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Patriots Blog: What To Look For Against Bucs

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his touchdown reception in front of wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011.  (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his touchdown reception in front of wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

levan-reid-grad-420x316 Levan Reid
Levan Reid is a veteran sports reporter who has joined the WB...
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New England Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) – Preseason game number one in the past for the New England Patriots and maybe it’s time to put all the Ryan Mallett talk to rest. I think the rookie played well against Jacksonville, but I am not ready to get his bust ready for Canton.

Tonight against Tampa, we should see the MVP in action.  Oh by the way, Tom Brady is the current MVP. It’s amazing how that fact has gone under the radar.  He was the first ever unanimous MVP, the first ever!  Tom should play against Tampa and we can see where his decision-making is at this point.

Read: Pats-Bucs Expectations: Starters Get Their Turn

Rob Gronkowski missed last week because of an injury, this week he should be ready to go. Gronk has had a great training camp and at some points, has been uncoverable. He has worked on his play in the red zone and he feels jump balls can become his specialty. It will be a good thing to see.

The safety position will be a focus tonight. The Pats have brought in Darren Sharper and Renaldo Hill to work out for the position. Brandon Meriweather is still there but the Patriots do not seem very happy with him. He’s all they got though. They may try different combinations with Patrick Chung. It’s something to pay attention to.

Read: Patriots Training Camp Blog

I am expecting no Albert Haynesworth tonight and that means we should get to know Kyle Love. The second year player has actually had a great camp. He may be keeping the spot warm for Albert, but he is making the most of it.

WHO’S PROBABLY OUT FOR THE PATRIOTS

Here are a list of players who I think are not going to play against Tampa. I have based it on the Belichick motto, “no practice, no play.” Don’t quote me on any of these, as the coach changes his mind all the time.

  • No Albert Haynesworth. Have not seen the big guy in almost two weeks. He’s not on the practice field, not anywhere. Mike Wright is rehabbing also. I expect Kyle Love in the game and Vince Wilfork should see game action for the first time this preseason.
  • Brandon Spikes has been a no show for awhile. Dane Fletcher will fill in that spot once again.
  • Matt Light was not seen in Wednesday’s walk through. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to play, but I am not going to go all in on that one. Nate Solder will get the start and play most of the game.
  • No Kevin Faulk, he still on the PUP list. No Shane Vereen, he hasn’t practiced this week. We should see BenJarvus Green-Ellis for the first time. We should also see more Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead and maybe a better look at Richard Medlin. He finished the game against the Jaguars strong.
  • Taylor Price, Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate have all missed practice this week. We should see Ochocinco, Welker and Branch. But also more of Buddy Farnham, Jeremy Ross and Matthew Slater.
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