Patriots vs. Buccaneers: Fan Notes from Preseason Week 2

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Notes, musings, and observations from New England's 25-21 preseason win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

One of the beautiful things about the preseason is that, even though I fully admit to taking it a little too seriously and read a little too much into everything, I don't necessarily care whether or not I hear any spoilers when I'm unable to watch the game live. Most of the time, I'll ensure that my entire life revolves around the Patriots' schedule and will alter cancel, or change any plans necessary to make sure I see the game live, and on the rare occasions that I can't (like the wedding I have to go to on September 22nd, which is the day the Patriots play the Bucs for real. And the groom is a Pats fan, too. Ever hear of a bye week, Mike? Come on), I will institute a full-on media blackout from the moment the game starts until the moment I get home and turn on my DVR.When it comes to the preseason, though, seeing it live isn't quite as important to me as when the games actually matter. So when I found out that the Patriots beat the Buccaneers 25-21 on Friday night before having actually watched it, I didn't even bat an eye. I actually didn't even get a chance to watch the game until yesterday, and to be honest I was pretty impressed overall. Obviously there was a lot that didn't go well, but there was also a lot that did. So let's get to it.

  • It sure didn't take them long to zoom in on Tommy B's knee. As someone who may or may not have experience pointing a camera at much-discussed body parts of beautiful people, I can appreciate the craftsmanship, but I think it's time to move on. Brady's knee is fine.
  • For a second I thought that Zach Sudfeld had switched jerseys to 88, like they saw his perfromance in preseason and doubled his value.
  • I like Ridley more and more every time I watch him run.
  • As far as I'm concerned, Logan Mankins can get all the unnecessary roughness penalties he wants this preseason.
  • Not sure how much to read into the early timeshare between Ridley and Vereen, but I will say that it worked pretty damn well.Tampa had a tough time figuring out offensive formations, particularly when Vereen was on the field.
  • How great was Greg Schiano's face on the Brady-to-Amendola touchdown? That's the exact look I give every time my car craps out and I open the hood and just stare at the engine like I have the slightest clue what's wrong.
  • Even better - how great was that two point conversion to a tall tight end in double coverage not named Gronkowski?
  • Brandon Spikes seems to have found his Truck Stick early on and doesn't seem to be expressing any desire whatsoever in taking his foot off the gas.
  • Does anyone have any idea what the hell Jerod Mayo is doing every time he does that jazz hands thing in the secondary? I know he's calling the necessary defensive audibles, but it seems like almost every single play is some variation of those jazz hands.
  • Is there a Patriots running back that isn't running well right now?
  • Chandler Jones's sack of Josh Freeman was the combination of a coverage sack and Jones just flat-out outmuscling Donald Penn. Penn is 6'5 and 340 pounds. Yikes.
  • It very well may just be your standard preseason experimenting going on here, but I am absolutely loving how often Brandon Spikes is getting called in to blitz.
  • Peyton Hillis, meet the Patriots 2012 Draft picks.
  • What's with all this tackling the quarterback in the backfield? Is there some kind of new rule change? New England didn't really do any of that last year.
  • Vegas should allow gambling odds on the people who watch Pats games with Bob Kraft in his owner's box. An absolute hodgepodge of characters up there every year.
  • A Patriots lineman went down about 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter. I saw an "Ma" and the number 7 and I started getting nervous. Then I saw it was rookie FA R.J. Mattes was was extremely relieved. And then I felt like a pretty big jackass for being relieved at a man's injury.
  • An interesting point was made about Mallett throwing low all the time because he may be trying to compensate for his height by throwing lower in order to ensure his receivers don't have to reach for it. I don't agree with it at all, but that doesn't mean I didn't find it interesting.
  • How can Spikes cage facemask look so badass and Peyton Hillis's look so weird? I almost expected Hillis to get wheeled to and from the huddle in a straightjacket.
  • Great move, Fox Sports 1. Take the most universally hated digital mascot since the Microsoft Office Paperclip and dress some poor jamoke up on the sidelines as Cleastus the Robot. Everyone hates you, Cleatus.
  • Choice of representative aside, I'm actually really excited for that network. It would be great if they became another legitimate sports outlet and I'd have an option for highlights that didn't involve sitting through hour after hour of Peyton Manning and LeBron James rumpswabbing.
  • Lost in Shane Vereen's speed and shiftiness is how difficult he can be to tackle. You absolutely have to wrap him up right away or he's going to shake loose.
  • Hmm...tight end post route for a touchdown...where have I seen that before?
  • Did Tommy B just give up his seat for Ryan Mallett? What the hell is going on here?
  • I think that every time any Buccaneer QB threw at Marquice Cole, the result was a reception for positive yards. Cole better be an absolute stud on special teams.
  • I'm starting to think the same thing about Tim Tebow.
  • That Logan Ryan pick six was much more of a great read on Ryan's part than a bad throw on Mike Glennon's part. Sniffed the play out from the opening snap. RUTGERS!
  • Here's a fun preseason game to play: try and guess how many players and coaches on the sideline are standing with their arms crossed on any given play. I don't know why they stand like that when the Mark Gormley power stance is a much better option, but to each their own I guess.
  • Not sure how I feel about Randy Moss behind a desk. He obviously knows football, and I'm looking forward to hearing his commentary...but that's just such an oddball group of guys, I'm not sure what the chemistry will be like. But it's not like they'll be any worse than the CBS crew.
  • That said - what an awful, awful interview of Moss from Moose Johnston and Tony Siragusa. Moron questions all across the board.
  • On the plus side, we as Patriots fans have now had to watch Tim Tebow play quarterback while Randy Moss simultaneously fielded a bunch of inane questions. There's no way our season will ever be worse than that.
  • Gotta love the Jamie Collins German Suplex style of tackling. Especially since that monster tackle was basically the only thing worth noting as soon as Tebow took the field.
  • Tavon Wilson didn't do his steady decension on the depth chart any favors on Friday.
  • Tim Tebow's first pick wasn't even close to on target. Thompkins was open and had found a nice hole in the Tampa 2 Zone; Tebow just flat out overthrew it.
  • And underthrew it
  • And sailed it right.
  • And sailed it left.
  • Jake Bequette didn't really see the field until late in the game. I can't imagine he's already on the roster bubble, but I would have liked to see him in there earlier.
  • How long a conversation was Spikes and Brady having? What could they possibly be talking about?

All in all, : there was a lot to like early, then it kind of declined, and by then end it was an absolute disaster. Still, a lot of reason for optimism on both sides of the ball, and it would seem that in spite of this tumultuous offseason, the Patriots will be ready for opening day. That oh-so-critical Week 3 of the preseason is coming up, the week that pretty much makes or breaks your entire year, so the pressure is obviously on. The last time the Patriots traveled to Detroit to play the Lions during the third week in August, it didn't end so well for them. Here's hoping they can put up a better showing this time around.

Although the way this preseason is going, I'll just be happy if nobody gets hurt.

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