Some Tough Moments From Saturday For Patriots Sanders

Ian Logue
August 30, 2011 at 10:45am ET

Filling the Patriots' needs: No. 2 Linebackers
Rob Gronkowski says he'll be back with Patriots
Buckley: Perfect celebration of Gil Santos’ life
Plenty of option plays for Patriots
Rob Gronkowski tells Patriots he will play this season

Just cleaning out some notes I had from Saturday night's game, and after yesterday's release of James Sanders, looking back there were several key moments in that game that stood out:

Sanders had a few tough moments Saturday night out in Detroit. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

1) Sanders didn't fare well on the opening screen play.  Not only did he fail to recognize the play, he got blocked out (and pushed backward) by Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a 12-yard gain.

2) On Detroit's second drive, Sanders got blown up again on a 52-yard gain on screen play by Jerome Harrison, sliding in against an offensive lineman who was blocking downfield rather than trying to fight past him - as well as taking a bad angle on the play.  In fairness to Sanders, one guy who looked worse on that play was Brandon Meriweather, who was blocked out by a receiver 20+ yards downfield.  The line of scrimmage at the start of the play was the Lions 37, Meriweather is shown battling with a blocker on the play at around New England's own 25 and was still being blocked at their own 10 yard line when Darius Butler finally brought him down.

3) On that same drive, Sanders was also one of three Patriots (along with Kyle Arrington and Meriweather) who Lions receiver Nate Burleson caught a touchdown in-between.  However, looking at the film, that wasn't necessarily Sanders' play to make.  That play was more of Arrington's fault because Burleson got a clean release off the line.  Meriweather also made a half-hearted effort to help out and could have also stopped the touchdown.

4) On the Lions next drive on a 2nd & 13, Sanders got bowled back 5 yards after a reception to tight end Tony Scheffler.  On the play it appeared Sanders got there late, hitting Scheffler at the Lions 39 before finally pushing him out of bounds at the Detroit 45.  Fortunately Arrington made a sack on the next play and killed the drive.

Those were just notes I had taken in the first half and never got to publish them after losing our services Sunday afternoon, although I'm sure there were a number of deciding factors (including the fact he only participated in 4 practices this preseason) that lead to his release.  

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sanders is visiting with the Falcons today.