The New England Patriots offense shredded the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night to open the preseason, and it wasn’t just Tom Brady’s surgical precision that led the Patriots to 31 points. The biggest performances on offense for the Pats were at running back, as Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount ripped off big gains, and Blount ended up rushing for over 100 yards. A big reason for Blount’s success and the overall success of the Patriots offense was the struggles of the Eagles defense, as the Eagles continued to miss an insane amount of tackles and take bad angles against the ball-carrier.
The Patriots game on Friday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will give this team a more accurate barometer of how good the running backs are, because the Bucs are much better at tackling and have a better run defense as a whole. I honestly can’t wait to see LeGarrette Blount stick it to his former employer, because Greg Schiano did him wrong in Tampa by basically kicking Blount to the curb.
Tom Brady understands the fact that the Patriots running game will be tested more against the Bucs and noted that the Buccaneers had the NFL’s best run defense last season during an interview with Dennis and Callahan, “We’re going to be challenged this week by Tampa, who finished last year ranked number one stopping the run. “We only had one game, one sample size so to speak, we’re going to see how our run game, our pass game, our tempo, and all those things play out against another team. That’ll give us a little better indication of where we’re at.”
Brady, like most of us, knows that one preseason game barely says anything, while each preseason game after that helps shed more light on the picture, especially when going up against opponents with units of varying skill level. For the Bucs, run defense is a big strength, and we’ll see if Ridley, Blount, and Brandon Bolden can still have plenty of success on the ground against Tampa.