last Sunday. New England has 212 yards rushing all season. ... Bucs FS Dashon Goldson can play after one-game suspension was reduced by appeals officer Matt Birk to $100,000 fine for helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans RB Darren Sproles. ... QB Josh Freeman ranked 30th in NFL in passer rating, Patriots' Tom Brady ranked 27th with rookie-filled receiving group. ... Bucs CB Darrelle Revis faces Patriots for 12th time in career, first 11 with Jets. ... Tampa Bay's big receivers, 6-foot-5 Vincent Jackson and 6-2 Mike Williams, combined for 18 receptions in first two games. ... LB Mason Foster had third-longest interception return for TD in Bucs history last Sunday, an 85-yarder against Saints. ... Brady's 50 straight games with at least one TD pass is second-longest streak in NFL history. Drew Brees' streak of 54 ended last season. ... Injury-plagued Patriots could be without TE Rob Gronkowski for third straight game, WR Danny Amendola for second. ... In win over Jets, Patriots had more punts (11) than first downs (9). ... WR Julian Edelman's 20 catches were tied for NFL lead after second week after having career-high 37 as rookie in 2009 and 21 last year. ... Pats are 31-3 in last 34 at home . ... Former Bucs CB Aqib Talib had two interceptions and one forced fumble against Jets. Patriots obtained him in trade last Nov. 1.
- The Associated Press
Vollmer didn't feel the timing was that far off, but that practicing together would help.
"You do want to practice next to each other but having played next to a guy for a while, you get used to it," he said. "You kind of know what to expect. But practicing together is definitely good."
Brady believes the time practicing together now will benefit everyone.
"The more those guys can work together, the better they're going to be," he said. "That's all anticipation, that's a lot of trust and trusting that the guy next to you is going to be able to do his job. That's one of the real strengths of our team, one of the real strengths of our offense. We've got a really good group of guys up there, so hopefully we can start doing some things at quarterback, running back, tight end, receiver, to help those guys out."
The Patriots had only four days between their first two games and only held walk-throughs before the Jets game. This week, they have had a full week of practice to prepare for Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They'll need every minute.
The Buccaneers are tied for first in the NFL with nine quarterback sacks in two games..
Practice, said Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, is where everything gets better.
"The one thing we always rely on is practice," he said. "If we can execute things in practice and if we do things well when we work here on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, then we certainly have confidence we can do those things on Sunday. There is no other way to do it."
Solder, who carefully considers each word he speaks when answering a question, knows the line has to start meeting preseason expectations.
"Our expectations are so high for our team," he said. "We're always looking to perfect our craft and do the best we can. That's the way we're built and we will continue to do that."
So, how close to perfect is the Patriots' line?
"We'll see on Sunday," said Vollmer. "It's a long season and we're not where we want to be yet. But we work hard, we're trying to get better. And that's what it comes down to."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: