After watching the Pats 31-22 preseason win last night in Philly, I came away with the following observations:
1.) RBs: This set of RBs that the Pats have accumulated may be their best RB stable in the BB era. There's speed, there's power, there's flash, and even a bit of dash! I know it's only preseason, but didn't LeGarrette Blount remind you of vintage Corey Dillon?
2.) Ryan Mallett: Though he appeared to settle down the more he played, his inaccurracy has to be a concern. When completing a pass to Julian Edelman, the ball was delivered too wide, forcing Edelman to reach for it. Though Edleman managed to catch it, it exposed him to a hard hit. There was also that horrific miss of a wide, wide, wide, wide open receiver (Josh Boyce?)downfield in the first half, on what should have been an easy, pitch and catch TD pass.
3.) DL: The Pats defensed the run very well all night long. Though the pass rush could have been better, it wasn't bad. One has to remember that the defensive schemes employed by the Pats in preseason are very vanilla in nature. Marcus Bernard continued his good showing in camp thus far, finishing with 5 tackles, and a sack. Chandler Jones made a game changing type play when he tipped the ball out of the passing hand of Eagles QB, Nick Foles, causing a fumble. The Pats appear to have some quality depth on the DL. Last years' third round pick, DE Jake Bequette, may be on his way out.
4.) WRs: Didn't see the WRs getting much separation, save for rookie Josh Boyce (I believe it was him) who was wide, wide open on the aforementioned blown TD pass by Mallett. Rookie TE Zach Sudfeld (6'6", 253 lb) is a very big, bury guy! He looked like a man playing among boys, when matched against DBs.
5.) DBs: The secondary is remains the Achilles Heel of this team. Though the Pats' DBs can tackle, the overall coverage skills of this unit leaves much to be desired. There must be vast improvement here, if the Pats are to have a chance at winning another title.
6.) Stephen Gostkowski: Sorry...but I don't have confidence in this guy. And, it's not just because he missed two FGs last night. I know that the Pats will likely never have another closer like they had in Adam Vinatieri. But, they need to find a better closer than "The Ghost".
7.) LBs: This group can shut down the run with the best of them. But, pass coverage is a different matter.
Thoughts? Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=330809021