FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have plenty of work to do with their offense before they show they can contend for another Super Bowl berth.
Chances are they'll do it.
With just one of their four exhibition games remaining, the Patriots haven't moved the ball consistently while shifting players around in the offensive line and dividing playing time among receivers, several of them not likely to make the team.
Still, coach Bill Belichick wasn't happy after Friday night's 30-28 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which Tom Brady threw an interception for a touchdown and was sacked twice.
"We didn't do anything offensively except lose yardage and turn the ball over. It was tough to watch any of what we did offensively," Belichick said.
The Patriots added talent and depth to their already potent passing attack in the offseason by signing wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. They already had Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to catch Brady's throws.
But Welker sat out the last two games and Lloyd, Gronkowski and Hernandez returned Friday night after resting in the Patriots 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. And Brady played just two series in the opening 7-6 win over the New Orleans Saints, then didn't suit up against the Eagles.
Once the top players get their usual playing time in the regular season, the offense will pick up. Still, Brady did play three quarters at Tampa Bay and threw for just 127 yards on 13 completions in 20 attempts. And Lloyd caught only one of those passes.
"We've got a lot of work to do in being consistent and putting drives together to get the ball into the end zone," said Lloyd, who played for the Patriots' new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, the past two seasons. "We are developing as an offense and we're trying to integrate as much of the running game and pass catchers as possible, but I think what it is coming down to is that we all need to make plays and be more consistent out there on the football field."
That should be easier once the first-string offensive line is back together.
Left guard Logan Mankins played Friday night for the first time since undergoing offseason knee surgery. Sebastian Vollmer will help at right tackle once his back problems subside. And right guard Brian Waters, outstanding in his first year with the Patriots last season, would be an improvement if he reports to camp.
Belichick hasn't said why Waters hasn't shown up, but there's still two weeks left before the opening game at Tennessee on Sept. 9 and he could be ready by then.
Left tackle Matt Light, who protected Brady's blind side for the past 11 seasons, retired and has been replaced by second-year pro Nate Solder. But Brady said he still has confidence in the offensive line.