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.
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