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Patriots vs. Bears: Fan Notes from the Preseason

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots' 23-22 victory over the Chicago Bears.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, the preseason is halfway over.

How much weight you put into a Week 2 of anything depends on who you are as a person, I guess. If you're Rex Ryan and the Bills, it's the most important game of your career. if you're the Patriots, it's business as usual. Once again, most of the starters were on the sidelines either healing or playing it safe, so last night's game saw a lot of the 2nd tier guys and bubble players battling it out against a bunch more 2nd tier guys and bubble players. However, there were for sure some standouts, and everyone has to be happy with Jimmy Garoppolo's progression between the Saints game and this one.

  • It didn't take long, between bungled announcing, teleprompter miscues, wrong infographics, and long referee conferences to remind us all that it's preseason for everybody out there.
  • Actually, scratch that last one; long referee conferences don't stop once September rolls around.
  • I wonder if New England matched Justijn Coleman on Alshon Jeffrey because Belichick knew if Malcolm Butler got the nod both guys would end up in the ER a la Apollo and Rocky at the start of Rocky II.
  • It's kind of fun seeing numbers out there and having no clue who the player is and saying something along the lines of "ooh, who is that?" It hearkens back to the days when I didn't know much about football and still had some hope of a healthy future.
  • You have to like what you saw out of the Patriots defense early, missing Sheard, Ninkovich, and McClellan; the line got a good push, solid tackles, and Cutler's completions weren't against the guys who would likely draw that matchup in a real game.
  • I'll always have a very soft spot for Robby Gould; I rode him and LT to fantasy glory back in 2006.
  • Glad to see so many players taking kickoffs out of the end zone - absolutely zero reason to take a knee at this point in the year unless you're trying to show off your in-game intelligence. That said, still waiting for Le'Veon LeBlanc to wow me with his return skills.
  • I realize that, as the most unimpressive person I know, I have zero right to demand wowing from anybody.
  • New England's second offensive play of the game was a 2 WR set with TE #81 motioned out wide before cutting across the middle pre-snap. A few years and a handful of murders ago, that would have been a really exciting play.
  • For those keeping score at home, #81 now belongs to Clay Harbor. Based on his contract, he should be a lock as the 3rd tight end, and it was good to see him getting some reps out there.
  • Very interesting how the announcing squad did their best to act like Jimmy G's 3rd down throw that Aaron Dobson should definitely have caught couldn't have been more inaccurate. Yes, he should have led the receiver, but it's plays like that that have given Aaron Dobson the nickname "Dropson."
  • There are just too many Long Long jokes, and it's too early in the preseason, for me to really touch the battle between Chris and Kyle. Too bad they aren't playing in the regular season.
  • This now marks the 266th consecutive preseason dominated by flags flying everywhere. I'm aware that it comes from the league to both give the refs the necessary practice and keep the players on their toes...but the NFL is already charging full price for seats to these games. You have to pay extra if you want to watch them outside of your local broadcast range. Nobody who matters takes them seriously. The least they could do was make some effort to make it more entertaining.
  • Not the best day for Pat Chung. Caught out of position a few times, some penalties to keep Chicago drives alive.
  • Great day, however, for Trey Flowers. Phenomenal push, showed a couple of nice moves, and kept everyone nervous and off-balance.
  • I just realized that I also just described myself at every single high school dance I ever attended.
  • In 2004 or 2005, there was a preseason game between the Patriots and the Bengals where Cincy drove long for a score, the Patriots ran three plays and punted, the Bengals drove long for a score, the Patriots ran three plays and punted, and around and around we went.
  • Oh Marcus Cannon. You ice skate wearing fool.
  • Curious as to why Cannon got the nod over LaAdrian Waddle. The fact that I don't remember much about him last season leads me to believe he may very well have been New England's best lineman in 2015.
  • LeGarrette Blount has to be the most enigmatic running back in the entire NFL. Flashes of brilliance, bruising hits, and then a whole lot of nothing in between. matched by a whole lot of nothing. Kind of like me after all you can eat prime rib at Golden Corral.
  • I wonder how many of the plays the Patriots ran yesterday were called by Garoppolo at the line vs. radioed in by the coaches. So much of New England's offense hinges on that pre-snap read.
  • Chris Long had himself a night; tremendous versatility and a lot of raw strength that belies his age.
  • Tyler Gaffney looks like somebody and I can't put my finger on it. I expressed as much to the girlfriend, who earned the right to watch the game with me again after last week's "Fleener Weiner" comment, and she came back with two guys named Mark Consuelos and Jesse Metcalfe, both of whom I had never heard of. She might be playing herself off the roster with this subpar week two performance.
  • Who is this Anthony Johnson guy? I haven't heard a word about him until last night. The Patriots should keep a steady line with all of the Miami Dolphins castoffs.
  • Lots to like about the 2-minute drill to close out the half. Other than an end zone throw to Chris Hogan up the seam that was a little questionable, Garoppolo was poised, kept his head downfield, went through his progressions, and managed the clock beautifully. 57 yards on seven plays in under 1:30 is just what the doctor ordered.
  • No clue what to make of Blount starting in the 3rd quarter. Subs everywhere, and then there's Blount making cuts. I feel like the Patriots are treating this preseason differently than all the preseasons that preceded it given the current QB situation, and thus you can't really read too much into who is out there late in these games.
  • Play of the night was a beautiful strike from Garoppolo to Hogan where Jimmy G sold the playaction, waited for the routes to develop, stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure, and hit Hogan in stride. That was a Brady-esque play where limited movement in the pocket and patience turned into a huge gain. We didn't see any of that last week.
  • How about that AJ Derby? What a night from that guy. Don't Sudfeld it up, now, AJ.
  • Holy Tebow do the Patriots love that FB dive play on down and short. As a team known widely for constantly altering the playbook and remaining gameplan-specific, they are as predictable as it gets with that play, and it doesn't work as often as the frequency would dictate.
  • Man, Brian Hoyer just isn't a good QB.
  • Jacoby Brissett isn't getting it done either..but at least Brissett has a legitimate excuse. He has a nice deep ball, though.
  • It's amazing how much slower the 2nd half of a preseason game is compared to the first half. I thought that the first part of last night's game had some decent flow to it, penalties notwithstanding. But once Jimmy G went out...yawn.

Overall, lots to be happy about here. The preseason is all about positive movement forward at every position, and we saw that last night for sure. Positions are solidifying and as we approach the first round of cuts, the overall picture is starting to come into focus. With that all-important Week 3 game on the horizon, this is going to be a crucial week of practices.