After reviewing the first half of the Patriots-Redskins game, here were a few things that caught the eye on what seemed to be areas of priority for the offense:
Power package. With power-package fullback Russ Hochstein traded last week, the Patriots tried something new by using rookie offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer as a sixth lineman in short-yardage situations. That made left tackle Matt Light an eligible receiver, and led to a situation where Light had to leave the game on the next play when the Patriots went to the standard five-man line, before returning the following play. The results were one of the bright spots on the night -- a 7-yard run on second-and-2, and a 3-yard run on third-and-1.
Different looks out of the shotgun with running backs. The Patriots ran three plays with running backs Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney on the field together. They lined up on each side of Tom Brady in the shotgun. The results: 3 pass attempts, 1 completion, 13 yards. This type of package could be designed to help in pass protection, and then depending on which defenders rush, either back could be a weapon as a receiver. Maroney, in particular, has displayed some effective yards-after-catch ability this preseason.
Different looks with tight ends in a full-house backfield. There were two times that tight ends Chris Baker and David Thomas lined up in the offensive backfield along with running back Fred Taylor. The first time, Thomas motioned out of the backfield to a spot on the line. The second time, Thomas delivered an impressive block to spring Taylor for a 10-yard gain. This seems to be an example of the Patriots tapping the versatility of their tight ends, and also reflects how Thomas -- a 2006 third-round pick who appeared to be on the roster bubble entering camp -- has been one of the surprise stories this summer.
Working out of the base three-receiver packcage. After featuring the four-receiver package last week against the Bengals, the three-receiver set was the primary package. That gave Tom Brady a chance to dial up Randy Moss, as the chemistry between the two was as impressive as ever. Brady's ability to identify things before the snap, which puts the offense in the best position to capitalize after the snap, is a treat to watch when it all comes together like it did with his connections to Moss.