Patriots vs Eagles: 15 Thoughts from the First Preseason Game

9. The acquisition of Tommy Kelly gets overlooked, but his acquisition could be the biggest of the off-season besides Amendola. The Patriots pass rush is still a big question mark and it’s important that he provides some interior pass rush. That’s exactly what he did during tonight’s game getting credit for a sack and along with Chandler Jones, forcing a fumble. Kelly is a huge upgrade over Kyle Love if he plays like he did two years ago.

10. Duron Harmon looked like a much better player than Tavon Wilson tonight. Both players were considered major reaches in the last two drafts and the Patriots need one of them to work out. Tonight I was impressed by Harmon’s range from the hash to the sideline and his overall instincts. He was communicating with teammates and looked sure of himself on the field. Tavon Wilson had a number of missed tackles, failed to get deep on two occasions and looked vulnerable most of the night. If the last week in practice and this game is any indication, then Harmon may have passed Wilson on the depth chart (technically they are playing different positions)

11. Dane Fletcher stood out among the backups for his ability to cover the tight end. His loss was understated last season as the Patriots inability to cover TE hurt them all season. Fletcher broke up at least two passes and showed very good awareness in coverage. His spot on the team should be secure and will provide badly needed depth at the position. As of right now I think it’s like the Patriots keep six linebackers – Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Collins, Fletcher, Beauharnais.

12. Marcus Benard continued his impressive preseason by posting two sacks and getting pressure throughout the night. His sacks came against backups, but it’s encouraging that he is carrying his practice performance to the game. Early in the night we saw Benard lined up as a DT in sub-packages. He really struggled to get any sort of pressure or penetration, but does show that the team is trying to find ways to get him on the field.

13. Besides Benard, I thought Michael Buchanan was the next best backup DE. Buchanan was getting a good jump off the ball and created backside pressure on a number of occasions. Buchanan lost contain a few run plays as he bit on the inside hand-off, but overall I thought it was a decent first showing by the Illini rookie. Defensive End will be the position to watch during the next three preseason games because it’s a position battle that is very close and yet to shake out.

14. Stephen Gostkowski didn’t have a good night and he doesn’t inspire much confidence from me. He makes over 3 million dollars this year and I was very surprised they didn’t bring in any camp competition. When Gostkowski is missing he misses wide right. That’s where he was hitting the ball tonight. Maybe we see another kicker signed this week to keep him on his toes.

15. This week was a huge week for Logan Ryan. He received a vast majority of the reps at CB and got plenty of experience. Corner is the toughest position to play as a rookie and he had his ups and downs. He was beaten on the first pass of the game, but settled in. Ryan is considered a very good tackler for a CB, but missed a tackle that lead to a Greg Salas touchdown. As a whole, the secondary has a lot of work to do, but Logan Ryan provides another capable body that they didn’t have last year.

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13 Responses to “Patriots vs Eagles: 15 Thoughts from the First Preseason Game”

  1. J H TARBORO says:

    Next game i would to see more of FBs James Devlin and Ben Bartholowmew TE Brandon Ford DT Joe Vallano WRs Quinten Sims, Kamar Aiken and Josh Boyce.

  2. ChevSS says:

    Under 4 above I’m surprised to see you describe Dobson as more physical than Boyce and Thompkins. He may be bigger but one of the biggest knocks on Dobson coming out in the draft was that, despite his size, he was a finesse receiver. In studying him I found that he would rather contort his body to make an acrobatic catch than to use his body to shield the defender from the ball. Dobson has good length & he uses his basketball background to high point balls with regularity. The Patriots haven’t had that kind of receiver since ‘good’ Moss. Physical receivers, in my mind, fight off the defender, out muscle them & catch the ball against extreme contact; they lay out for the ball. That describes Boyce and Thompkins perfectly. These kids are tough. They are also impressive when using their aggressiveness to make blocks down field. Thompkins is especially tenacious with his blocks. Prior to the draft, the only WRs I had higher than Thompkins for the Pats were Markus Wheaton & Mark Harrison (IR please).

  3. steve earle says:

    I still don’t see much potential from Tebow and have to agree with those who ask “why is he here?” Perhaps when the cut downs come a decent backup QB will become available to push Mallette? Or not? Still I can’t see Tebow taking up a slot on the team in spite of the many who think he will.
    Can’t say I saw any joy from the DBs thus far but the front 7 looks good though not up to full potential yet. Looking forward to the next two games when we will get a clearer picture.

  4. steve says:

    I’m going to take a stronger stance on this Tebow thing, and I’m going to apologize now for discussing and/or mentioning his name.

    My biggest concern about him being on this team, even if it’s a bone thrown his way to attend a camp and show if he’s worthy, is that McDaniel’s has too much of a say in this offense and was the driving force in bringing him onboard. This I find scary…He OBVIOUSLY can NOT play the position, so why is he here???

    Now, last night may hold part of the answer. Brady can’t be taking too many preseason snaps for risk of injury, obvious enough. You want to develop & display Mallett also, while actually running your offense so these other (non-starters) can get a solid look and opportunity (I feel badly for these kids trying to make the team, because once Mallett went out and Tebow came in their chances to shine were history….the offense was not run and it became garbage time). But, at least a body could be thrown (no pun) out there to take the snaps and eat up the rest of the game. Let him take the hits and sacks in these try out/practice games.

