Friday, August 13, 2010
The first pre-season game is about as meaningful as the day of training camp preceding it. The opponents aren't really focused on beating you. They haven't studied you, haven't focused on you, haven't devised a gameplan to exploit your weaknesses and avoid your strengths. It's a scrimmage in a Stadium. Not much more.
Julian Edelman was the standout offensive performer. He caught 6 passes for 90 yards. Everyone touts Edelman as a stopgap replacement for Welker. He's not, folks. Welker is one in a trillion. But I would like to see Edelman as a 4th receiver in a bunched up kind of 4 WR formation. Welker on one side, Edelman on the other. They could run some interesting routes that would give Brady two outlets, and really mess with the opposing defense's coverages.
Aaron Hernandez has had an impressive camp, and looked good last night. He's athletic, and knows how to use every ounce of the speed he has. The Pats haven't had reliable tight-end play since the Fauria era.
The running game looked good last night. But Maroney has to do a lot more to convince me that he's worth a roster spot. We've seen him have good games before. It's the consistency. And that's priority #1 with a running game.
The defense contained the vaunted Saints offense, especially when the starters were in there. But as I mentioned above, it's not like the Saints schemed anything to play the Pats. They, like the Patriots, are evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses.
Darius Butler is too undisciplined to be a truly reliable CB.
It's hard to get any accurate assessment from this game, especially on the defensive side. The Patriots defense was statistically good last year, allowing the 5th fewest points in the NFL. But it was a matter of when and how those points were allowed. The Patriots didn't come up with the big stops in pivotal and pressured situations. There are no pivotal or pressured situations in pre-season.