BY NICK ST. DENIS
The AFC East currently boasts the best and worst red zone offenses in the NFL. The New England Patriots are one of them.
And that's not a good thing.
The Patriots are converting red zone trips into touchdowns at a 30.77 percent rate, a league low. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recognizes having Rob Gronkowski on the field would help but says he won't make excuses.
"He’s just a big target and he’s got a great catch radius," Brady said Monday. "He really hasn’t been out there this year. Hopefully at some point when
he’s back, he can play a role. When he’s not out there, look, we have to
count on the other guys to do it. I know we haven’t been great in the
red area this year, but it’s no excuse."
After New England went 2-for-5 in the red zone against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, Brady assured the pass-catchers he has to work with now "are plenty capable" of getting it done inside the 20-yard line and that it equally falls on himself and the running game.
"We’ve been practicing it quite a bit,"Brady said. "We’ve definitely left some points on the board, just poor execution. I’ve been one of the main culprits. Hopefully I try to improve that."
The Patriots finished 2012 with the third-most efficient red zone offense, converting on 67.5 trips. The Miami Dolphins currently lead the league in efficiency at 87.5.
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