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Ravens defeat Patriots, 16-15

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With less than a month and 3 preseason games left until the Sept 7th opener with KC, the New England Patriots have their work cut out for them.  But, this is no surprise; every team has their work cut out for them.  Preseason games are not about winning, they're a science experiment designed to test many hypotheses in a live situation.  You'll see play calling I'd term "head scratchers" (pass on the 2 point conversion vs. hand off to Jordan), but coaches are experimenting with different packages, players and situations.  There's a lot of ingredients in this soup and we haven't even seen much of the starters.

Positives

Jerod Mayo - as any first rounder should, he's having an immediate impact.  Other than a few mis-reads in coverage, he appears to be stepping up to the NFL level and making an impact.  One play in particular, knocking of Ray Rice's helmet on a 1 yard run, was of particular note.  He smothered Rice.

Stephen Gostkowski - I said it in the game thread - Adam who?  I mean no disrespect to one of New England's heroes, but Gostkowski was money.  He hits 3 field goals for 36, 44, and 40 yards and was kicking off like a mofo.  Thanks G-man.

Shawn Crable - he used his long arms to bat down at least one pass.  When he was taken out on one play, I saw his eyes never the play and he bounce up running.  It's good to see the "never stop" mentality.

Kevin O'Connell - cool surprise.  He handled himself better than Matty Squared.  Sure, he may have been up against backups to backups to backups, but I thought he did a fine job and DAMN... he can run.

Pierre Woods - What tha?!?!?!  He was all over the field, reading pass coverage and making tackles.  I think we'll see more of him.

LaMont Jordan - the guy's a bull and fills the gap between fullbacks and running backs; he could be the goal line guy to blast through defenses.

Negatives

Cassel and Gutierrez - looked like O'Connell should've looked - deer in the headlights.  Whether it was their fault or receivers running bad routes, who knows.  I just know how Kevin looked compared to #2 and #3 - they should be worried.

CJ Jones - dropped passes, mental mistake during a kickoff return (should've let the ball hit the endzone for a touchback) and bad routes.  If he can't catch the backup's passes, how's he going to pull down Brady's rockets?

Chad Jackson - He's not showing me he can fill Stallworth's shoes.  Whether it was Cassel's fault or his, there was clear miscommunication between the 2.  Chad needs to build confidence with the QBs and hit the playbook.

Special Teams - FINISH! FINISH! FINISH!  That run back was ugly.  I mean, how many Patriots had their hands on the guy?  Finish the tackles by either knocking his block off or wrapping the guy up.

Head on over to Baltimore Beatdown for blogger Rexx's take on the game.