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line was a work in progress that wasnt sho
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - New Englands offensive line was a work in progress that wasnt showing much progress.The player the Patriots could least afford to lose was under pressure in the very first game behind a rebuilt line that had just lost its toughest blocker.Four sacks of Tom Brady in that 33-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins 12 days after six-time Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins was traded to Tampa Bay didnt bode well.But the linemen stayed confident as they grew accustomed to their first-year assistant coach Dave DeGuglielmo and are ready for Saturdays divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.Its just a matter of going through a lot of things together and gaining that familiarity, left tackle Nate Solder said after that game. I think it will all work together as long as we continue to do the things that were coached to do.The cohesion and communication improved as the season went on.The Patriots (12-4) allowed 10 sacks in the first four games, going 2-2. They finally settled on a starting line in the fifth game and allowed just 16 sacks in the final 12 games with a 10-2 record.Thats 26 total sacks, 14 fewer than the Patriots allowed last season.The big thing is communication and working together, said Dan Connolly, the teams most veteran lineman who started the first three games at centre before settling in at Mankins position. Were kind of the team within the team. The five of us have got to work together in our blocking combinations.That togetherness will be tested Saturday against one of the NFLs most aggressive pass rushing teams.The Ravens (11-6) were tied for second with 49 sacks. A bunch of those came with just three or four pass rushers.Were blessed with a number of guys that can really rush the passer, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. It gives you one extra guy in coverage. So the fewer guys you can send to get pressure on the quarterback, the better off youre going to be.At least admitted plodder Brady has shown a greater tendency to scramble this season.He had his longest run since 2007 in the 14th game, a 41-13 victory over Miami.Brady ran 17 yards for a first down before taking a hard hit that knocked him out of bounds at the Dolphins 3-yard line. On the next play, the Patriots scored on LeGarrette Blounts 3-yard run for a 21-13 lead on the first possession of the third quarter.Against the Ravens, Brady will try to avoid Elvis Dumervil, who had 17 sacks, Terrell Suggs, who had 12, and the rest of their pass rushers.They do a great job getting after the quarterback, Brady said. They blitz a decent amount of times, so were going to need to be able to move around in the pocket and try to buy ourselves a little more time. All of these guys can still run me down. It doesnt matter. Im still slower than all of those guys.The emergence of rookie centre Bryan Stork was critical to the lines improvement. Hes been helped by having former centres Connolly and Ryan Wendell on either side of him.Connolly said Stork is growing up and becoming a good professional.Weve got to let him just run the show. Hes the centre. Hes got to do those sorts of things, Connolly said. But it always helps to have guys next to you that know whats going on.When Connolly missed a Jets game with a knee injury, Brady was sacked four times. Connolly and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back injury) missed the last game and the Patriots allowed four sacks, three against backup Jimmy Garoppolo.Both linemen might have played in the finale had the Patriots not clinched the AFCs top seed before that 17-9 loss to Buffalo.Brady will need all five regulars against the Ravens.All of those guys are tied together. That job is tough to do, Brady said. Theyve got the best athletes, maybe in the world, sitting on the other side trying to go kill the quarterback and theyve got to do everything they can to defend and not hold.And keep Brady safe.Its a lot of pressure on us, Connolly said. Its our job to make sure Tom stays upright, so thats what were going to try to do this week.___AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL Cheap Mark Grace Jersey . -- Michael Frazier II scored 21 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 11 and No. Cheap Chicago Cubs Jerseys . On Thursday, a judge said Varlamov could be released if he posted $5,000 bond and be allowed to travel with the team but he was ordered to stay away from his girlfriend, among other restrictions. http://www.cheapcubsjerseysshop.com/?tag...dux-jersey .com) - The Buffalo Bills will return to the friendly confines of Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday when they welcome the upstart Cleveland Browns to town. Cheap Ernie Banks Jersey .James scored 29 points, including 16 in the first quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers broke a four-game losing streak with a 106-74 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Cheap Cubs Jerseys Authentic . The Redskins announced Monday that the quarterback who led the team to the Super Bowl championship in the 1987 season will serve as a personnel executive.How can you not write, talk and sing the praises of