Bill Belichick decisive in the Patriots’ steps for success moving forward

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There were many good and bad takeaways from the New England Patriots’ 17-16 season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Primarily, the bad takeaways came from the turnovers (four fumbles, two lost) and the penalties (eight for 84 yards). Outside of those errors, the Patriots looked lightyears better than they did in the 2020 season.

Mac Jones came out slinging the ball, while ending the game throwing 29 of 39 for 281 yards and a touchdown. He converted 11 of 16 third downs and the selection of pass-catchers was a huge factor in that success. The Patriots’ pass rush showed potential with Josh Uche, Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower flying into the backfield.

Following the loss, Bill Belichick discussed the necessary improvement needed going forward.

“There’s a lot of things all of us could have done better in the game,” Belichick said, transcribed by NESN. “So I think we all need to improve on the areas we’re responsible for and do a better job next week. … I thought we played hard and gave good effort, but there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement in every area by all of us, so that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

Instead of just putting the blame on Damien Harris’ fumble on the final drive, Belichick dished it out to the entire team and coaching staff.

“We did some good things in the game,” Belichick said. “We certainly had our opportunities. But we didn’t do enough in any area to have the results that we want, so there’s a lot of room for improvement for all of us — coaches, players. Whatever position you want to name, whatever player you want to name, everybody did enough good things to give us an opportunity and put us in position, and we were competitive and had our chances.

“But in the end, we weren’t able to take advantage of them and capitalize on them, so we all have a lot of work to do in terms of finishing those opportunities and getting the results we want. I don’t know any other way to put it. It’s the same for everybody. There’s no ‘one player cost us the game and some other player won the game for us.’ That’s just not what happened.”

Most importantly, Belichick knows the penalties will be the first thing to work on.

“We’ll continue to address it,” Belichick said. “We haven’t been a highly penalized team. We don’t want that, and hopefully we’ll have fewer of them going forward. Hopefully we can do a better job of coaching it, and the players have to make decisions.

“It’s a fast game; there’s a lot happening there, but hopefully we can certainly eliminate some of the penalties that don’t involve that, use good judgment on our playing style and make good decisions.”

The Patriots head to MetLife Stadium in Week 2 to take on the New York Jets.

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