Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Patriots Preseason Game #1 Preview

Here is a look at what to for the Patriots' first of four preseason games this August.
The Patriots wrap up three days with the defending champ Saints. The team finishes up two days of joint-session practices today and make final preparations for the game tomorrow night.

The starters for both teams only figure to play one series or two tomorrow night. Wes Welker is questionable to play at all as he continues his rehab from a serious knee injury suffered only 7 months ago. Brady looks to play one series or two along with Randy Moss. Key defensive players will not play out of the first quarter(Vince Wilfork,Jerod Mayo,Brandon Meriweather). Throughout the pre-season, there are some position battles to look at as players fight for spots on the team and spots throughout the team. Here are some key battles to look at.

1. Starting Running Back- The main question here is can Laurence Maroney win the job for himself. The easy answer would be no and accepting that Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris will see some serious time too. People do forget though that Maroney is only 25 and Belichick would prefer he become the featured back by himself. That would leave the veterans in supporting roles that they could thrive in along with third down back Kevin Faulk. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis looks to earn a spot on the squad as Maroney,Morris, Taylor and Faulk all figure to make the team easily.Green-Ellis needs to beat out fellow young backs Chris Taylor and Thomas Clayton.

2. 3,4,5 Receivers- The top two receivers are very set on this team as Randy Moss and Wes Welker are two of the best in the game. The third,fourth,and fifth receivers are up for grabs between second year men Brandon Tate(UNC)and Julian Edelman(Kent State), rookie Taylor Price(Ohio),Torry Holt, Sam Aiken,and Matthew Slater. Veterans Aiken and Holt are being pushed in camp by the young guns Price Tate and Slater who all look good. Aiken usually makes the team for his special teams but that varies from year to year. Many in camp have been saying that Holt looks old and has been dropping alot of balls so these jobs could easily go to the young guys. Edelman is a lock to make the team after his performance late last season.

3. Tight End- This seems to be a fierce battle between veteran Alge Crumpler and rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. These three seem set to make the team but their order on the depth chart.

4.Left Guard- This is Cry Baby's(Logan Mankins) job if he signs the damn contract he is offered. Otherwise it comes down to Nick Kazcur who is injured currently and backup Dan Connolly(SW Missouri State).

5. Right defensive end- Gerard Warren is the projected starter here but Damione Lewis and Myron Pryor will challenge for the position and see significant playing time along the line.

6. Inside linebacker- Gary Guyton is the returning starter but has been injured throughout camp so it looks like rookie Brandon Spikes will win the job but both will see time to start off the season until Spikes grows and matures a player in Belichick's defense. Jerod Mayo is obviously the other inside linebacker here.

7. Outside linebacker- Tully Banta-Cain is one clear cut starter at one side but the other side is a toss up between rookie Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich. Both will see time as the team searches for a pass rush.

8. Free Safety- Brandon McGowan v. James Sanders. McGowan is more of an linebacker/safety hyrbrid while Sanders is ball hawking center fielder who likes to jack people up.

These are the big battles for positions throughout the team. More battles for roster spots will develop through the preseason as the roster gets trimmed to 53 by September 5th.

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