Greg A. Bedard points out five things he'll be watching against the Eagles tonight.
1. STERN TEST: We don’t know what the Patriots’ plan is for the starters, but with three games in 10 days you would figure they put a lot of effort into this one and then dial it back before a final tuneup against the Giants. That’s what the Eagles will do. Coach Andy Reid said his starters will play the first three quarters with modifications. The only significant starter not playing is defensive end Jason Babin. So the Patriots will get to measure themselves in this one.
2. TACKLE IMPROVEMENT: Tackles Nate Solder (left) and Marcus Cannon (right) had rough outings against the Saints, and they need to show improvement after a week of tough practices. Cannon, who gave up six quarterback pressures against the Saints, has the most to prove. With Sebastian Vollmer set to return, the Patriots need to determine if Cannon is capable of being the swing tackle on game day. There’s still some question about whether Cannon can even play tackle. He has all the physical tools to do so. Solder is fine. He just needs to keep working on his technique.
3. HOLD THE EDGE: We’ll get to see exactly how solid the Patriots’ ends are because the Eagles will really test the edges with quarterback Michael Vick, running backs LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis, and receiver DeSean Jackson running reverses. Can Rob Ninkovich really handle left end, which is the strong side of a rushing offense? Can Chandler Jones rush the passer if he’s worried about not losing containment? Jones really shouldn’t have much trouble against two inferior left tackles in King Dunlap and Demetress Bell. Overall, the Eagles’ line is lacking.
Jeff Howe highlights five things he'll be keeping an eye on as the Pats take on the Eagles tonight.
1. Freeing up Hernandez. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is far and away the Eagles’ most talented defensive back, but they’ve got some decent talent over the middle, too. So what will they try to do against tight end Aaron Hernandez, and how will he fare against said coverage? Defenses have to game-plan for Hernandez, who has had a terrific summer, and he’ll be an interesting matchup for the Eagles. Look to see how the Patriots try to free him up.
2. Rookie in focus. Defensive end Chandler Jones got a big checkmark in his debut against the Saints. Now, it’s time for his fellow first-rounder to follow suit. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was up and down in terms of made and missed plays in that game. The Eagles have a complex running game with the dynamic of quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy. Let’s see how Hightower anticipates the plays.
3. Defensive athleticism. The Patriots have improved their athleticism on defense, but they’ll have a great task against the Eagles offense, which also features big-play receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Philly has some unique speed, so this will be a good barometer for the Patriots, particularly since their primary skill guys are healthy. Look to see how the Pats handle each phase from a speed standpoint.
- Paul Perillo gives us a rundown of his Friday practice notes.
- Andy Hart and Erik Scalavino debate which rookie will be a surprise to make the 53-man roster.
- Patriots Today - Who to watch for against Eagles. (3.56 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Brady works with Lloyd, Gronk. (3 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Brandon Lloyd talks to the media. (4.49 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Camp ends with a roar. (1.24 min. video) Here's Jones' catch in pictures.
- Christopher Price tells us who we should watch for Monday against the Eagles.
- Paul Kenyon notes that fans tuning in to tonight's game will probably see more of Michael Vick in action than they will of Tom Brady.
- Field Yates points to what he'll be watching when the Patriots finally return to action against Eagles.
- Mike Rodak lists the players who are not expected to play tonight.
- Greg A. Bedard notes the Patriots will have some tough decisions when it's roster-trimming time, especially with the offense.
- Karen Guregian has a terrific piece that focuses on Tom Brady in his role as a father.
- Mike Reiss shares some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.
- Karen Guregian reports that for Bill Belichick, the championship checklist is nearly complete.
- Mike Reiss tells us what stands out after 18 practices. Chandler Jones is the real deal.
- Karen Guregian reports Chandler Jones has not only piqued the interest of Patriot Nation, but he's generated quite a bit of buzz around the league.
- Mike Rodak looks at the number of sessions missed by players who are currently on the 90-man roster.
- Jeff Howe posts the final attendance numbers for training camp.
- Mike Petraglia notes Brandon Lloyd has learned a lot since signing with the Patriots last March.
- Tom E. Curran talks up Rob Ninkovich as a defensive end.
- Jeff Howe says that according to a source, Sebastian Vollmer will be taken off PUP list.
- Mike Reiss explores how the roster may be affected when Sebastian Vollmer and Daniel Fells come off the PUP list this week.
- Jeff Howe profiles Steve Gregory and why he chose football over a career in major league baseball - with the Yankees no less.
- Steve Buckley wonders whether statistically, Rob Gronkowski could have another season like 2011.
- Jeff Howe reports Rob Ninkovich has been promoted to defensive end and will get to attack the QB on a regular basis.
- Julian Benbow says that even though he's the only punter in camp, Zoltan Mesko has stayed competitive and consistent.
- Shalise Manza Young finds Donte' Stallworth is a changed man after the accident in Miami that claimed a life.
- Mike Reiss wraps up the key storylines from Friday, Day 23 of camp. Stevan Ridley and Tavon Wilson remained sidelined.
- DJ Bean picks out ten things we learned Friday from Pats camp. Logan Mankins went out for a couple of passes and Nate Ebner had a couple of picks.
- Mary Paoletti sends us another Postcard from Camp: Day 23. Brady, Lloyd and Gronkowski spent time together at the end simulating conditioning for a two-minute drill.
- Boston Herald Photos: Chandler Jones gets the Pats a night off.
- Field Yates checks in with Brandon Lloyd after Lloyd worked out with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski after practice.
- The Providence Journal details the differences between today's Training Camp, and when it used to be held at Bryant University.
- Mike Rodak reports Ty Law made an appearance at Training Camp on Friday, and provided tips to the DBs.
- Mike Rodak serves up some leftover soundbites from Ty Law's visit, including his overall thoughts on the team.
- Mike Petraglia notes Ty Law believes this secondary can be winners if they ignore the noise.
- Jeff Howe notes Ty Law is a great big fan of Kyle Arrington.
- Christopher Price takes a closer look at what the addition of Jeff Demps means for the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss thinks Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps could yield big returns with electrifying speed and playmaking ability.
- Ian Rapoport (NFL.com) Jeff Demps picks New England Patriots from NFL suitors.
- Jeff Howe says the battle for Jeff Demps' services was wildly unique.
- Nick Underhill sets the over/under line at 110 catches for Wes Welker.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: The most intense stretch of the preseason begins for the Patriots tonight: They’ll endure a 10-day stretch in which they take four flights, play three games, conduct two joint practices and run through 15 roster transactions, give or take. Oh, and two days after that, they’ll cut the roster from 75 to 53; Vollmer and Fells will be activated from PUP today; RB Jeff Demps will be wearing No. 42.
- James Walker (ESPN) AFC East preseason stock watch.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Deion Branch could be on the bubble in New England.
- Marc Sessler (NFL.com) Jeff Demps fits all Belichick, Patriots stand for.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: Luck and Gabbert off to hot starts, not Kolb; More camp lessons.
- Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly) Numbers crunching starting to change NFL thinking.
- Scott Kacsmar (Cold Hard Football Facts) Super Study: The evolution of NFL pass-run ratio.
- Eric Adelson (Yahoo! Sports) Ex-NFL RB Fred Taylor forgives former agent who defrauded him of millions.