I don't do many observation threads, but since I'm feeling down due to the loss and wish to kill some time while my wife watches the DAL/DEN debacle, I figured I'd give it a go on some of the things I noticed today: 1. I've been speaking loudly about the fumbling issues throughout LeGarette Blount's career since the preseason, so it wasn't remotely surprising to me to see him put the ball on the ground at a very inopportune time. Coming into the season, Blount has historically fumbled at a 1/43 touch rate, and now has 10 (TEN) lost fumbles in a his career which spans a bit over 3 yrs. In comparison, coming into the season Ridley has fumbled at a 1/76 touch rate, and we all know the scrutiny that he's been under during his career here. Every RB fumbles at times, but Blount has had issues with this throughout his entire career so it's worth noting and something to keep an eye on in the future. I don't mind seeing Blount here to take some of the hits and keep our RBBC/Ridley somewhat fresh, but somehow I don't think that this is the last fumble that we see from him. 2. While Vellano and Chris Jones have shown themselves to be adequate players on the DL which is obviously a positive, I can't help but feel that we should still explore bringing in another DT in the big body sense. This thought rings true even more should Tommy Kelly miss any time. The thinness of the DL was the biggest concern for many of us, and I think that the Bengals did a great job of exploiting this obvious weakness. Our concern as fans is that all of the other teams are going to attempt to do the same thing. The next man up philosophy is great and our team has a much better success rate than others, but it's not going to work all of the time. That isn't a knock on either one of Chris Jones or Joe Vellano, because I think that both have shown themselves to be adequate enough at DT's, but the concern is there that it may not be enough. 3. Normally we don't have to hear about the term "trap game" very much with Bill Belichick at the helm, but this was a classic example even though I don't necessarily believe that they underrated the opponent. It was a back-to-back road game situation, with ATL last week and NEW ORL coming up next week. On top of that Cincy was licking their wounds after getting handled last week vs Cleveland. With the scheduling, the great defense that Cincy has, and the rain coming at a very inopportune time, it was a perfect storm of sorts for a loss. Normally I wouldn't care too much about a loss here and there, but Brees and company are coming to town with a very, very potent offense and a much improved defense. They are 5-0 for a reason, and my concern doesn't need an explanation. The thought of losing back to back games is a serious possibility. 4. Leon Washington has proven to be an absolute dud at this point, which is a shame since he came with a 1.2 million dollar pact. In comparison, the Chargers gave Danny Woodhead a 2 yr pact worth 3.5 million, or 1.75 million AAV. I'm not normally one to complain in hindsight, especially since I think we did a decent enough job of retaining our own FA's last year, but it's a comparison worth noting. Washington's inability to get on the field has been more than annoying to me, and I didn't think he looked too hot during preseason either. Hopefully Ridley's injury is not serious, as the early reports do not seem to be too worrisome with a lower thigh/top knee bruise. This move also risked Devin McCourty to injury returning kickoffs, which has been something that we all didn't want to see. I expect that Josh Boyce was either inactive today (never saw the list), or that Belichick just feels that he's not sure handed enough for that situation, but it may be time to choose a poison---and Devin McCourty is obviously one of the key players who we cannot afford to lose. I'd rather have had Blount back there again today under the circumstances, so that should put it all into perspective. 5. The offensive line didn't do a good job today, and that was disappointing. I think the most disappointing aspect for me was seeing Nate Solder get manhandled so frequently. Other than noticing that, I wasn't really able to pinpoint where the failure was, although the middle is normally the starting point for a lot of pressure. I'll be interested in hearing more specifics, and thoughts from those who are able to review the game footage later in the week. 6. Kenbrell Thompkins looks like he can be an upgrade over Brandon Llyod not only for the future, but also for the present. The main beef I have with him is the fact that he double catches so many balls. Rarely do you see him make a nice, clean grab. They are normally traps into his chest, and there have been several times in the past couple/few weeks where he's gotten it on the rebound. That is something that needs to change if he's going to continue to progress. 7. It was interesting to see the decision of holding out Collie today, and it's just hard for me to get a good read on what the future plan is with him. It's quite possible that even Belichick himself doesn't know until he sees him on the field in our offense. If he can contribute on any level, it'll be worth the low risk. I don't see too many scenarios where it can hurt too much, as much as I've heard people complaining about it this week. I don't think that it's going to stymie that development of the young receivers or anything like that, so I have a hard time seeing what the big concern is? 8. It was ironic to see that Brandon Spikes made that INT in the subpackage that he's normally not a part of. The only reason he was even on the field was due to Hightower's hamstring issue. It was another good play this year from a defense that has shown itself capable of slowing teams down. The most obvious test will be against Brees, Jimmy Graham, Sproles and company; all 3 who are the kinds of players who have given this defense problems--even this year's improved defense. I don't like the matchup myself, and it will be interesting to see how well they hold up next week. 9. Our TE's are nonexistent in my opinion. Aside from the position of the DL, and maybe the choice not to bring in another WR early in the summer after hearing of the Hernandez news, this is one of the more perplexing issues of the season to me. To say that Gronkowski is needed would be a huge understatement. I'd still like to see a better TE2 brought in/back, but that doesn't seem to be much of an option at this point in time. 10. Watching the Broncos is maddening, especially the precision that they have and how no one ever even gets a hand on Manning. I wasn't part of the club who complained too much about the loss of Welker, since I felt that Amendola could have been upside for the future (not the present). Couple that with the old IBBWT mantra, and I learned to live with it. After seeing him effectively use so many weapons to his advantage by getting rid of the ball so quickly, I am starting to become rather bitter about the choice to give an AFC rival such a weapon. Maybe it's just a moment of pessimism or weakness, but if you claimed that you weren't ever bitter about it, you'd be lying. Their schedule is incredibly easy, and the have great weapons in every facet of the offense (for skill players) so that even IF you're able to cover the bigger named WR's, you'll still get torched with the TE's/RB's. If/when Tamme comes back, it may get even "worse" for us in that regard. Normally I wouldn't even bat an eye at the stupid article from SI this week about the SB being set already, but we'll need to get some luck along with major improvement from some areas of our team in order to beat them--at least in my opinion. They are "that" good...don't shoot the messenger, I'm just telling it like it is. I don't mind the loss of Welker as much as I mind the improvement of the Denver Broncos. 11. I noticed Amendola favoring him lower abdomen/upper groin area a bit during the first 1/3 or so of the game, and I was worried that he wouldn't be able to make it through the game. Hopefully it's an injury that continues to improve and cannot be worsened too much by activity, or else I doubt he'd be out there. It was good to see his reps limited, but I hope that he's ready to go next week a bit more. 12. It was great to see a good game from Mayo. He was all over the field today and made some critical plays. He's become one hell of a leader on this team. 13. Ryan Allen looks to be a good choice so far, and had another decent day. Just thought it'd be worth noting since so many were very concerned about choosing to move on from our punter Mesko, this summer. To this point it's proven to be a very good move.