FOXBOROUGH — Some parting thoughts as we wrap things up from Gillette Stadium:
- The real games don’t start for a month. Whatever concerns you may have — and judging from Twitter and elsewhere you have a few — they can be corrected. This is largely a young team and there will be a lot of learning going on now that there’s good film to go off of. And it’s the preseason. It means nothing. One thing I’ve learned over the years: never get too high or low off a preseason. There is no correlation to the regular-season.
- Terrific debut from Chandler Jones: I had Jones for five total quarterback pressures, including two holding penalties, in 14 dropbacks. He also factored into at least two stuffed runs (those of 1 yard or less). He really had Saints LT Jermon Bushrod on his heels from the first dropback (second snap). Jones’s strength and leverage was terrific. Overheard from the Saints’ locker room from the offensive line after the game: “Those guys are better than the Cardinals (Saints’ Hall of Fame Game opponent and a pretty good defense).”
- Real good coverage: Drew Brees had a really tough time finding open players when he dropped back to pass. Coverage seemed good from the linebackers back to the safeties, although they did give up a third-and-22 and I did see Patrick Chung take a bad angle. Tavon Wilson lined up all over the place. Seemed like Ras-I Dowling and Sterling Moore were splitting time as the nickel corner.
- Vereen shows up: RB Shane Vereen has been the forgotten RB in camp behind Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and even undrafted Brandon Bolden. And for good reason: Vereen hasn’t done much in camp. But when the lights came on against the Saints, Vereen looked like the top back. Very decisive and quick to the hole. Maybe he’s just a game player. Whatever it is, he’s back in the RB picture and needs to show it on a more consistent basis.
- Line woes: As expected, the Patriots’ offensive line was a little ragged, and Marcus Cannon, Nate Solder and Dan Connolly got Tom Brady crunched for a fumble. Seems like a lot of people are worried about Solder, but the feeling here is he’ll be fine with a month of practices. He’s not going to be an All-Pro this season, but he should be solid for the most part. Give Dante Scarnecchia a chance to work his magic. He usually does.