You wouldn't know it to watch the Patriots last Sunday against a hapless Buccaneers team, but New England ranks last in the league in red-zone efficiency. The good news is that they're still 3-0, and Tom Brady, their future Hall of Fame quarterback, aims to rectify that stat … well, immediately.
Which means that the Falcons, whom the Pats will face this week, could be in for a long day if everything comes together for an offense that continues to find its stride.
"I mean you got to get down there and score points, especially when you play good teams," Brady said this week. "You can't leave points out there. Like last week, we had a great opportunity. There was seven points. Not only did we not get seven, we didn't get any. You gotta be able to capitalize on scoring opportunities."
The easiest way to ramp up those red-zone numbers: Get Rob Gronkowski back on the field.
The Pro Bowl tight end hasn't played this season after undergoing arm and back surgery this summer. He was reportedly held out of the Bucs game as a precautionary measure, but it remains unclear if he'll suit up in Atlanta.
"We've played with him for a long time so you realize the caliber of player he is," Brady continued "But, you know, look, we're 3-0 without him out there," he said. "So we're just gonna play as long as we need to play until he's healthy enough play. Whenever that is, who knows. We're focused on trying to be a good offense no matter who is out there and whenever guys get back they'll have to deal with a different skill set. But we're just focused on the guys who have done the job for us thus far."
In other injury news, the Pats' other playmaker, Danny Amendola, said he's close to being completely healthy. Signed in the offseason as the younger Wes Welker, Amendola suffered a groin injury in Week 1's win over the Bills. He arrived in New England with a history of injury woes and they've proven true early in the season. Still, he sounded upbeat about returning to action soon.
"I anticipate being 100 percent shortly," he said, via the Boston Globe. "I don’t know when, but I’m getting closer. I’m feeling a lot better, getting a lot of good treatment, running around. …
"I got a lot of opinions from different guys," Amendola continued. "Whatever got me on the field fastest and in good health, and where I can do what I can do, that's the path we're on now."
Until then, Brady will continue to rely on Julian Edelman and a group of rookies that include Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce.