BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots kick off the preseason Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium. After the lockout, training camp has been a little different. What can we expect from the first preseason game of the year? The CBS Boston sports team weighs in.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak
I think it’s going to be 60 minutes long, probably going to last about 3 hours, 3 hours 15 minutes. I’m just kidding. We’re going to get to see Tom Brady for about a quarter and a half, I think that’s the most exciting thing. It’ll be exciting to see these tight ends, Gronk and Hernandez, and especially these running backs. You’ve got a lot of young guys.
Everyone is talking about the defense. We’ll get a good look if they’re going to start using a 4-down line, a 3-down line. It will be nice to see McCourty in year two. There is a lot of rookies on the defense too, which will be exciting.
The lockout is over. The Pats got their asses kicked by the Jets, 14-2 last year, so there are some big expectations heading into 2011.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Andy Gresh
Number one would be the rotation of the defensive players, especially in the front seven. How do they rotate through defensive linemen, how do they use defensive ends and do they start confusing people with how they line up guys like Andre Carter, Shaun Ellis and others. The other is Ryan Mallet; the third string quarterback is actually going to make things interesting during the preseason this year. And then it’s injuries, how many of the guys in the middle of the roster, who are fighting to make the team, end up getting dinged up if any in these games.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Nick Cattles
The first thing that people will be looking for is defensive alignment, but I don’t expect Belichick to “show his cards” this early in the preseason. Receiver Taylor Price is someone to keep an eye on. He’s had some really good reports out of practice and could step up to be the team’s #4 receiver. Other than that, quarterback Ryan Mallet could be fun to watch.
WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton
I expect a win in even the preseason; not that it matters. But it does. I expect the starting offense to play a little bit longer than normal, because training camp has been shorter and everyone needs to be on the same page. I expect the defense to be ahead of the offense. And I expect no excuses after the game because none will be tolerated. It’s the Belichick way.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche
I expect Tom Brady and his offense to play a good amount in the first half. I think it’s important to gets reps because of missed time due to the lockout. Brady and the offense weren’t able to have OTA’s and mini-camps this year, which is important to timing, chemistry, etc. I’m also looking forward to seeing rookie running back Stevan Ridley; I think he can be a big contributor this season.
On defense, it’s the beginning of the audition to see which defensive linemen Bill Belichick will keep this season. Although we won’t see Albert Haynesworth, we will see just how and where many of these guys will fit in. I’d also like to see how Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, and the rest of the young players look. Defense is where it’s at if you’re watching tonight. That’s the place where the Pats have to improve, especially on 3rd down, if they are to win a playoff game and Super Bowl this season.
WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid
I actually expect the Pats to look out of sync and this has nothing to do with the Jaguars. There are a lot of new parts to the roster, both offense and defense, and not a lot of practice time to get up to game speed.
Tune in to the Patriots-Jaguars preseason game on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV at 7:30pm. The Hub’s pregame coverage begins at 4pm, with the postgame show immediatly following the game . Tune in to WBZ-TV after the game for all the postgame reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter.