First of all, I just want to take a moment to exclaim out loud to all who read this, "FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!"
I, for one, couldn't be happier about this. That being said, most people I know don't watch the pre-season, and up until recently (the past 2 years) I didn't either! But that's because I didn't know what to look for! This is the time to get a solid foundation for our defensive schemes / see some second or third string players in action / and get a glimpse of how rusty we have or have not become in the offseason. That being said, here's a few takeaways from last night's game:
1. Jimmy G has some work to do - All throughout camp the talk of Jimmy Garoppolo has been that he is slow to make reads and decisions, and when he does they aren't always the right decisions. On the plus side, those who are more optimistic have said that when game time comes around he will pick it up much quicker and impress us. I saw the game last night, and I wasn't overly impressed. He made a few solid reads and a few good throws, but his interception could have been prevented by better placement of the ball in a tight space. I believe Jimmy has what it takes to grow into a great quarterback - but even he admitted that 11 points is not enough, and he needs to do better. I would agree.
2. The New England Patriots' ground attack is still intact - All I need to do is show you Jonas Gray's explosive 55 yard TD run to make my point here. By the start of the season we will have 2 thundering RBs to pound the ball into opposing defenses. LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray have both shown Patriots nation that opposing front 7s will have a very difficult time taking them down - much different from the running style of Stevan Ridley - but I love it. I think this style suits the Patriots' offensive game strategy perfectly.
3. Our defense is going to be okay - I have to admit that with the loss of Vince Wilfork, Brandon Browner, and Darrelle Revis, I thought we would need an entire re-vamp of our defense to make an impact. But it appears my mistake was forgetting about the impact of Bill Belichick. I did not see any glaring holes that cannot be fixed or any 1 particular flaw that makes our defensive unit vulnerable. Even though it's only 1 preseason game - it definitely helped to ease my mind about where we stand as a team going into week 1. Our offense is better than ever, and our defense will hold it's own.
I'm ready for football! Follow me on twitter @DexMatthews