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Preview: Philadelphia @ New England


That's right, ladies and gentlemen, it's preseason game #3.  The Pats host the Iggles at Gillette Stadium and one of the questions on my mind will be, "Will we see Asante Samuel on the field?"  The answer is...a qualified yesInjuring his hamstring in the first day of training camp, the rumor and worry mill started cranking out OMG!! OMG!!  bullcrap everywhere.  At any rate, even though he's wearing green, I still thank him for all he's done for the Patriots.  And no, I don't think that ball in the Superbowl was catchable by Samuel.  Just one man's opinion.

As usual, our resident Pig Pile Prognosticator is running down the O-line with the skill of a katana wielding swordsman (his hakama is a little metro, though).  I will, however, speak in generalties about our 300 pounders.  Coach Belichick?  Please do not, under any circumstance, put #12 behind the line as of yet.  They need to spend time, you know, joking and snapping towels at each other before I feel warm and fuzzy that they can protect wonderboy.  Send Matty * 2 and Kevin "Mohawk" O'Connell into the fray.  Lambs to the slaughter.  Like the first guys in line, marching into battle, it's all for a good cause.

I'll be watching a few things:

Quarterbacks - #2 spot is Cassel's job to lose, plain and simple.  With Wes and Randy to pitch to this past Sunday, there can be little excuse.  Granted, he did fair better statistically, coming up with 6 of 10 receptions for 57 yards, but he failed to march the team down the field like we'd expect a quality backup to do.  O'Connell went 6 of 15 for 61 yards, neither hurting nor sealing his chances.  Cassel has to mount and sustain a drive to be a valid choice when Brady is out.  Is asking for another #12 too much!?

Running Backs - Horrid at TB with a whopping 56 yards to their credit, what happened?  I was all over this group of guys in the preseason as the dudes that would save it all.  The second coming after the aerial assault of 2007 was going to be the running game and I was let down.  Much of their lackluster performance could be due to a fragmented O-line, too.  Laurence and the boys need to step it up a bit.

Defensive Backs - Uhhm...Was this the "I'm in Jello" mime game?  Both Ellis Hobbs and Fernando Bryant were playing so soft I thought I was watching a Charmin commercial.  And the safeties weren't much better.  Granted, John Lynch was practically suiting up on the plane ride from Mile High Stadium, but let's show 'em school is in session with teacher's Harrison and Lynch presiding over the lecture.

Linebackers - After a good showing against Baltimore, our LBs all but fell apart.  Mayo and Crable failed to impress and made some rookie errors.  Ok, I'll relax because Bruschi and Vrabel didn't fair so well, either.  C'mon guys!  Go get some.

Tom Brady - Grab a bowl of popcorn, a perfectly chilled beverage, and your favorite section of couch in front of your 400 foot ginormous TV and chuckle at how secure your job is.  Stay at home and relax.  Think about how lucky you are that you're not experiencing the same woes as your counterpart in the midwest (props to JHR).