Catching up on two weeks of NFL preseason football – always a good time.
Here’s a look at some of the storylines and news of the day, which certainly should raise some brows, enjoy.
* According to various reports coming out of New England Patriots camp, linebacker Jerod Mayo expressed to the media, he hopes to make the final roster cut. OK, great decision on Mayo’s part, especially since this particular comment certainly illustrates the illustrious “Patriots way.” In fact, I am certainly a fan of his decision to state this because it shows his true work ethic. He’s not taking anything for granted, which is always a good sign, but in the end, it’s a given that Mayo will be sporting the “Flying Elvis” on his head this season. Mayo finished the ’10 campaign with two sacks and 175 tackles.
“I think the entitlement kills us. Our alumni, our former greats have made us America’s Team and we reap benefits that we haven’t earned — all the way around, as individuals, as a team. Those guys earned it. We just think we deserve it.”
Well, I guess it’s safe to say, the current Dallas Cowboys squad is feeling some pressure from their alums. OK, well, I guess we’ve finally discovered why the Cowboys have struggled to win their sixth Super Bowl championship in franchise history? Well, again, come up with your own reason or answer, but it’s safe to say, the Cowboys need to discover their own identity, as well as appreciate any guidance or support given to them by Hall of Famers or former legends. Will they be competitive this season? Who knows, but again, as long as they focus on themselves, as well as their current talent, they’ll be able to be somewhat successful.
It’s only the second game of the preseason, but still, there are plenty of things to take away from this particular game, despite the Patriots second victory.
Here are a few overall thoughts on the game, as well as things that will need to be addressed or corrected going forward.
*The first offensive statistic that sticks out right away was New England’s opening drive, which was a total of five plays for 64 yards. Tom Brady connected with tight end Aaron Hernandezto give the Patriots momentum, as well as the lead. The offense continued their success on their second and third drives of the game, as well as watched BenJarvus Green-Ellisconvert six points on a one-yard run and Chad Ochocinco record his first touchdown reception in a New England uniform. Although, despite their first quarter success, the offense struggled during the second, third and fourth quarter, but did managed to display positive signs, especially when Brian Hoyerand Ryan Malletwere under center. Although, I’m sure Mr. Brady wasn’t exactly the happiest person, as he watched both back up quarterbacks struggle to maintain momentum, which he had established. Both Mallet and Hoyer didn’t appear as productive in this game, as they were against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the quarterbacks combined for 10 completions and one interception.
*As usual, head coach Bill Belichick mentioned during his postgame press conference that there are always things to improve upon, yet, after observing his first string offense, especially in the first quarter, it almost felt as if we were watching highlights of the ’07 squad. Although, don’t ask the head coach about that squad, especially since they didn’t finish the season undefeated.
*Running back Stevan Ridley proved that once again, he deserves a spot on this particular roster. The halfback finished the game with 84 yards on 14 carries, but didn’t manage to record his fourth touchdown of the preseason. However, Ridley has also proven that he’s reliable, gritty and tough football player, especially since he was sidelined earlier this past week with an injury. Yet, it’s likely we’ll be seeing number twenty-two on the sidelines this year.
*The Patriots defense smothered the Buccaneers starting quarterback, Josh Freeman, who finished the game with five completions for 33 yards. Yet, despite keeping Freeman on his toes, the defense also recorded three sacks and one interception. Linebacker Tracy Whiteled New England with five tackles, while Jerod Mayofinished the game with two sacks, three tackles and two assists.
*The Patriots defense constantly provided pressure from all different angles, as well as allowed their front seven to force their way through the Buccaneers offensive line. Josh Johnsonand Rudy Carpenter appeared incredibly uncomfortable in and outside the pocket, as well as out of sync with their second and third string offense, which had to make Belichick somewhat happy, right? Expect this trend to continue the next two weeks, as well as into the regular season too. Belichick indeed has retooled his defensive unit, although, one has to wonder, will they use more blitz packages this season or resort to playing a variety of zone coverage’s? Who knows, but after two completely different exhibition games, it’s quite easy to think that the Patriots will be an aggressive defense this season.
All in all, it was yet again another successful team effort by the Patriots offense, defense and special teams. Of course, fans should expect some changes to occur, but in the meantime, it was yet another solid outing, as well as a positive sign of things to come.