Patriots Preseason Game One: The Good, The Bad and the Fugly

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IAugust 8, 2008

Let me preface this article with this quote from Bill Belichick following last night's preseason opening loss to the Ravens:

It’s the first preseason game. That’s the perspective. We have won them, we have lost them and we lost this one by one. This is the first preseason game. There is plenty of things to work on and plenty of things to correct with everybody. I don’t care what the score is or who you play or anything else. That’s what we will do.

There were some good things last night and there were some bad things. There's no need to rush to judgement about either, there's still a long road to go before the regular season starts and the games start to count. As my Dad always says: don't let your highs get too high, nor your lows get too low.

With that said, here's my follow-up to my previous five keys article with how each played out:

The Good

The rookies did indeed 'Bring the Pain'. The excitement surrounding what Jerod Mayo will bring to the 2008 Pats is electric after his performance last night. A  ferocious young linebacker is what Pats fans have been salivating for and it looks like we have one.

Shawn "Crazy Legs" Crable had a sack and an interception, and looked fairly comfortable setting the edge in his first action as a stand-up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Must've felt good for the ex-Wolverine to drill ex-Buckeye Troy Smith.

Matthew Slater showed good burst and looked like he belonged. Kevin O'Connell showed just as much, if not more, than the other two quarterbacks, in his first ever NFL action no less.

Pierre Woods had a strip sack and was an all-around stand out. Looks like he could be getting some playing time this season in the regular defense. Perhaps he's part of the reason the Pats felt okay letting Rosey Colvin walk? 

Lamont Jordan also looked solid. Should Sammy Morris indeed be hurt again Jordan looks like he would be a decent complimentary back to Laurence Maroney, who looked to be running hard last night as well.

The Bad

The O-line wasn't very good in this one and if Russ Hochstein, who appeared to be injured, is lost for any amount of time things could be looking very dicey for the Pats.

Let's not panic just yet, Matt Light could be back at practice this week and then we've got four of five starters back from last year.

But yes, even then we're got a gaping hole at right guard. Who knows what Stephen Neal's status is. And if Hochstein is indeed hurt, we're looking at Billy Yatesas our starting right guard. Ew.

We don't know for sure how serious any of last night's injuries were yet, but Tank Williams and Sam Aiken both left the game and did not return. The loss of Tank would hurt but the Pats could overcome it, assuming Rodney Harrison and James Sanders, who have both missed multiple practices, aren't also too badly injured.

Aiken was having a great camp thus far and looked to be a core Special Teams contributor. Again, his loss would hurt but would not be irrecoverable.

As has always been the case with the Bill Belichick Patriots we have no way to know anything about any injured players, all we can do is wait and see if anyone gets put on IR.

The Fugly

Thursday night was not a good one if your name is Matt Cassel or Chad "The Chad" Jackson. They weren't bad. They were embarrassing.

I don't know who's fault the interception was, and I don't really care. Neither player looked like they were veteran NFL players. And them yelling at each other as they walked off the field only made it worse.

No one on the Patriots roster had more pressure on them heading into last night than Cassel and The Chad. And no one looked worse.

Again, it's only game one of the preseason. Both of them will have a chance to bounce back, with better players surrounding them. But clearly they both failed last night's test.