August 27, 2014

Gut Check – Pats at Eagles

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Some gut reactions after New England’s 27-25 preseason win over the Eagles after leading 24-6 early in the third quarter.

Oh My God, What’s Wrong With Tom Brady?: Just kidding. In terms of Brady’s interception, Randy Moss wins those jump balls ninety percent of the time. The quarterback ended up 10 of 15 for 100 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. But if he’s okay, whatever shall the national sports media obsess about?

Ah. Thank you, Michael Vick. Enjoy the cheesesteaks.

The Defensive Forefront: Mixed reviews overall on the 4-3 defense. Great to see rookies Myron Pryor and Ron Brace getting into the backfield. Not so great to see Eagle LeSean McCoy average 5.5 per carry. Neither Gary Guyton nor Tully Banta-Cain provides the outside leverage of, say, Richard Seymour. Let’s call it a work in progress.

Special Edelman: Now, I’ve been a Julian Edelman fan since the beginning (heh, heh. That’s a blatant lie). His 75-yard punt return in the second quarter, coupled with his shifty receiving (five catches, 37 yards), prove that when this guy gets his hands on the football, good things can happen.

(By the way, can we stop calling Edelman a “mini Wes Welker”? He’s listed at six feet. Welker’s listed at 5-foot-9. Both listings are generous.)

And another thing about special teams…

Special Delivery: Edelman’s punt return for a TD. Rookie Pat Chung’s field goal block in the final minute of the first half. Welcome to Foxboro, Coach Scott O’Brien.

Baker’s Dozen: Tight end Chris Baker caught two TDs. Yes, it’s early, but he looked like the all-around blocker/receiver New England has lacked. For his part, David Thomas played fullback in the first half and made a nice 15-yard grab early in the second.

Players Of The Weak: Cornerback Terrence Wheatley, linebacker Shawn Crable, tight end Alex Smith all failed to distinguish themselves tonight, albeit with limited opportunities. Halfback Laurence Maroney (six rushes, 14 yards) gets the benefit of the doubt due to Philly’s tough defense.

Rookies Don’t Lose That Number: This draft class has the most potential of any in Bill Belichick’s tenure. Edelman, Chung, Brace, Pryor and defensive back Darius Butler all contributed in the first half (we’ll choose to ignore Butler’s pass interference penalty in the third quarter and instead look at his ensuing interception on the two-point conversion attempt). Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer held his ground in the second. Guard Rich Ohrnberger’s blocking late sprung BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Long snapper Jake Ingram demonstrated consistency. Even receiver Terrence Nunn had a diving grab in the fourth quarter. The young ones who played showed promise.

And that’s the lure of the 2009 squad: potential for improvement. Coming off an 11-5 season, that’s a positive prospect.

E-mail Chris Warner at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Great stuff Chris. I also was impressed with Banta-Cain’s pass rush. Looks like he hasn’t lost a step and perhaps was just miscast in San Fran. I was slightly disappointed in Wheatley’s play. Overlooked in Edelman’s performance was a nice tackle on the opening kickoff. If he can cover kicks, he is even more of a lock to make the team. Crable didn’t do anything. Pryor showed a spark and I hadn’t heard much about him previously in camp. It appeared to me that McGowan was a bit ahead of Tank Williams for the 4th safety spot. Assuming they carry 4 safeties.

    • Chris Warner says:

      Good points, Greg. Yeah, for a couple of guys who came into camp with high expectations, Crable and Wheatley haven’t done much yet. Would have liked to see Crable in the defensive backfield more, but maybe that just wasn’t his role last night.

      I liked how Brady’s knee looked. It seemed to take its time scanning the field, and it didn’t hesitate to call its own number on a third and short. Sorry it couldn’t stop to talk to the media afterwards, but after last season I don’t blame it.

  2. Blastor138 says:

    Really? You give a pass to Maroney? He looked like the same running back we’ve seen since he’s been drafted.

    Somebody should tell him that instead of putting his non-ball carrying hand on the back of his teammate in front of him and pushing, he should use those quick cuts we’ve seen and bounce to the outside to pick up some yards.

    • I am so tired of hearing the Maroney bashing. Of his 6 carries, 3 were in the red zone where running is harder. He picked up a 3rd and 1 (in the red zone) which helped lead to the first TD. Same situation later? Morris gets stuffed with two chances to pick up 2 yards on 3rd and 2 and 4th and 1. Against second teamers. Yet all I hear today is “Morris runs downhill….Maroney dances.” Its crap by people who don’t know what else to say so just repeat stuff they heard others say. I like Morris. But Maroney is a good back too and people are idiots if they can’t see his potential.

      • Yes – what Greg says. Some people aren’t happy unless they’re busy piling on the latest scapegoat – not a good thing for anyone.

      • “Maroney dances. Its crap by people who don’t know what else to say so just repeat stuff they heard others say”

        By “heard others say” do you mean Maroney himself? Because he told Karen Guregian he’d cut back on the dancing at the line this year.

        • Chris Warner says:

          Let’s all hold off judgment until next Friday, post-Bengals. If Maroney’s still doing the box step, that will be a truly bad sign. If he rushes for 60 on 10 carries, then cool. Agreed?

          • Chris, great job.

            I’d hold off even longer than that. Now that Trey Hobbs is gone, Maroney’s contributions as a kick returner can’t be ignored. Combine him with Edelman, who accomplished more returning punts Thursday night than Slater has in 1+ season of work, and that’s a nice KR/PR punch.

            Not to continue beating up on the latter, but as the 5th safety on the depth chart Slater would be limited to special teams (Reiss doesn’t even have him making the 53 man roster, and neither would I), whereas Edelman would see significant action 4/5 WR sets.

          • sounds good Chris, now for some Zymurgy

  3. It’s only been one day and already I’m sick and tired of hearing about Vick. What’s Philly gonna do? Keep 4 qb’s. or cut a TE or RB to keep this jerk on the team? Just asking.

  4. Edelman is already the best #11 in Patriots history!

    • jake favazzo says:

      I AGREE. Edelman is going to be a huge impact on this team in about ten different ways. if they do not put him on the squad, i am no longer a pat’s fan!!

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