At this point, Patriots need to be a little sharper

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / October 1, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - Television cameras captured the moment for all to see. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady displayed his frustration at various points of the first half in the Patriots’ 26-10 win against the Falcons last Sunday. He was yelling toward the sideline, visibly upset.

Dropped passes and routes cut short were enough to trip the fuse for Brady, who later attributed the moments to the emotions of the game. The red zone continues to be a troublesome spot for the Patriots, and the last two weeks they have been without receiver Wes Welker, who has been hampered by a knee injury.

Like an injured player, the status of the offense requires frequent updates.

“Well, we’re continuing to work at it,’’ said Brady. “I think every day in practice, we’re trying to improve our execution. We’ve had a lot of moving parts, everybody is trying to learn each other and understand each other. Sometimes it shows up in a game, sometimes it doesn’t show up so well.

“It’s a long season for us. Being 2-1, I wish we were 3-0. We haven’t played well enough to be 3-0. I think really what we’re focusing on this week is playing this team that can do everything and do everything very well. So we’ve got to go out there and have a great week.’’

Veteran receiver Joey Galloway, who is in his first season with the Patriots, dropped a pass against the Falcons, and Sam Aiken, who is the special teams captain, stopped short on a route in the red zone. Both things seemed to frustrate Brady. When a player reacts to such moments, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, there isn’t much to be gained from the outburst.

“I mean, guys show their emotions and show their personalities and they are competitive guys,’’ Harbaugh said. “We want our guys to show their personalities. So there are going to be times when guys are frustrated, so you’re frustrated. You’re going to be exhilarated, so you’re exhilarated.

“You try to get past the idea that it’s sending a message to somebody. It’s just a man being a man in a situation where he is trying to do his best. I don’t think it impacted the fact that you have a frustrating series here or there. You come and score a touchdown the very next series, which is pretty much what happened for the Patriots last week.’’

The Patriots offense is a work in progress that will have to improve against a Baltimore defense not likely to give them time to figure it all out.

Safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis lead a unit that is holding teams to an average of 18 points a game. The Ravens have six interceptions, second in the league, and have allowed the fewest rushing yards (51 per game).

Against Atlanta, the Patriots put up their most balanced offensive effort of the season, but finding room to run against the Ravens could be challenging. And the options don’t improve much when Brady is faced with taking on players like Reed.

“Yeah, you don’t break the huddle and think, ‘Let’s just run this play without seeing where he’s at,’ ’’ Brady said. “He’ll be exactly where he’s supposed to be. It might not be what the defense was called to be, but he’ll be where the ball is. And that’s what makes him such a great player - it’s the things where it’s not really his responsibility, but he makes the play on the ball.

“Then, when you think he’s really undisciplined back there, you try to take advantage of it, and then he’s there right where he should be, playing his responsibility.’’

And while Brady is watching the Ravens, they have had an eye on him. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was asked if he has noticed any tentativeness in Brady’s approach.

“I don’t know, because he doesn’t have those weapons that he used to have, when he had that receiving corps,’’ said Suggs.

“They were stacked the year they went undefeated. This year they’ve got the young guy and the new tight end [Chris Baker]. I think he’s still the same player. He’s still capable of winning big games.’’

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