After the New England Patriots took down the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night, I posted my five biggest takeaways from that game. It was largely a positive showing for the Patriots, as we finally got to see their first team offense and defense in action.
However as usual, you can never have enough analysis on the Pats, even in the preseason. So here a few final thoughts on Friday’s contest:
Perhaps it was a coincidence, and he was only instructed to play a certain amount of snaps, but Stevan Ridley did not see the field after fumbling the ball early in the second quarter. Up until that point, Ridley was having a phenomenal game, as he was decisive in his cuts, and flashed that incredible mix of power and agility. I don’t think this slip-up will cost him the starting job, but it certainly means we should begin watching his ball security more closely.
2. Thompkins vs. LaFell
With Aaron Dobson out, the battle for the Patriots third receiver spot is up for grabs, and through two preseason games, it has been quite a battle between Kenbrell Thompkins, and Brandon LaFell. Both helped their cases on Friday, as they were solid in their route-running, and hauled in a few nice grabs. Thompkins had three for 32 yards (including a sick touchdown), while LaFell had two for 29. Regardless of who gets that third spot, I think the emergence of these two in camp will really help out this offense in the coming months. You can never have enough outside targets, and when Dobson returns, Tom Brady‘s aerial attack will be lethal.
3. Offensive line bounces back
I touched on it a bit yesterday, but after an extremely rough outing against Washington, this group as a whole bounced back in a big way. As a team, the Patriots racked up 250 rushing yards, and while the running backs definitely deserve a lot of credit, there were some huge holes opened up by the big guys up front. There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the center and right guard positions, but Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly both had good games against Philly, which bodes well for the future.