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Not in game shape just yet

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  August 12, 2011 08:03 AM

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I don't want to sound ungrateful about football being back, but, you know, when is football back?

The Sports Hub's Fred Toucher this morning summed up my exact feelings about last night's Patriots-Jaguars premium practice at Gillette Stadium: "I was very excited. And then the game started."

"Game" is taking things a little too liberally, but point taken.

Sure, the players in New England uniforms looked good beating the players in Jacksonville uniforms, 47-12. When do the Patriots and Jaguars play?

It's foolish to think of a preseason game as anything other than a scrimmage, one that just so happens to be played in front of sold-out crowd of season ticket holders and whomever said season-ticket holders suckered into taking their seats for the night. And look, I understand it's football, something we've all been clamoring since Aaron Rodgers raised Lombardi, but my goodness, you might have thought last night bore the keys to ending the financial crisis based on the way the players wearing New England uniforms were broken down and analyzed by Patriot fans and the local media.

Case in many points, here's the lead from an SB Nation piece on the practice: "Brian Hoyer did his best to make New England forget about Tom Brady..."

What?

Granted, both Hoyer and Ryan Mallett looked impressive in live, practice action last night, but sometimes this is the problem with our national pastime: Too much. Remember last training camp when Randy Moss looked "better than he's ever looked," in practice sessions? Grain, meet salt.

Call it Twitter overload, if you want, but last night I had Stevan Ridley in the Hall of Fame by 2014, and that was being conservative based on some of the analysis flowing through the feed. In the early stages of the game, I was begging for something, anything from the folks in the know in lieu of the constant play-by-play from the dozens I follow for a game I was watching. I know we make fun of Darren Rovell's 100 Rules of Twitter, but his No. 101 (or 400, I've lost track at this point) last night was spot on: "A reminder as NFL games get underway: Friends don't let friends tweet play-by-play."

Yes.

Yes.

By the second half, the play-by-play antics slowed down (though, admittedly at least it was better than a Bill Belichick press conference when I know I'm going to get the same quotes fed in 11-15 times), and I was left wondering if one of those commentating on the game were going to start breaking down the phases of the moon. Oh...wait. Or, at least how many beers Jim Koch had on the night. Actually, those topics may have had more merit for what we'll see going forward.

Thus, here are my conclusions and things we learned last night: Nuthin'

We didn't learn exactly what the defensive scheme is going to be. We didn't learn if Brady and Chad Ochocinco can get on the same page. We didn't learn if Albert Haynesworth can eventually lumber out of the locker room. We learned that the players in New England uniforms played well against other players in Jacksonville uniforms. But those 47 points the New England players put up might as well be hanging from the rafters at the Mullin Center.

We saw some things. That's it. Ten percent of those things may bear interest down the road. We learned nothing, and that's OK. Let's just not act like we did. 

Football is back. Just wake me when it's back.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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