It's fairly clear that the Patriots moved the ball at will against the Eagles defense, the most major mishap being a miscommunication between Tom Brady and a converted offensive tackle playing tight end who was signed off the street. The offense left me feeling optimistic about the season, while the defense showed that not all the questions have answers thus far in camp.
Let's break down which players are on the up-and-up, and which ones fell flat.
Up: Bash Brothers of Tommy Kelly and Vince Wilfork. Both played like it was week 1 of 2013 and neither had suffered a serious and career threatening injury. Just watch Wilfork disrupt the pocket. Tommy Kelly was his normal active self, too.
Second play, Wilfork just eats the pocket: http://t.co/8yjt3Xirf2— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) August 16, 2014
Down: DE Will Smith. The Patriots are playing Smith in a 3-4 defensive end look and he's not doing much to draw attention to positive play. He's not active while rushing the quarterback and he's been easily moved in run defense. It won't be shocking if he doesn't make the roster, especially if either of the new signings (Jerel Worthy or Ben Bass) show anything in the upcoming weeks.
Up: WR Brian Tyms. He's going to take someone's roster spot once he returns from his suspension.
Tymsanity 2.0: http://t.co/dKHmEVTxs2— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) August 16, 2014
Down: The Patriots non-wide receiver weapons. While Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Brandon LaFell, and Brian Tyms all have shown positive qualities, there is a barren wasteland of talent at tight end and the running backs have done nothing to inspire confidence. Stevan Ridley put another ball on the ground and Shane Vereen and James White haven't shown much in the rushing game.
Up: CB Malcolm Butler. Butler followed up on an excellent wire-to-wire performance with two forced fumbles and solid play. He's definitely making the roster while Brandon Browner is suspended; it's just a question of whether he lasts beyond those four weeks and, if so, who will lose their spot?
Down: Starting RG Jordan Devey. While Devey got to play with the ones, he showed why he's classed amongst the twos. He was pushed back in pass protection and was inconsistent in the run game. He had too many negatives to make anyone feel comfortable with him getting the starting nod at right guard.
Up: Back-up OL Jordan Devey. But he totally deserves a roster spot. He plays both tackle and guard spots and that jackknife ability will always make the Patriots roster. Devey and Josh Kline will be the likely back-ups, along with Marcus Cannon and Bryan Stork- which leaves questions as to where Jon Halapio and Cameron Fleming fit into the depth chart, too. Lots to still decide and Devey, while not a stellar starter, definitely threw his hat into the ring for consideration.
Down: Special Teams play. While Matthew Slater is still a stud, the punting unit and the kicking unit left a pair amount to be desired on the playing field. While Ryan Allen and Stephen Gostkowski's spots aren't in question, they'll definitely be held under the spotlight this upcoming week.
Up: Roy Finch and Jonas Gray - Both were decisive in their cuts and both were consistent in producing positive yardage in their attempts. Gray is a one-cut runner and Belichick appreciates that decisive ability, while Finch is an undeniable bottle rocket whose speed clearly exists on a different plane of reality.
Down: Back-up defense. They looked porous against the Eagles second and third string offenses. There was one or two positive players on each line of defense, but as a whole there was little to convince that the back-end of the roster would be able to start in a pinch. Let's hope it doesn't get to that point.
Up: Goal line stands - That was awesome. Darius Fleming is going to make the team as he made excellent plays on that popped on the screen.
Up: Ryan Mallett running plays - I had no idea he could run like that. He didn't run like a giraffe, like I had expected. He kind of looked like he knew how to run. Tom Brady should take notes.
There are still plenty of questions as none of the back-up linebackers or defensive ends flashed. The strong safety position is still up for grabs. But we can definitely see some separation between those with more solidified roster spots and those that are going to be fighting for the 53rd position.
Expect some more transactions at tight end this week as the team cannot be happy with how that position is currently looking.