Well, Pats family, we just watched our boys play a meaningful 60-minute game on week one of the NFL season. I'm not an expert by any stretch and I've never actually done a thread like this (taking a page out of Patfanken's book), but here is my attempt to summarize some of what I saw today. OFFENSE The GOOD: - Ridley was an ABSOLUTE BEAST. The running game overall was very good, but Ridley was definitely the focal point. He pretty much did everything we were hoping they'd do on the ground. This allowed the offense to be balanced. In fact, we watched the Patriots become very pass heavy on a few occasions, and all of those drives stalled. It was only when they involved a heavy dose of rushing that the offense clicked and they were able to move the ball and get points. - Brady looked a lot like the Brady we expect to see every game. His pocket awareness was on full display, as the line was just decent. He extended a few plays and made some nice throws, and yes I'm even talking about the pass to Lloyd that the receiver completely misjudged. And I don't know if you all noticed, but he did a majority of his magic after what's being reported to be a broken nose. - The TE's were very good today. There was nothing overly spectacular or dominant, but they showed why NE tied them up 'til later this decade. The NOT SO GOOD: - I saw enough from the offensive line to feel a bit more at ease, but they still left something to be desired. Although I think they'll get better as they settle in and continue to receive coaching and practice, but they were not all that good today, while not being all that bad either. Solder was up and down, but I think he was beaten more than we like. The right side of the line looked fairly good. Overall, much improvement is needed and I think we'll see it. - I hate to single him out, but Solder is going to get Brady killed if he doesn't begin to step up more in games. He seems to be struggling with leverage and speed. He seems smart enough to know what to do out there, but something is keeping him from doing it. I don't know if it's foot speed or what. At any rate, the kid needs to do better. - Welker was somewhat of a non-factor. Granted, another poster said that they were bracketing him, but I didn't see it myself. Few times was he seen doing anything significant in the game. I feel pretty confident that that had more to do with game planning than anything else. We'll see dominant Welker when the defenses we see dictate it. DEFENSE The GOOD: - The ROOKIES were better than advertised and, to a lesser degree, expected. Man, they came to play today. Jones, after what looked like a possible injury, seems fine and should only continue to get better as time goes on. Hightower played very well and never looked overwhelmed. Tavon also didn't look overwhelmed. In fact, he was always in the right position and I honestly think he was our best safety today. - Although McCourty has become the new Maroney, I think he and the secondary collectively played extremely well, especially when comparing them to a season ago. They gave up a few completions in the 2-deep coverage, but they made plays on the balls thrown and they made timely tackles to jar balls free. The Chung recovery should not have been overturned. That was definitely a bad call. We were all clamoring for improvement, and today we saw it. It wasn't perfect and there were some completions given up, but it didn't look like the same porous defense of a year go to me. I'v encouraged and will continue to watch this group closely as the season progresses. - Jermaine Cunningham made a strong case for himself today and will reward BB and the Pats for keeping him on the squad. He showed that the preseason and TC was no fluke. The kid put in the work and is showing why he was drafted. He gives credence to those who feel that last year went down the way it did because he was injured to some degree. - Wilfork and the rest of the front seven were monsters. The run D looks stout. Basing this on just one game, I'd have to say that the D will be top 5 against the run. The NOT SO GOOD: - Rob Ninko looked bad for almost the whole game. In fact, I think BB replaced him in the base defense with Cunningham late in the game. I think some of what looked like ineffectiveness had something to do with the scheme. They wanted to keep Locker inside and not let him scramble outside. However, he was bad even on plays where you could tell both DE's were told to pin their ears back and get to the QB. I don't think he'll be horrible all year, as he's improved too much for that, but he was definitely horrible today. - The zone coverage still needs improvement. A lot of the really big completions occurred when the Pats played the soft zone coverages. Again, a lot of that was scheme-based to keep the play in front of the defense and prevent the first down, but some of it was simply break downs in coverage. - Other than Tavon, the safety play wasn't mind-blowing. Honestly, I could have left out any critique of them, as they really weren't bad at all, but they weren't as good as some of us would have hoped, but it's only week one. Overall, I was more impressed with the offense than the defense, but it wasn't because of all the points scored. I loved the balance. This offense today looked less like that of 2007 and the years thereafter and more like that of the SB winning teams. They had balance, they were unpredictable, and everyone got in on the action. There wasn't this over-reliance on Tom in this game. I hope we continue to see this even in critical games. The D should continue to improve. Our LB's look like studs. Our secondary looks much improved. And, I'll say it quietly so the rest of the league doesn't get wind of this yet, but NE has a pass rush now. I predicted that Carter would have double-digit sacks a year ago, and I'm going on record saying that, barring catastrophic injury, Chandler Jones will have double-digit sacks this season. That's my analysis. Discuss if you'd like.