I have a some observations from the game on Thursday night that I would like to share……
- 1.) The official attendance was 49,000 and change, but I didn’t see that. I believe many of our season ticket holders stayed home and I would guess we had about 30,000 or less actually there braving the elements, just a light sprinkle keeping it cool. Good night for a beat down.
- 2.) Tom Brady came out with a vengeance, making up for not being played last week. Bill Belichick always brings his “A” game and I am so glad we are not in their division. In the first quarter of the game, the most difficult to watch, it was as if the Patriots knew every play the Bucs called before they ran it. And not that Coach Olson was pulling out all of the stops, and I would never accuse the Patriots of cheating, but if I didn’t know better I would have guessed Coach Belichick was a mind reader or the highest order. It was like watching Daniel Negreanu play poker, where he often spouts off exactly what his opponent has in his hand. The Patriots are one of toughest teams the Bucs will play this year and I would not be surprised if they run their division and then some.
- 3.) Great learning experience and film study coming. The young Bucs were given their comeuppance from a team that is one of the NFL elites. If I was the one reviewing the film, I would be focused on the patriot’s starting offensive line, they were phenomenal. I actually did that today, in an effort to dissect our defensive line play, but my focus was continuously drawn back the Pats’ O’line. They were not creating huge holes but holes just big enough for long enough to allow a pulling guard, tight end or full back to blast through, followed by a nimble running back gashing us again and again. It was poetic at times. Let’s not just fix what we did wrong, but copy what they do right.
- 4.) Youth was quite apparent in many areas, but not just in a bad way. It was nice to see Da’Quan Bowers get some good playing time. He has a long way to go to become the dominant player we are looking for. Rob Gronkowski gave him fits at times and so often our defensive ends would rush inside only to have the running back bounce outside for a long gain. I don’t know if Coach Millard was having them run some pass rush games (stunts), but when the ends went inside the tackles didn’t loop around to contain. Adrian Clayborn is still a high motor guy that doesn’t give up on a play. Gerald McCoy is getting better all the time and overall I feel good about our defensive line and where they are at this point in time. Anthony Gaitor and Larry Asante both played as if there was no tomorrow. Elbert Mack, whom I feel is on the bubble mad a strong case last night as well.
- 5.) I hate to bring up the penalties but I would guess there were a lot of gassers being run today or at the next practice anyway. My Drill Instructor would always tell us back in the day “you will either be very smart or very strong”. No exception here and the truth is, we ended up both smart and strong, as we worked to the goal of “A Conditioned Response”. You don’t think, you just react, because the mind and body are united as one. We’ll get there as a team. I have the utmost faith in our head coach. One last thing on the myriad of penalties was that James Lee was called for holding repeatedly, but the Patriots’ tackles were guilty of the same thing on numerous occasions, but hey, they’re the Pats and they get the love. I promise you that there is at least one hold committed on every single offensive play run in the NFL. Some are just better at it and disguising it. Experience dictates and it doesn’t excuse it.
- 6.) On the bright side Mason Foster is playing hard, fast and making few “full speed mistakes” and Coach Morris appears to be on the right track with him. I was not impressed with Tyrone McKenzie, but it is only one game. Dakota Watson is making a case to be a starter and as I said before, Geno Hayes needs to pick it up. Frank Okam is something else, but the Patriots have like 5 of him, with Vince “The Monster” Wilfork leading the charge inside. For the record, I love a five man rush.
- 7.) If there was one major concern to me, it was the play of our Starting Offensive Line, because it was “Offensive, Smelly, I mean they smelled Bad”. Here’s the deal, and Coach Morris knows this. Cream floats to the top. Jeff Faine could have stayed home for what it’s worth. Jeremy Zuttah is bigger, stronger, faster and plays center very well. He is our number one. Ted Larson plays better in tandem with Zuttah than he does Faine. Jeremy Trueblood has been beaten in pass protection since he first got here and little has changed. Why is James Lee playing Left tackle behind Donald Penn when he should be the number one right tackle? I don’t know, maybe he took the summer off, but I think Jeremy Trueblood did too. I want to see more of Brandon Carter, he has a mean streak and I hope Davin Joseph will play better next to Jeremy Zuttah. Josh Freeman was having to drop 9 yards deep, allowing the ends to beat the tackles, because the middle of our O’line was an open invitation. At least Josh Freeman didn’t get hurt in them melee.
- 8.) My final thought is the excitement I felt when Mason Foster lit up Chad Ochocinco. It
was a good play on the ball with few other options.
On his Twitter account, Chad tweeted today:
“@Mason_Foster great hit last night,if u’re fined I’ll reimburse u boss.That’s the way the game should b played.Stay healthy n have a good yr.”
Then Devin Holland totally “jacked up” Danny Woodhead, and I hope he alright today, but the game has been played this way for decades but this type of hit is no longer acceptable in today’s NFL. Holland has been overly aggressive on 2 occasions, but I still flew out of my seat when I saw the hit. It was a crack-back block lead with a forearm followed through by helmet leaving his feet. It was a textbook “De-cleater”. Bill Belichick should not have been playing Danny Woodhead with only a few minute left in the 4th quarter of a preseason game. Coach Belichick has a bad habit of “rubbing it in”, but in this case, one of his star players got “rubbed out”.
Danny Woodhead said today that he is okay. I find that hard to believe and I would rather take a punch from Quinton Rampage Jackson. “I pity the fool”