No Pressure On These Patriots

Fred Taylor

When the Patriots face the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night it will be their first game in over a year with Tom Brady back at the helm. They face a division rival and the game is on national TV. Does that bring any additional pressure? Not for these Patriots.

One would think New England's offense would be feeling added pressure to perform this season given the state of the defense, which has now lost four starters from last season following the trade of Richard Seymour to Oakland.

Not in Foxboro, where it's business as usual this week with the Buffalo Bills looming on the horizon Monday night. In fact, this offense, despite some question marks and high expectations, seems relatively relaxed.

"No added pressure," running back Fred Taylor said. "Going into each and every game, as an offense, we want to execute and we have to trust the defense. That's the way it's always been. We just have to trust each other.

"In football, they always say, 'Be prepared to play 60 minutes.' That's the way you approach the games. You have to be tough -- mentally tough, physically tough -- to be able to operate when you're tired, whatever the score is. Thirty points ... you're not always going to score it."

Perhaps the return of quarterback Tom Brady has something to do with this surprisingly laid-back attitude.

Brady was last healthy for a full season in 2007 when he threw an NFL-record 50 touchdown passes. If he's anywhere close to that performance, the Patriots can be expected to put plenty of points on the board each week.

For what it's worth, none of the impending confusion on defense will mean much if Brady and his linemates do their job, which, in simplistic terms, is to reach the end zone.

"Our job is to go out and score," guard Logan Mankins said. "I don't know anything about our defense. That's all on them. I just worry about the offense. They have a job to do."

On paper, it appears this offense has what it takes, but those questions won't begin to be answered until Monday night. How will Brady's surgically-repaired knee hold up? Can this team run the ball with a versatile, yet aging, group of backs? On paper, the answers seem obvious.

"You don't take the paper into the game," Taylor said. "You've still got to play, got to execute, you have to factor in turnovers and injuries. But on paper, it looks outstanding, like an all-star squad. But you've still got to go out there and play."

 


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