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Patriots vs. Eagles: Fan Notes from Preseason Week 1

Notes, musings, and observations from Friday night's preseason matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's funny how long the offseason can seem sometimes. Back in February, I thought that the 2013 season would never get here; now here we are, Week 1 of the preseason already in the books, and I found myself looking back wondering where the time went. It's already time to start overanalyzing preseason games and reading way too much into things, two things I happen to be exceedingly good at.

The New England Patriots aren't the only ones who need to shake off the rust; believe it or not, I find myself just a bit out of shape right now as well. I'm not in football shape yet, and so the first Fan Notes of 2013 are a little all over the place. I'll get it together, I promise; in the meantime, though, let's just get right to it.

  • It has been awhile since I heard Christian Fauria call a game. You may not like his style, but you have to give him credit for rocking the Jersey Shore blowout haircut almost a full decade before MTV unleashed its army of d-bags on the world and sticking with it despite the fact that that haircut has already gone back out of style and that Fauria seems to be going a little thin up top.
  • I don't know how I feel about Kenbrell Thompkins wearing number 85. The last two guys to wear that number either couldn't figure out the offense or went to jail for murder. I guess on the plus side as long as Thompkins catches more than one touchdown this year he'll already be the 2nd best player to wear the number as of late.
  • Vereen and Washington the first return duo of the year. Towards the end of the game Blount was back there. Look for that to shift around a bunch over the next few weeks.
  • There are worse ways to start a game than a huge Stevan Ridley run followed by a 9 yard run by LeGarrette Blount. If that first drive wasn't an easy day for Tommy B, I don't know what is.
  • Hoo-man lined up as the primary fullback in what was a lot of 2WR sets to start the game. Not sure how that bodes well for the true fullbacks still on the roster.
  • It's easy to forget how massive Vince Wilfork is. Pictures don't do the man justice.
  • Same thing with Adrian Wilson. That's a big dude.
  • It wasn't easy, however, to forget what it feels like to give up a big completion on 3rd and long to keep a drive alive. I guess some wounds don't heal.
  • Tough to get mad at Aqib Talib on that DeSean Jackson touchdown. DJax is one of the fastest players in the league and it was a footrace that Talib will lose every time. New England seemed to be in a bigger 4-3 formation on that play with the safeties patrolling the middle around the first down marker, which left Talib all alone.
  • That said - god dammit. How about we DON'T pick up where we left off last year regarding the deep ball, eh? How about it? It's only preseason. It's only preseason. It's only preseason...
  • Seeing Tommy B come out for a second series when he was only expected to play one was like some scene from a sappy romance where the hero thinks he's seen his lady love for the last time, only to have her come bounding over the hill and into his arms. And while Brady has yet to bound into my arms, it's still early in the season. I have a plan.
  • Aaaand of course he gets sacked immediately. Get him out of there!!!
  • Raise your hand if you cringed just a little bit when Danny Amendola made his first official catch as a Patriot and got tackled. Come on, admit were a little worried, weren't you?
  • Kenbrell Thompkins's first catch was one in which he was fairly well covered. Just out-muscled the DB and went and got it.
  • Seriously - New England's second drive was pretty much the Thompkins show. He has more size than I initially anticipated and plays bigger than his 6'1, 195lbs lets on, and he was lining up all over the field.
  • SHANE VEREEN! One hander to open up the season. I'll fully admit I didn't give Vereen's catching ability much credit until late in the 2012 season. He and Ridley are going to be a lot of fun to watch.
  • I feel like there's a Riley Cooper joke in me somewhere...but it's too early in the season for me and I couldn't find it.
  • Not a bad outing for Tommy B: 16 snaps, 7/8 for 65 yards and a TD.
  • Both of Ryan Mallett's first two passes were catchable - but they weren't well thrown. You'd like to see more accuracy out of Mallett by now.
