Pats fans have been putting a lot of stock in the first two pre-season games. Too much stock. So maybe we shouldn't overreact to this Detroit drubbing. However, there were some things I saw in this game that have me concerned:
-Protecting Brady: The offensive line didn't give Brady the time to make reads and find the open receiver. They didn't give him the space to step into his throws. He consistently underthrew the ball, even when pressure wasn't directly in front of him, perhaps as a result of the early pressure that was there. The Jets beat the Pats thanks in part to their pass rush. If Brady doesn't have the time and space to be Tom Brady, then the Patriots don't have the capability to go deep into the playoffs.
-Brady Himself: He didn't look sharp. Some of his incompletions were simply bad passes. He didn't even see the safety on his interception, which is uncharacteristic for him. As well as Detroit's pass-rushers played, Brady didn't take his trademark step in the right direction to avoid the pressure. He didn't seem to have the same pocket instincts we're accustomed to seeing him demonstrate.
-Playing Smart on Defense: How many times was the defense fooled Saturday night? It takes only one guy not doing their job, just one guy out of position in order for an entire defensive scheme to collapse. That happened several times, and the result was disastrous big plays.
-The Quality of the WRs: Wes Welker had a great game, catching 3 passes for 71 yards, and making a nice open-field tackle after an interception. And the Pats do have plenty of pass-catching options at WR, TE, and RB. But none of these guys are a deep threat, so the safeties can pretty much do what they want. And none of these guys require extra attention or double-coverage, so opposing defenses can feel free to send extra bodies to attack the QB.
I'm not in panic mode about this team, but they do have question marks, and they do need to improve in certain key areas. While it's true that some defensive players stayed home in Foxborough, if this team's success is reliant on old men like Haynesworth and Ellis, then it's going to be a very long season.
Pats host the Giants in their final pre-season game this Thursday.