Things to watch in the Patriots first preseason game
Football is back New England Patriots’ fans. Granted, it is a preseason game and for the most part no one really cares what happens, but there is something exciting about the first preseason game. It is the first time for the fans to see their team back on the field and a preview of what is to come for the season. For the hardcore football fans, however, there are always things to look for. I want to highlight three:
1. Who is going to play on the offensive line?
The Patriots offensive line has a lot of major questions right now. All-pro guard Logan Mankins is still recovering from ACL surgery, last year’s starting right-guard Brian Waters still hasn’t reported due to a contract dispute, and last-year’s left tackle Matt Light is now working for ESPN leaving a second year man in Nate Solder watching Brady’s blind-side. T0 make matters worse, the man who was slated to fill in for Waters or Mankins, Robert Gallery, retired unexpectedly from football. To make matters worse, the offensive-line seems to take an injury hit every other day at training camp. With positions to win at numerous spots on the depth chart to win, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, steps up. Guys like Marcus Cannon could establish themselves as potential starters at either tackle or guard and Donald Thomas might get a shot at either guard spot. After that, we really don’t know. Patriots’ fans will have to watch the line play carefully as they are only getting thinner as the season gets closer. That’s not good.
2. The type of offense the Patriots’ mostly run
Don’t expect the Patriots to start showing all of their cards Thursday night, but we will still get some idea what the Patriots’ are running this season. As previously mentioned , the type of offense the Patriots run (2 WR vs. 3 WR) will make a huge impact on who makes the roster, especially at the wide-receiver position. There also been a lot of chatter throughout camp that the Patriots are going to want to run the ball more and make that a big part of the game. Notably, I will be examining who gets the first quarter carries and what formations the Patriots line-up in. That will give us a general idea what the Patriots offensive personal is going to look like.
3. Is there a base defense?
More than likely with the way that offenses work these days, the Patriots like every other team will be in sub-package most of the time during the regular season. The preseason might be the only time we really get to see what kind of base defense the Patriots are running. It might sound contradictory considering that the Patriots will be in sub-packages most of the time, but seeing the base defense is still important. This is because it will establish roles for players namely the OLB/DE tweeners. We will see if guys like Chandler Jones will be stand-up or stance down guys tonight.