The first game of the New England Patriots's preseason is in the books, with the Pats pulling out a 31-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. There is a lot to break down over the next few days, but for now here are some quick hit thoughts on the game.
Running game shines. Right from the first play from scrimmage, the Patriots ran the ball extremely well. Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount were the stars of the day, but Shane Vereen had a nice game as both a runner and receiver. You have to attribute some of New England's success to a rough day of tackling from the Eagles' defense, but to open up a game with nothing but run plays and still manage to punch it in for a score has to be taken as a good sign.
Rookie receiver versatility. Kenbrell Thompkins was the star receiver of the day, hauling in four total passes, and Aaron Dobson had a few nice grabs as well. More importantly was just how versatile this young receiving corps seems to be. Thompkins, Dobson, Boyce, and Amendola lined up all over the field, and all signs point to some nice early chemistry between Tommy B and his new weapons.
Early struggles for Mallett. The second string quarterback took a while to get himself settled. While he eventually put together a good string of passes and seemed to find his rhythm back there, you would like to see him jump right in and be ready to go immediately.
A mixed defensive bag. Seeming to pick up right where they left off in 2012, the Patriots defense had an up and down day. There were a few too many big plays for my liking, and on more than one occasion a tackle for a loss turned into positive yards, but there were also some nice plays mixed in there and the starters played well overall. I really like what I saw from the defensive line, and the unit remains stout against the run, but there is still a lot of work to do before September.
Can't get too excited. It would be very easy to take what we saw from the starters tonight, particularly on offense, and take it as a good omen that the team is ahead of schedule in terms of how ready they are for the regular season. There was still plenty that went wrong tonight, and I'm sure that's what Bill Belichick will be harping on when the team watches game tape tomorrow.
Tim Tebow had a relatively Tebow Tebow and Tebowed the Tebow for enough Tebows to Tebow everyone's Tebow. After Ryan Mallett suffered a Tebow and had to head to the Tebow, the Tebows sent in Tebow for the first Tebow of the preTebow. And while Tebow was both Tebow and Tebow, overall Tebow had a lot to Tebow about and Tebow Tebowed the Tebow with Tebow, Tebow, and Tebow. Nothing wrong with that.