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Missed the game

Well, I missed the game, and evidently I didn't miss much. Nothing unexpected there. I'm waiting to see if it shows up on On Demand or the NFL Network, but I'm not holding my breath.

I saw a few plays here and there, and I saw some highlights. From that, it looks like rookie running back Laurence Maroney is a keeper for sure. He's quick, strong and likes hitting. He's a straight-ahead runner like Antowain Smith could never be, and he can make some nice cuts. He finished with 66 yards on 9 carries (7.3 avg). Not too shabby.

Unlike most of the rest of the world, I don't think veteran Corey Dillon needed any additional inspiration before the Patriots drafted Maroney, but this certainly can't hurt. And while I think Dillon still has a couple good years, it looks like the Pats future at running back is secure, barring unforeseen circumstances. Dillon finished with 27 yards on 5 carries of a 5.4 average. Not bad either.

Second-year Matt Cassel wasn't particularly impressive, but he wasn't particularly awful either. He shows potential. We'll just have to see how he develops.

In the battle of placekickers, rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski became the front-runner with a nice mid-range field goal (34 yards) and some decent, long kickoffs (71, 73 and 77, 73.7 avg). Martin Gramatica did pretty well, too, with a couple short field goals (26, 30), but his kickoffs were shorter (64, 69 and 71, avg of 68).

The first team had a nice opening series, driving from their 18 to the Atlanta 7. Brady almost hit Reche Caldwell for the TD. That may develop into a nice hookup.

I can't say much about the defense until I see more of them.

Oh, ya. New England lost, 26-23. Big deal.

What did anyone else think?