Patriots vs Tampa Bay Bucs: Talent Ahoy Matey!

Stevan Ridley Patriots

Can Stevan Ridley follow up his debut with another solid performance?

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

The pre-season is all about evaluating talent, positional battles, and staying healthy. Here are a few things I’m looking for tonight against the Bucs.

Tight ends – Not only am I excited to see how Gronkowski performs after really impressing during training camp, but I’m also eager to see if Hernandez, Smith or Yeatman will be rotated into the first team offense. Hernandez had some trouble holding onto the ball a week ago, but I think he could be a really exciting player this year if he can get rid of his jitters.

Offensive line – There’s not much to prove along the first team line, but I am excited to see Maneri and Solder again this week at the bookends of the second team line.

Running backs – Unfortunately Vereen is still out in the second week of the preseason, but this will hopefully be our first glimpse at Green-Ellis. With the Lawfirm back, will we see Ridley play with the first team at all?

Quarterbacks – Will Hoyer play? That’s the big question. My hope is yes. Hoyer is extremely valuable as a 2nd string QB and as future trade bait. I might be in the minority, but if Brady goes down, I’m not ready to rely on a rookie yet.

Linebackers – Fletcher will be manning the MLB spot again this week. Hopefully he’ll be as impressive as he was last week. I also look forward to seeing Guyton running around as the SLB against Winslow. Guyton’s speed could be huge for the Patriots this season.

Cornerbacks – I’m not worried at all about McCourty and Bodden, but hopefully we’ll see some early reps out of Butler. He didn’t look horrible last week, but he also wasn’t facing the most impressive batch of WRs or QBs. This week, with Freeman and Johnson throwing the ball to Williams and Benn, it could be a little more trouble.

Defensive line – With Ellis and Haynesworth most likely not playing for the second week in a row, there’s a lot of battles for job security out there with this group. Pryor and Love have to man the middle better than they did last week. If Andre Carter, Mark Anderson, Jermaine Cunningham and Eric Moore can get pressure against the Bucs offensive line, they shouldn’t have trouble this season.

Safeties – Sergio Brown has a chance to make a statement this week. He looked okay last week, but if he has a chance to secure the starting FS job, he’s going to need to show more. Bret “Kardashian” Lockett will also be an interesting player to watch this week.

Buddy Farnham – With Ryan Lavarnway debuting for the Sox and Buddy Farnham going both ways, it could be a big day for Ivy League athletics.

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2 Responses to “Patriots vs Tampa Bay Bucs: Talent Ahoy Matey!”

  1. Bill says:

    Ok. Tampa Bay has a legitimate D-line and this will be interesting to see if Solder will pass the test as a rookie OL for the Pat’s

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