the dominant defences we witnessed during Week 4 of the 2014 season?Heres a few statistical gems that jumped out from a week where the attention turned from great throws, catches and runs to bone-crushing hits, interceptions and stifling defensive play.A total of nine touchdowns were scored during Week 4, as opposed to an average of just over 18 in the first three weeks of the season. Remember, one of those nine touchdowns was scored by the defence - thats when Odell Willis had a pick-six to open the scoring for the week. That was six minutes and 17 seconds into the first game of the week. From there, only eight offensive touchdowns for the rest of the week.Thank goodness special teams and our kickers were on point for the most part of Week 4. In total, the legs of the CFL were 20 of 23 or 87 per cent on the week, but even that portion of the game was marred by a botched last-minute field goal attempt by Hamilton. Costly!The defences were so strong in Week 4 that they lowered the average total scoring by 17.9 points per game, from 49.7 the first three weeks to 31.8 in Week 4.What is going on and whos causing all these problems for the offences around the league?Crazy fact of the week - Six of the nine teams in the CFL have new defensive coordinators and five of the nine have new offensive coordinators.Typically, defences will start out hot and further ahead of the offences as training camp ends. The thinking here is that offensive play is more about timing, working in unison, and it takes longer to come together than the reaction-based defensive schemes. I say hold on, partner. Thats not what Im seeing these days. What Im watching is more diversified defensive schemes that are every bit as difficult to perfect. Schemes that require as much, if not more, time to master all the necessary subtleties needed in order to be consistently successful.Im seeing defences that are not relying solely on reaction, but that are taking the upper hand and dictating to the offences.This is the classic and constant game of chess that has been played out since the genesis of football. Last week, the defence had the offence on its heels, stymied and confused. They had the offence in protect mode and retreating.Offensively speaking, you cannot play this way and expect to succeed. The challenge is to flip the script and be aggressive and attack. You must put the defence on its heels and in a retreat mode. Offences must be offensive and make defences be defensive! They must dictate to the defence the tempo of the game, impose their will, rhythm and flow as to how the game is going to be played. Easier said than done, yes, bbut especially when you are meshing new systems with young signal callers.ddddddddddddThis past week, we saw some young quarterbacks on their heels, flustered and with their eyes not right. Thats when the quarterbacks eyes are not on their reads or indicators and going through their progressions. Their eyes are darting all over the place and not down field, but fixated on defenders in their face, closing ground and fast. Theyre feeling pressure when its not there, moving out of a perfectly fine throwing lane or pocket because theyre not locked in. Thats usually about the time when receivers are running free, down field, wide open while the quarterbacks are seeing ghosts, getting happy feet and not able to deliver the ball or make that throw that could stop the insanity and pressure altogether.This week, the defensive pressure, ability to cover and schemes all played a huge part in causing this to happen. The defence dictated and overwhelmingly won Week 4s chess match.The video tells the truth or, as they say, "The eye in the sky does not lie."Veteran Kevin Glenn capitalized on a solid Montreal defence by attacking, staying focused and delivering while under pressure.Ricky Ray had his chances down field. He missed once on a big play himself and on a couple other big play opportunities, he did not get the help needed on the other end.Mike Reilly hung tough in the pocket and found the big play on a busted assignment in the Winnipeg secondary. Miraculously, on several occasions, the tough-as-nails quarterback did his impersonation of Houdini and escaped extreme pressure, piling up 96 yards rushing, making the difference in that ball game.Other than that, Bo-Levi Mitchell, even in victory, was not sharp and missed on several plays. Remember the only offensive touchdown in that contest came on a reverse pass that went bad. Brad "Sinopoli Money" made something out of nothing and scored on a brilliant run for his first-ever CFL touchdown.Henry Burris found a way to win, but, never found the end zone. He should have found the end zone at  least once, but thats another story. Henry kept his poise, under pressure, and delivered a big play in the end when the game was on the line. Torontos defence did everything they could, holding Ottawa to six field goals! Congratulations to the Ottawa Redblacks for finding a way to win on a special night in the nations capital.The other quarterbacks have some work to do and, lets just say, they struggled against some great defensive performances that dominated Week 4.Crazy stat of Week 4: the Eastern division is 0-9 on the road this season, including 0-8 on the road vs. Western teams! 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