Week 3 preseason, almost there people. Almost there.
Did anyone else not get any pregame coverage on this one? I've made it very clear in this space before that Patriots pregame is one of my favorite running series. That and The Simpsons. Maybe my cable was screwed up, but this change was not appreciated. I except much better execution during the regular season.
Despite growing up in New England, I have a friend who is a die hard Detroit Lions fan. He's hardcore. He used to travel to Detroit for the Thanksgiving game every year. He stayed with them through everything, including 0-16. He lives in Russia now. It's times like this that I'm reminded to be thankful our team is full of winners, and we aren't so bad that I stop caring all together and move out of the country.
OK, OK, enough ignoring the mini elephant in the room. I don't mean the issue is mini, I just mean the player. Julian Edelman. FUCK. Watching Jules as Tom Brady's go-to guy on that first drive was dominant. Watching Jules get carted off the field was heartbreaking. Life is not fair.
Don't get me wrong, the Pats will be fine, but it's a brutal pill to swallow. You cannot replace a Gerry Bertier Julian Edelman. As a player or person. The trust he has with Tom takes years to build up, the absence of which will be felt most on third downs. I just can't believe this happened. I hate the preseason. I hate football. I hate Jules for trying to make hard cuts in August against the Lions. Minus Rob Gronkowski, we were so injury free last year. Going into this season I had a deep worry that the injury bug was going to burrow its way into our intestines. After watching Deatrich Wise - concussion, Derek Rivers - acl, and now Jules - acl, my worst fears are confirmed. Now I need Trinity from the Matrix to come suck this thing out of our belly button so we can get on with our season.
The only pieces of "good" news I can take out of this at all come from the timing of the injury. When Dion 'Didi' Lewis went down in week 10 it cost him the beginning of last season as well. At least Jules hurting himself now means he should be ready for camp next year. That way he can slowly get into the swing of things from a football stand point during the summer months. I hate watching people rush back to start the season and spend every week until Thanksgiving basically running in slow motion, too scared to test the knee. Also, and this is kind of selfish but so be it, if you aren't going to be available for the important parts of the season, I prefer you get out of my life right now. I don't want to spend 8 weeks building up a plan with our offense, counting on having the skills of Edelman available to me, if he is going to be gone in the playoffs. *IF* he has to tear an acl, I'd rather it happen now so we can start shaping our team's mentality on how to execute without him. Everyone else will have their roles established sooner and start to build up a rapport with Tom. Again. This is not good news. Some might even say bad news. But those are the two silver linings I'm clinging to.
I can barely talk about anything else at this point, but a few other things were able to enter my brain following this game. I think it was telling that Didi started the game at RB. This is a very flexible offense that will change a little bit depending on which back is in the game. Didi has a spot on this team one hundo p at this point because he brings a unique skill set. I'm starting to think more and more that he could be his old self and needed that gap year after the injury because he was still healing. Just like I needed a gap year when I finished college. It wasn't because I couldn't find a job, I just wanted to "travel."
After a solid week 2 in the kicking game, and truthfully another good field goal week including the clutch game winner, we did see another Stevie Gostkowski missed extra point. Are we going to have to worry about this guy again?? I hope not, and I'm certainly not panicking yet. But I would really appreciate it if he could get back to the incredibly accurate kicker he has been his whole career, proving last year was simply a speed bump.
Chris Hogan looks great. So impressed. I was ready to call his role on the team finished at the start of summer. I'm a big Malcolm Mitchell guy, and with the Bradin Cooks signing I wasn't sure how valuable Hoags could be. But with the Jules injury, Money Mitch and his balky knee, combined with the clear jump Hoags has taken now that he is more comfortable with the offense, I can see he is going to be huge for us.
It looks like Mike Gillislee is going to keep up his insanely high scoring rate he established as a backup in Buffalo last year. Gilly is going to love being a Patriot if we keep scoring as often as I think we are going to and he keeps getting to vulture tuddies from inside the 5. He might not reach the incredible mark of 18 set by LG, but he should crack double figures no problem.
I thought there were a ton of flags in this game. If this was the regular season I would be pissed, but here in the preseason I can let it fly. (get it?) The refs have to practice too. I hope we see far less laundry when the games count though.
The oline looked better than last week in my eyes. I counted a few times that Cameron Fleming got beat, but I still say he improved on his efforts. Either way, Nate Solder will be a welcome return.
Malcolm Butler is a stud, this much I know. But he hasn't looked that good yet?? I'm not sure what's going on, and he did have some tough plays out there this week, but so far Stephon Gilmore has looked every bit the 65 million dollar man. If Malcolm can continue to improve on his play from his first two seasons in the NFL then teams are going to have a hell of a time throwing on us. And with the way we've been known to get up on teams, that should spell a big increase in the interception totals.
You know who can drink a beer with me any day? Adam Butler. Loving this kid. He is fully part of the interior rotation now. Getting pressure. Playing two gap. What a steal.
Can't believe I'm saying this with such certainty, but Cyrus Jones has made this team. And is our punt return. Get ya popcorn ready.
Justin Coleman is dope. He had another great pass breakup this week. I'm not sure he is about to unseat Eric Rowe at the third corner spot, but it's been a long time since we've had this type of depth at that position.
Harvey Langi is the real deal too. Not only is he a roster lock at this point, he might be a starter. He's in the running for the JO jersey purchase this year.
Kony Ealy sucks at football, so he will be a perfect Jet.
That's all I got, guys. Pray for a speedy recovery for our main man Jules. Maybe there will be advanced developments in the medical field and he will be ready come February when we're playing in the bowl.