Actually not exactly insomnia, but waking up really really early. I think this is going to be a shorter post, relatively speaking as I'd rather not to spend too much time repeating what others have spent most of the post game already talking about. So rather than offering new insights to elevate the discourse of the board, this will be more of me selfishly rehashing stuff just to get it off my chest. Anything perceptive I might add will be purely coincidental The OFFENSE 1. Nat Solder - why not get right to who will be the flash point for most of the arguments from this game. There were 2 plays in particular that people will be critical of. Both were very similar in that they were run around rushes where Solder never laid a hand on the defender. a. The first one resulted in the only sack of Brady. I call that one the prototypical "Aaron Maybin run around sack". I really didn't see a lot of what Solder could have done. Wembly simply ran around him and did a good job flatting out his rush (unlike Maybin) Brady helped him out by not stepping up but rather rolling to the outside and not getting rid of the ball in a timely manner. Solder will end up being the focus of blame, but certainly was not entirely at fault b. the 2nd resulted in a rushed incompletion and was similar to the first except that I thought Solder was a bit slow getting off the ball, but essentially the DE ran around Solder and some inside pressure kept Brady from stepping up and let it wash harmlessly by. c. There were a couple of other less than stellar moments, like the time he chop blocked a guy to keep his hands down (successfully btw) but Brady held on to the ball, and the guy got up and hit him as he rushed the pass. I'm sure Solder will get credit for allowing a QB hit, but essentially he did what he was supposed to do. d. I was pleased that he didn't allow that inside move that caused him some problems in the preseason, and his run blocking was excellent. e. Overall I thought that Solder's play continued on its upward swing from the preseason lows. Some plays were better than others, but still pretty good and likely to be better. 2. I didn't hear Marcus Cannon's name mentioned even though I'm pretty sure he played RT at least half the game. I'm sure he had some plays he'd like back, but he certainly wasn't the unmitigated disaster that many suggested he'd be if he had to play RT. 3. I saw Mankins get beat badly one play. It was literally a whiff that forced a rushed throw. Still its kind of amazing that he's come back so quickly from such serious knee surgery. Some bumps in the road are to be expected 4. I have to admit I'm kinda surprised how solidly Wendall played. I'm not a big fan. He's too undersized for my taste. Fine as a short term fill in, but I don't want him facing any big and powerful NTs on a regular basis. But credit where credit is due. 5. The best part of having a successful running game is that it builds toughness on the OL, and a tough mental attitude. It allows the OL to attack. rather than be passive. It wears down the DL and slows the pass rush late in the game. 6. Overall any angst I had about the OL evaporated by the end of this game. Its certainly not a finished product by any means, but Dante's OL's have a long history of playing better as the year goes on. The lack of any real continuity throughout the preseason still has to be accounted for. Even yesterday there were a lot of OLmen who were shuffled in and out, between Mankins and Volmer's lack of conditioning and Connolly's ding. It was an OK start and likely to get better. 7. Ridley's running reminds me a lot of Matt Forte....and that's a good thing. I think what impressed me most about his 125ypc and almost 6ypc, was that his longest run was just 17yds. I'd be willing to bet that his yards after contact number would be excellent as well. He showed a lot of promise last season, and he's not disappointing so far in this one. The ke word here is "so far". Before we get too flowery in our praise, I have you remember what Parcells said after Curtis Martin's first big day rushing the ball. 8. My favorite pass play was the back shoulder throw to Lloyd. He had a couple more impressive for ESPN, but none more important as far as its impact to the rest of the season. If the Brady and Lloyd can throw that one consistently, it will set up a lot of rest of the deep moves that will make Lloyd the kind of deep threat we haven't had here since Moss' heyday. Also, even though it didn't work out, that miss that Brady and Lloyd had in the first quarter bodes well for the future. It looked to me to be a pure ad lib by both based on a blown coverage. Lloyd read the coverage and adjusted his route and Brady saw it as well. The execution was flawed, but we can take some comfort in that they both were on the all important "same page" so early in the season. 9. I wouldn't pay much attention to Welker's lack of production. There are simply too many viable options for him to put up the kind of numbers he's had the last 5 years. Plus all the receivers will lose numbers if we continue to only throw the ball 30 times a game. It wouldn't have been so noticeable if you had added that drop to his total. Even there I liked the fact that they targeted him 15 yds down the field. I'm sure Wes will have a lot of games where he'll rack up big numbers, just not as many of them. 10. Brady was sharp, solid, spread the ball around, involved the RBs, moved well in the pocket, and will look tougher now with that broken nose. Best of all he had "only" around 236 yds passing and "only" 2 TD's. I think this offense is striving to be, not one with a few players with great FF numbers, but a team that will put up 30+ points and control the TOP, the tempo of the game and can FINISH.