    But, all this being said, for the sake of common sense, my sanity, etc…PLEASE CUT THIS USELESS QB and let’s get on with it already. And, if McDaniel still feels he has a purpose then maybe he needs to go with him eventually, because if an offensive coordinator still doesn’t see this obvious useless QB then I’m not sure what future he has.

    It’s now just scary to me….

  5. Walter Back says:

    O dd how people see what they want to see re Tebow. His haters are spreading their venom today but looking at vids I thought he was not too bad, played like a real football player and showed he could really run the read option with strong running. Few NFL qbs can run like Tebow. His pasing was at best spotty, but if Sudfeld had held on to a beautiful pass over the middle, Tebow could have gone probably 6 for 12 with 75 or 80 yards passing to go with his good running. IF Tim ever gets his completion % up to around 55 he will be a force in the NFL. Ithink and hope Bill and Josh keep him on the roster for a chance for this to happen. This necessary improvement has not happened yet, but if it does their are going to be alot of sad, quiet, dirtbag haters out there especially at ESPN.

  6. steve says:

    Story of the game (tryout/practice) is Thompkins. Brady was very sharp, running game looked solid, as we felt it would be with that talent, but finding a young receiver that Brady trusts and runs inside and out is huge. Forget about Mallett or Tebow…they won’t be playing regardless of making the team, so it’s not such a story. Tebow can’t play, Mallett looked just ok, and I’m hoping he plays well so they can possibly trade him…take a 4th rounder now and be done with it…Let Tebow stay and hold a clipboard, but I’d rather see his act elsewhere.

    These preseason games are not really games….they’re try outs…people are being put in situations with different combinations, putting the final score on the backburner; so, stop with the “statements” and hidden meanings to everything…JESUS!!!! If it were a game Brady would have been with the best players all game, same with the D, and the same with the Eagles.

    They simply look to have some young talent at receiver….very exciting to see. I think we knew Dobson & Boyce would be ok, and I’m not worried about the TE’s…there’s enough talent there and Gronk can take the first 6 games off without any problem. And, the defense will evolve…even if it sucks early, as it often does, it will be competitive by December like clockwork.

    The story is they have talent at receiver…we can all relax, and Thompkins is a find!

  7. Paul in Atlanta says:

    I thought Mallett was as awful as Sapp and Irvin in the booth….and he played vs many of the Eagle second stringers. We have a serious problem is #12 goes down. The Boyce miss aside, he just can’t throw timing patterns. He overthrew Sudfeld (we need a nickname for him) and Zach’s 6’7. Speaking of Zach – love this guy and his run launched me out of my chair.
    I hope we throw to Boyce more next.

    Is it time to bring in Feeley, Leinart? Yikes! Maybe trade a 7th for Jimmy Clausen???

  8. azdude says:

    all and all very positive game last night. The secondary has me worried again (yes I am aware it is only the first preseason game). I just don’t understand why we cant draft players that can be effective in the secondary. We keep wasting 2nd and 3rd round picks on these nobodies who just don’t seem to be getting it. We continuously go against the scouts and their top DB rankings. Would it have been so hard to go after a top 5 corner or safety?

    On the positive side, running game was great, TFB was TFB and the WR/TE/DL/LBs stepped up and looked good. Also, pretty excited about Tommy Kelly. I think he is going to be great next to big Vince.

  9. Chris says:

    Opening NPD this morning I was almost hoping Hope was going to being authoring the aftermath to see how he could spin Tebows performance into one of a starting QB that could lead the Pats… Normally there isn’t anything of substance to take from a preseason game to translate to the regular season but I’m officially done with Tebow, signed the paperwork this morning, and feel that the only thing he did right last night was kill the clock and not lose the game for what it’s worth. Personally I’d like Tebow to be dropped so the Pats could explore another possible option at QB since Mallett simply doesn’t look like he’s made much progress either between another lack luster camp and happy feet that betray his seemingly understanding of the Pats offense. Someone of value should be explored as preseason cuts begin across the league. The Tebow experiment is over. Don’t waste any additional reps on him and to be honest I felt badly for other receivers that he simply makes look bad with ankle tosses and duck spirals that are difficult to catch versus reps with a legit pro QB to at least accurately gauge how they perform catching semi accurate passes. Damn shame. So lets shake hands, bless each other and let the Tebow and his Pat Robertson fans go follow the CFL. God bless.

  10. JMC says:

    Blount was good (against some very bad tackling) but his balance is wrong- He’s standing too straight up and stops his legs on the first hit hoping to make a cut- He’s not going to be that type of back- They should have his watch some film of Benny when he was with the Pats- If he can adopt that form, he can be a successful situational back- if not, he may fade as the defenses get (much) better)-

  11. Rich says:

    Did Donald Jones see the field at all and if not why?

    • NEPD says:

      No. He was cut.

    • steve says:

      That’s funny…he not only quit, but he’s officially retired this week because of kidney disease. He’s been off the team for about a month, maybe longer.
      Where was Randy Vataha, why didn’t he see some action???

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