December 11, 2016

Worry Wart – Preseason Game Four At Giants

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Preseason games should be fun to watch, because we get to check out our favorite team with no real concern for the result. That said, last Thursday’s 36-35 loss to the Rams was about as enjoyable as sliding down a saguaro cactus.

We’ll move on to this week, the Battle of the Backups, with hopes for at least a pleasant diversion before watching games that count. As the venerable Mike Reiss has said, this tilt at the Giants home field allows New England to scout the brand-spanking New Meadowlands Stadium That Is Still In A Swamp, or whatever it’s called. Hey, every little bit against the Jets would help.

So, no big concerns for Thursday’s game by itself, but lots to watch heading into 2010…

Neither Bodden Nor The Patriots Were Smiling Tuesday

Secondary A Primary Thought: Tuesday night’s cuts saw erstwhile starter Leigh Bodden get placed on season-ending injured reserve. We hoped that rookie Devin McCourty and second-year player Darius Butler could step up at cornerback. Now, trial by fire becomes trial by inferno.

Mega Hurts: We got the lousy news on Bodden, but what’s up with Ron Brace? Or Jermaine Cunningham, Julian Edelman, or Aaron Hernandez? (Note Tuesday’s PFW injury report here.) These and several other players won’t play on Thursday – and that’s fine by us – but what is their status for Game One?

Better Take A Tom Out: Actually, we only assume that Tom Brady will sit out this game. And by “assume,” we mean “hope like hell.” You know as well as anyone, Coach Bill Belichick, that it only takes a few seconds to get hurt. Give backups Brian Hoyer and Zac Robinson some field time. All of it, even.

Searching High And LoMo: Okay, so far no starts from running back Laurence Maroney. Does that seem strange to anyone else? Did we have to see veteran Sammy Morris in action to know that he can run the ball (he’s only been in the league since Noah felt a raindrop)? Is Maroney ready to play? Is he mentally there? A strong night vs. New York backups might help ease some fears.

Having Trouble With Our Lines: Games get won in the trenches, so we’re wondering about this offensive line’s ability to grind out first downs. While Brady had a solid game with the starters, the O-line looks about as deep as a bottlecap, and the holdout of Logan Mankins ain’t helping. On the other side of the ball, can the Patriots stop the run and pressure opposing quarterbacks (I’m looking at you, Derrick Burgess)? And can they do it without smacking someone in the head for a 15-yard penalty? Seriously, last week’s game featured more slaps than a telenovela.

Who Gives A Darnell? About 22 players out of 75, that’s who. Thursday’s the night that the bottom of the roster gets figured out, when guys like receiver Darnell Jenkins, linebacker Thomas Williams and running back Thomas Clayton either make the final 53 or get cut. The coaches have some tough decisions to make, especially considering the aforementioned injuries and the age of the backfield. Look for those names and some new ones to pop up on the eight-man practice squad after the league-wide slashing.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Comments

  1. oldskool138 says:

    “Okay, so far no starts from running back Laurence Maroney. Does that seem strange to anyone else?”

    Nope, ever since his above average first season (as a backup to Dillon) I’ve wanted them to try and get rid of him. The less we see of twinkle-toes, the better.

    • And replace him with what? whom? You pointed out that BJGE has mediocre stats on another post – so I don’t see an option right now.

      This is just further proof positive that the 2006/2008 drafts killed us (2007 gets a pass because we acquired Moss/Welker). We should be in a position to spend some picks on skill positions like RB at this stage.

    • Chris Warner says:

      I say Maroney has a noteworthy scrimmage in NJ. The Pats need him to excel this year, and I think he’ll answer the call. He’ll never be a major producer, but this is the year New England gets something out of LoMo before he moves on to another team next season.
      In summary: an overall disappointment, but not a true bust.

      • Bruce Allen says:

        I could see Maroney sitting out tonight as well. Not unheard of. Moss didn’t play at all in the ’07 preseason – was rumored to be on the chopping block, even. Deion Branch didn’t play one preseason either.

  2. I *really* don’t want this game to happen. Seriously. I’m done with the pre-season. I’m not sold on an 18 game regular season, but the pre-season needs to go to 2 games, tops, no matter what.

  3. And while we’re at it – there needs to be a Spanish Inquisition of the training staff/methods in Foxboro. This is a team that’s sustained a high number of serious injuries to starting players.

    Bad luck? Perhaps – but when it happens consistently, year in year out, it becomes a pattern. It was a few years ago we had to pull Junior and Colvin out of retirement because of a LB shortage, right?

    When I hear Ty Warren say he needed (and wanted) his surgery for a few years, I shake my head in disbelief. How, why, did it come to this? He should have been on an operating table February, and fit to go.

    I could be completely out of line, but I look at the Jets and see an O-Line that hasn’t missed a game in, what, 4 years now? Maybe it’s just good luck, but, it’s a pattern of good luck.

    Consider me frustrated!

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