  • Tommy Kelly, Chandler Jones, and Vince Wilfork can potentially represent an absolutely dominant front three. A base 3-4 with those three on the ground with Spikes, Mayo, Hightower, and a combination of Ninkovich/Collins at linebacker might finally be the answer. MIGHT be. Maybe. Maybe not. Not jinxing anything here.
  • Did Mallett try to throw the ball to Will Svitek?
  • Eek. Ugly, ugly kick there, Gostkowski. I haven't seen a shank like that since...well, since you shanked that Week 2 FG attempt in the home opener last year against Arizona. I ain't mad at you...just get it together for when it matters.
  • Jamie Collins looks like he weighs about 185. That he's actually 250 means that he has a lot of lean muscle on him.
  • He might want to work on not overcommitting all that lean muscle on a blitz, though.
  • Wasn't particularly impressed with Justin Francis; he looked slow and out of shape.
  • You know what blows? I have no idea whether I can attribute Philly's second scoring drive to the second string defense being out there or if it was just more of the same regarding this unit.
  • Zach Sudfeld's agility was not overexaggerated. It almost doesn't make sense watching him run around. It's also good to see a man with Ross Ventrone hair back on the roster.
  • The general consensus is that the Patriots will try to trade Mallett before his contract is up so they can recoup their original 3rd round investment - but honestly, what has anyone seen out of him recently that gives us a cause for optimism?
  • Marcus Forston looked like he could could wear me as his own personal hand puppet on Friday. Kind of a scary thought that he's going to "get back up to game weight."
  • I'm not sure whether Blount's TD run should make me more excited about the rushing attack or less happy about Ridley's early success. Maybe it's more on Philly than it is on New England.
  • Absolutely love Bob Kraft's preseaon outfit. Unbuttoned collared shirt for days.Casual swag if I ever saw it.
  • How funny is it that the loudest cheer of the night came when Tim Tebow came on for the first time?
  • You know who else isn't in football shape? Josh McDaniels. Looking a little doughy there, bud.
  • One thing I do like about this Pats roster is that if I have no idea who just made a play, I can just yell out "RUTGERS!" and people will think I know what I'm talking about.
  • How weird was it to see a running back wearing #33 and not seeing huge black elbow pads?
  • Tebow took a few sacks he didn't need to take because he hesitated on a throw or didn't make a fast enough read. That said, however, I think he did a good job overall.
  • Well... a good job for Tebow, at least.
  • LeGarrette Blount isn't doing my decision to draft Stevan Ridley in fantasy any favors. That guy has goal-line back written all over him.
  • I don't want to read too much into Dane Fletcher and Tavon Wilson seeing a lot of time late in the game, especially this early...but you'd figure they'd be benched by then.
  • I want to hate the David Hasselhoff Cumberland Farms commercial so damn bad...but I just can't do it. Do what you do, Hoff. Do what you do.
  • Logan Ryan looks good; nice tackler, good instincts, but very raw. He's probably a year out from making a real impact, but I like what I see thus far.
  • How pissed was Bill Belichick after that screen play that broke down in the secondary and resulted in 8 Eagles points? It's really nice to be able to look at a pissed off a Belichick and laugh about it. Usually when BB's mad, so am I. That, or I'm sulking in my recliner like a toddler.
  • The 4th quarter of a preseason game is the football equivalent of the seeing the celebrity you had a massive crush on as a kid 20 years later. You really, really want to get excited about it, but there is just too much unrecognizable flesh flopping around all over the place for it to do anything special for you.
  • I'm gonna go ahead and give Tommy B a C+ on the preseason haircut. I like what I'm seeing from the back, but there's too much going on up front. It's like some kind of reverse mullet. Definitely a major storyline to monitor.
  • What would it be like to be in the middle of a circle comprised entirely of New England Patriots offensive linemen? And what would your strategy be for getting the hell out of there?
Overall, a lot to like about the first preseason game of 2013. There was a lot that needs to be addressed, which I'm sure Bill Belichick will be doing over the next few days, but overall I'd like to think we're off to a good start so far.

Time to rest up, stay hydrated, and get ready for another tough week of practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.