Nothing that earth shattering, important or even insightful, just some thoughts that make me go HMMMMMM.1 1. I thought it odd that the Pats have 9 games this season that start at 1pm. This is a vast departure from recent years when they would routinely only have 2 or 3 one o'clock starts per season. I can only look on this as evidence of a national "Patriots fatigue" Face it guys, non-Pats fans are probably tired of constantly hearing about the Pats. Constantly seeing them in the spotlight. Constantly watching the Pats in the Sunday and Monday night national games, and 4pm starts. Its HAS to be annoying and frustrating to see the attention we get, and the high esteem in which the franchise is constantly held The only thing I can compare it to is how unpopular it was with the national audience when the Bills made it to the superbowl for the 4th consecutive time (a vastly under rated feat, btw). Nothing against the Bills, but people were just tire of seeing them in the Superbowl by that time. Also I can remember myself getting pissed constantly hearing he networks always building up the Cowboys Steelers, and Niners, back in the day, while ignoring my woe-begone Pats for most of the first 30 years of our existence. The good news for us is that "Patriots fatigue" means nine 1 pm starts, which is by far my favorite time to watch a Pats game. More convenient and less tiring 2. The Brian Waters saga once again points out several dangers of the new reality of what passes for news gathering in today's "journalism". What I saw from the firestorm that erupted on Friday was what happens when a few unverified reports are then speculated on, and then finally commented on as if the reports are actually the reality. Too much importance seems to be taken on "getting the story first". and less about verifying what is actually going on. The end result is that within a couple of hours. We were listening to mediots telling us that the Pats had cut Brian Waters salary to the vet minimum and they were hard balling a respected All Pro G for a measly $500,000. None of which seems to be true. Not that it matters to some of the Mediots The thing that worries me the most is that there there seems to be no consequences for when its done poorly,like in this instance, and no obvious reward for anyone to do it right. The only thing that matters is generating clicks, tweets, or phone calls, and having someone use you as a source to document THEIR flawed story. Being accurate insightful and informative have become much lower priorities The new credo is "be first" and be controversial .....and it doesn't hurt to piss people off either, so being wrong can be a plus. Bedard and Riess are the good guys in all this and should be supported for "DOING THEIR JOB"....and Curran should get an honorable mention. 3. When I watched Patriots all Access this week, something BB said I thought was worth repeating. Bill mentioned that the first game of the season is the hardest one for him to coach. He has very little information on the team they are playing and has yet to get a good feel about his own team\. When you think on it a bit, it really is true. 4. Here are a list of things that disturb me going into this game. a. The Titans have a very good OL that has had a lot of continuity and experience playing together, We on the other hand, are playing with a DL with a new alignment, with a lot of new moving parts, and new techniques. I'm really looking forward to seeing our new DL, but its hard to be comfortable with that dynamic. b. The Titans have one of the premier RBs in the league, and easily the most dangerous one. He is a legitimate threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. With a good OL this is the toughest running game test the Pats will face all year. and its coming at a time when we really don't know exactly how good we are going to be stopping the run....consistently. I'd be very happy to have CJ gain over 100 yards this game if we held him to just one rush of 15+ yds. Keeping him from breaking long runs will be key, and good tackling will be king. Fortunately we've been very good at this......so far this preseason. c. The other 2 main offensive threats are their QB, and TE. Their TE runs a sub 4.5 forty and will pose a threat to our new safeties, and the QB's legs could be more difficult to defend than his arm. d. For that reason I wouldn't be surprised to see us in a 3-4 alignment more often than expected compared to what we;ve seen this preseason. The 3-4 historically has been a better alignment to stop the run, especially to keep a team from beating you wide. e. Conversely, as settled as the Titans OL is, that's how much in a state of flux our OL is right now. We literally have questions at every OL position. Will Solder be as effective at LT as he was at right. How far back has Mankins really come back from his major surgery. Who is going to play C and what can we expect.(Wendell or Connolly) Who is going to play RG and what can we expect (Connolly or Thomas). And what is the over/under on Volmer's first back spasm. f. Personally I think the overall talent is fine. My anxiety comes more from issues of certain player's health, their experience, and most importantly, a lack of playing time together. I really believe that the OL will become less of an issue as the season goes on, but for the first game, you can't ignore it. g. I never underestimate the power of the home field advantage. Its opening day. A state icon (Pat Summit) is to be honored to open the game. The crowd will be on fire to start the game. Its a dangerous situation for the Pats, and while they don't have to start hot, they can't afford to start badly. 5. Here is a list of things that I'm really looking forward to seeing. a. Our running game. I'm looking for the 1-2-2 formation to open up our run game, and I expect it to be at least as effective as the Titan Run game b. Our passing game usually eats up teams that primarily use a Tampa -2 zone, and the Titans primary pass D is the Tampa 2 zone. However since I'm aware of this, so are the Titans, and I will be interested to see how much man, and 5 man underneath tight zones defenses the Titans use. You'd expect them to do things that clog up the underneath and middle zones. It will give us a good idea as to what other teams will be looking to do to us, scheme wise, to try and slow down our rather unique passing offense. Personally I think they are going to dare us to run the ball, and stay in nickel coverages on every down until we force them out of it. c. I think our pass rush will be more dynamic this year. Not just because of the additional talent we added, but because I think as BB gets more comfortable with the improvements he's made in the secondary, we will see some more overload, and zone blitzing schemes that we haven't seen since the mid 2000's that also included seeing position changes like seeing Cunningham and Jones rushing from the middle as well as from the edge. d. The first time we come out into a fast paced no-huddle, we will finally see some rhythm back in the offense. I wouldn't be surprised to see us come out in it early in an attempt to quite the crowd. e. I expect to see the secondary do a good job. Tennessee won't be the most difficult threat they will see by far, so I fully hope to see the secondary playing aggressively and contesting every pass 6. The replacement refs that did the Giants game were every bit as good as we've come to expect from the regular refs. However those were likely the best of the bunch to be used in the league's showcase opening game. We might not be as lucky with our group. So I fully expect to see 3 or 4 calls that are going to piss us off royally, but is that really much different from what we usually get from the regular refs? The one thing that I worry about is that we lose an advantage we usually have in a game. BB scouts refs as assiduously as he does opponents, and prepares his teams on what to expect from each group. I'm sure every team does it to some degree, but I doubt most teams do it as thoroughly, and coaches his team as well in using the info to their advantage. We can't do that now. Hopefully they will resolve this soon. The issues seem to be too small on both sides for this to keep on going too much longer. 7. There are people on this board that I constantly learn from. There are others that annoy the hell out of me. But be honest folks. If you had to choose one poster to watch a game and have a beer with, wouldn't that guy HAVE to be OTG. It terms of passion, knowledge and being a true original, there is no one even close. For shear entertainment purposes alone, he should be drawing a salary to post here. He is a one of a kind CHARACTER,who elevates the board and everyone on it. And as we get set to open the season, I tip my cap to you.