Patriots notebook

Reel world sets in after unsightly loss

Back at practice, Randy Moss and Bill Belichick know the offense will have to perform much better than it did in the first half against the Rams. Back at practice, Randy Moss and Bill Belichick know the offense will have to perform much better than it did in the first half against the Rams. (Bill Greene/Globe Staff)
By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / August 31, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — Watching film of New England’s exhibition loss to St. Louis Thursday wasn’t quite as bad as playing through it.

That didn’t stop Patriots coach Bill Belichick from giving his players plenty to digest when the team met the day after the 36-35 setback.

“He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again [Sunday],’’ Tom Brady said during his paid appearance on WEEI yesterday. “There’s always a running joke with our team — the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.’’

Since New England’s first-teamers struggled against the Rams, no one was immune from Belichick’s pie throwing.

“He gives it to everybody,’’ Brady said. “I don’t think it’s only a defensive thing. I think there are days when offensively we can certainly do a lot of things better, especially Thursday night when we had the ball for 14 minutes so we couldn’t do anything to stay on the field early on. I thought we picked some things up as the game went on but I think we have to be more consistent throughout the course of the game. We have to do a better job of scoring points early and getting off to much better starts.’’

The defense allowed Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford to look like a seasoned veteran, and the offense posted three three-and-outs and one drive that lasted four plays in the first half.

As painful as things seemed Thursday night, they were slightly better Friday morning.

“I’m not going to say it always looks better, but as a competitor you always make things look worse than they are,’’ Kevin Faulk said. “But there wasn’t nothing good about the game.’’

Faulk noted that film was watched, mistakes will be corrected, and the team will move on.

“[Belichick] let us know what he thought about [the game], which everybody knows it wasn’t a good job,’’ Faulk said. “It wasn’t [up to] New England’s standards or anybody’s standards . . . but at the same time you have to look back at it, learn from your mistakes and come back the next day and try to win another game. You can’t pout about it.’’

Return man
Receiver/special teamer Matthew Slater returned to practice yesterday, having missed nearly all of training camp with an undisclosed injury (his lower left leg was in a neoprene wrap, which may provide some clue). The third-year player out of UCLA faces an uphill battle to make the roster, and missing so much time makes that more difficult.

“No one wants to be here and just watch,’’ Slater said. “And I know, around here, every day is important for me to get out on the field and compete . . . but injury is just something that’s part of the game and it’s out of my control.’’

A fifth-round pick in 2008, Slater has always faced long odds to make the roster, and has done whatever has been asked of him. Initially, he practiced as a defensive back, then switched to receiver.

Yesterday, he joked that if he was asked to get down in a three-point stance and play right tackle he’d do his best Jackie Slater impression — a nod to his father, who is in the Hall of Fame at the position.

“I have to come out here with an attitude of humility and realize I’m not too good to do anything and just try to work and treat each day as if it’s my last,’’ he said.

More Jet fuel
Rodney Harrison believes the Patriots have heard enough bluster from the Jets, and are eagerly awaiting the teams’ AFC East showdown in Week 2.

Speaking on an NBC Sports conference call yesterday, the former New England safety and current “Sunday Night Football’’ commentator believes Brady’s recent comment that he “hates the Jets’’ is a reflection of the team’s feelings for its rival.

“Tom Brady is an honest guy, but Tom really never comes out and blatantly says how much he hates a particular team, so obviously they are very tired and fed up with all the trash-talking,’’ Harrison said.

He added that players get particularly bothered when a coach makes bold predictions — as Rex Ryan has with the Jets — since a coach isn’t the one on the field.

Bottom line for Harrison: “You better believe the Patriots have that [Week 2] game circled. They’ve always hated the Jets, but they hate them even more now.’’

Inactives abound
While Slater and receiver Darnell Jenkins returned to practice yesterday, quite a few of their teammates did not participate in the full-pads session: Julian Edelman, Terrence Wheatley (foot), Leigh Bodden, Bret Lockett, Kyle Arrington (groin), Brandon McGowan, Brandon Deaderick, Nick Kaczur (back), Aaron Hernandez, Darryl Richard, Myron Pryor, Jermaine Cunningham, and Ron Brace (ankle). Arrington, Pryor, Cunningham, and Brace were on the field as observers, as was Hernandez, who spent several minutes at the close of practice working one-on-one with Brady on end zone routes . . . Speaking on WEEI yesterday, linemen Vince Wilfork and Damione Lewis were asked about the proposed 18-game regular season, and both said money will be a major sticking point for players: “If we’re going to play 18 games, we should get paid for 18 games,’’ Lewis said.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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