Quick hits from Josh McDaniels

Passing along some soundbites from a conference call with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Monday afternoon.

Assessing Tom Brady's first half and his pocket awareness.

"I think that the quarterback in general and Tom [specifically] is evaluated on decision-making, his accuracy and his ability to take care of the football and ultimately get our offense into the end zone. I think that Tom's always trying to get better, he's always working hard at it. Certainly [there are] things he can do better than what we've done over the first portion of the season. And I know he'll work at trying to maximize his performance going forward. I think his pocket awareness and the things he does in the pocket, I think that's always been a strength of his. I think he does a great job of understanding at the quarterback position it's always kind of an invisible clock in your head and you know based on the scheme or the protection how many blockers we're keeping in, how many receivers we're sending out and that may change or alter how much time you have to deliver the football. I think he's very aware of those different dynamics that happen on each pass play and I think he generally does a really good job of distributing the ball where it needs to be distributed, and also understanding that on certain plays there's a time and a place to hold it and there's a time and a place to take the check-down and throw the ball underneath and even throw the ball away, move on to the next play and try to get the first down some other way. I think he's somebody that obviously understands our passing game, and his ability to operate within that system and do the right thing is certainly a big thing for us and will be going forward."

On tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who is currently on injured reserve with the designation to return.

"Visanthe's obviously been in the league a long time and has had a lot of productivity prior to being here. I think that he had a few opportunities before he got injured there in training camp, and then has only had a few opportunities since coming back. I think in order to make a decision or to evaluate that, I think every day is important, every opportunity that he gets is important, every opportunity that we get to see him is important in terms of trying to make a good evaluation. However that unfolds, you're adding another competitive player to a competitive position on our team and then trying to get the best out of that position in general. I'm excited to have another guy out there that can do some different things, has the skill set that he's certainly been productive in the NFL before. And I think every day is going to be hopefully a growing experience for him as he gets better within our system, and we better understand how he fits into it as well."

On the play of offensive tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.

"I think our offensive line as a whole has done a nice job, and like every position on offense, we have room to improve, room to grow and play better than we have. But I know we ask a lot of different things out of our tackle position, we ask them do certain things in the screen game and they do. We ask them to pass protect, single block some good pass rushers, and they've gone out there and really tried to answer the challenge. I know we ask them to pull and do certain things in the running game. We run outside, run inside, so there's a lot of different functions that they serve, and I think that by and large if you can protect your quarterback and run the football and do some of those things and stay out of negative situations, certainly it reflects positively on the work of the offensive line. And obviously the tackles are a big part of that group."