Greg A. Bedard wraps up the Pats preseason opener with five quick thoughts.
The real games don't start for a month. Whatever concerns you may have -- and judging from Twitter and elsewhere you have a few -- they can be corrected. This is largely a young team and there will be a lot of learning going on now that there's good film to go off of. And it's the preseason. It means nothing. One thing I've learned over the years: never get too high or low off a preseason. There is no correlation to the regular-season.
Terrific debut from Chandler Jones: I had Jones for five total quarterback pressures, including two holding penalties, in 14 dropbacks. He also factored into at least two stuffed runs (those of 1 yard or less). He really had Saints LT Jermon Bushrod on his heels from the first dropback (second snap). Jones's strength and leverage was terrific. Overheard from the Saints' locker room from the offensive line after the game: "Those guys are better than the Cardinals (Saints' Hall of Fame Game opponent and a pretty good defense)."
Real good coverage: Drew Brees had a really tough time finding open players when he dropped back to pass. Coverage seemed good from the linebackers back to the safeties, although they did give up a third-and-22 and I did see Patrick Chung take a bad angle. Tavon Wilson lined up all over the place. Seemed like Ras-I Dowling and Sterling Moore were splitting time as the nickel corner.
Vereen shows up: RB Shane Vereen has been the forgotten RB in camp behind Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and even undrafted Brandon Bolden. And for good reason: Vereen hasn't done much in camp. But when the lights came on against the Saints, Vereen looked like the top back. Very decisive and quick to the hole. Maybe he's just a game player. Whatever it is, he's back in the RB picture and needs to show it on a more consistent basis.
Line woes: As expected, the Patriots' offensive line was a little ragged, and Marcus Cannon, Nate Solder and Dan Connolly got Tom Brady crunched for a fumble. Seems like a lot of people are worried about Solder, but the feeling here is he'll be fine with a month of practices. He's not going to be an All-Pro this season, but he should be solid for the most part. Give Dante Scarnecchia a chance to work his magic. He usually does.
- Postgame Notes: Patriots vs. Saints.
- Erik Scalavino notes the Patriots got off to a lackluster start in it's first preseason game of 2012.
- Darren Hartwell observes that the Pats new-look secondary shows signs of improvement from last season.
- Postgame Presser: Bill Belichick (5.59 min. video), Shane Vereen (4.25 min. video) and Patrick Chung (3.55 min. video)
- Postgame Quotes: Patriots and Saints.
- Patriots Today - Breaking down preseason opener. (3 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Players talk after the win. (2.38 min. video)
- Patriots Postgame Show - Adam Jones breaks down the Pats' 7-6 win over the Saints. (1 hour 24 min. program)
- Jeff Howe reviews the Pats preseason performance, noting the O-line breakdowns that stalled the offense and the strong play of the defense that applied consistent pressure all night.
- Mike Reiss offers his initial reaction to the Patriots first game of the preseason. Jones and Vereen were two stars in the game.
- Shalise Manza Young looks for the bright spots in an unexciting, 'fans had every right to be annoyed' preseason opener.
- Mark Farinella says the Patriots' defense was way, way ahead of the offense, and the offense was only as good as the protection afforded Brady.
- Paul Kenyon analyzes the preseason opener, saying it was not a smooth ride for New England, by any means.
- Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak & Field Yates select 3 up, and 3 down from the preseason opener.
- Tom E. Curran keys in on the Patriots-Saints first quarter of play: Chandler Jones impresses, and the O-line struggles.
- Greg A. Bedard reports first-round pick Chandler Jones had five QB pressures and two stuffed runs in his debut.
- Mike Reiss notes Chandler Jones draws praise from the Saints.
- Phil Perry says Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory both had interceptions last night, and they're engaging in friendly competition to bolster the defense.
- Karen Guregian says the more you get to know Brandon Lloyd, the more there is to like.
- Field Yates watched Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen both shine in last night's win.
- Karen Guregian writes RB Shane Vereen makes the most of his opportunity in the second half.
- Jeff Howe notes Steve Gregory was laughing at his juggling interception, "I think I caught it like five times."
- Alex Prewitt tells us Brian Hoyer gives his performance a mixed self-evaluation.
- Karen Guregian is not buying the story that the O-line will magically work out enough kinks to keep Brady upright by the start of the regular season.
- Tom E. Curran says the Patriots defense came ready to play and it showed.
- Tom E. Curran points out the subtle bomb Bill Belichick dropped on the refereeing crew, by referencing Mike Pereira.
- Mike Reiss looks at the snaps played by offensive skill-position players in the first half of Thursday's game, and analyzes what it may mean.
- Mike Reiss breaks down the center rotation on the first-unit O-line throughout the first half.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Dane Fletcher tore his ACL last night; Rookies Chandler Jones, Tavon Wilson and Jake Bequette had a good night in their first NFL-speed debut; The O-line has been strained this offseason, and the backups have taken a hit too; Eight players needed extra stretching before the game which usually is the sign of a minor tweak.
- NFL Game Center - New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots. Recap, stats, analysis and highlight video.
- SportsCenter (ESPN) Herm Edwards analyzes Pats-Saints. (1.53 min. video)
- James Walker (ESPN) Observation deck: Saints-Patriots.
- Ian Rapoport (NFl.com) Dane Fletcher tears ACL in Patriots' preseason opener.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Bill Belichick goes off script on replacement officials.
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) NFL pre-season football: Uglier than our prom dates.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) Lessons learned from Thursday's NFL preseason games.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Thursday's NFL preseason roundup: Short nights for top QBs.
- AP Report (SI) Thursday's Preseason games roundup.
- Joe Fortenbaugh (Nat'l Football Post) The NFP's top ten QB-WR tandems entering the 2012 season. Brady-Welker make the list.