FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — One of the things I try to do weekly is review each Patriots game after seeing it live, as it often leads to a greater understanding of not just what happened, but also why it happened.
Yet I’m sometimes reminded that while that is an important thing to do, the interpretations that are sometimes made aren’t always accurate, or they are missing critical context that only the players themselves can provide.
Here is an example from this week:
In explaining in a Sunday column why I thought it was important for quarterback Tom Brady to play in a preseason game, I cited his first snap as a reflection of the rustiness he was trying to shake off. It was a play-action pass and based on film review, it appeared either Brady or running back LeGarrette Blount turned the wrong way.
In the locker room Monday, it was my first chance to follow up with Blount, and I approached him with my notes from the game to ask him about the play.
Blount smiled and knew exactly what I was talking about, saying he understood why it would appear that either he or Brady turned the wrong way. But he explained to me that they actually both turned in the correct direction, even though it made the play-action look way out of whack.
The reason is that Blount abruptly peeled off to the left because he said the defender he was assigned to block was coming on a blitz. He essentially made the decision to abandon the play-action fake to protect The Franchise.
It was also something I couldn’t, or simply failed, to pick up on film review.
So while I still feel the same way about the importance of Brady playing — his near interception to Martellus Bennett was a good example of how game conditions speed things up and stress fundamentals/footwork — the initial example I used wasn’t an effective one.
And a reminder of the importance of following up with players on areas of interpretation such as that one.