Patriots

Patriots-Lions Expectations: Time For Stars To Shine

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New England Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, left, jokes with nose tackle Vince Wilfork during a blocking drill in Foxboro, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

New England Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, left, jokes with nose tackle Vince Wilfork during a blocking drill in Foxboro, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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BOSTON (CBS) -The third preseason game is seen as the most important for NFL teams, so expect to see a lot of the Patriots regulars.

Here is what the CBS Boston Sports team sees going down Saturday night in Detroit.

Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

Preseason game number three in the NFL tells much about a team. How far it has come, how far it has to go.

The same can be said for the individual players. First year Patriots, whether they are rookies or ten-year veterans, have a large volume of material to absorb. Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco is a case in point. Even after ten years in the NFL, the veteran pass catcher is finding it quite challenging to pick up the nuances of the Patriots’ offense. Sure, he caught a touchdown pass in preseason game two, but it was one of only two receptions for Ochocinco for a grand total of 14 yards. Keep in mind the Patriots led Tampa Bay 28-0 at halftime. It’s not like the Buccaneers were holding the Patriots offense to a plethora of 3-and-outs.

Keep an eye on the Tom Brady to Ochocinco connection against the Lions. No one is more intent on getting up to speed with the rest of the offense as #85.

Also keep an eye on the Patriots offensive line. The Lions front four can cause fits. It will be a good test for the likes of Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins and ‘mates.

Read: Walt Perkins’ Sports Blog

And it will be interesting to see if  Brady picks up the pace from the Tampa Bay game. While his stats were solid in that game, Brady said during the week he needs to make quicker reads and decisions in getting the football to a receiver.

On the other side of the football, Patriots fans may get their first look at Albert Haynesworth, who practiced thrice this week. With Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork on the field together, the Lions may find their ground game, well, grounded.

Also, the battle for starting spots in the defensive backfield continues although it appears that Devon McCourty and Leigh Bodden will be the starters if healthy. We might see safety Brandon Meriweather showcased if he is, indeed, on the trading block.

NFL teams must trim their roster by the August 30.

Andy Gresh, 98.5 The Sports Hub

I’m expecting to see a little bit of juggling along the offensive line. Let’s see how they get Nate Solder in at right guard. Matt Light obviously can come back and we’ll see what the starting offensive line group may look like. And there’s a part of me that is expecting to see either Albert Haynesworth or Shaun Ellis (or both) along that defensive front.

This is the game where you are going to leave in the starters the most. Expect maximum efficiency on offense and some aggressiveness on defense, if I’m Matt Stafford I’m scared.

Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub

It’s going to be a very good test for the Patriots up front offensively with Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch (if he plays). We’ll get a good look at Nate Solder again.

We saw Andre Carter now I think maybe we see ten snaps from Haynesworth, which I think would be the most excitable thing. It’s a national televised game so they’re going to want to go out and put up a good performance.  I think they start to play their guys because next week you rest everybody so your roster is basically 80-percent set at this point.

Levan Reid, WBZ-TV

I expect the Patriots to try to get the ball to Chad Ochcocinco as much as possible.  Last week against Tampa was the first time he was on the field and saw the speed of the Patriots offense.  It overwhelmed him.  He said afterwards that he is the cog slowing the team down.  The Pats want to get Chad into the mix, so they may force the ball to him to get him ready.

Brandon Tate better give the Patriots a reason to keep him.  If he doesn’t, that final spot at wide receiver will go to Taylor Price.  I actually think Price has that spot locked up.

Read: The Levan Reid 53

I also feel Tom Brady wants to get out there and make use of all his tight ends.  We have seen good work from Aaron Hernandez, this preseason.  Rob Gronkowski needs to get into the fold.  He’s had a great camp.

I expect to see Albert Haynesworth out there on the field and playing alongside Vince Wilfork.  This is going to be something to watch.  Albert has been at practice and he is noticeably slimmer.  He looks like he is in better shape and this defense needs his aggressiveness.

Finally, kicker Stephen Gostkowski should be on kickoffs for the first time this preseason (he’s only kicked extra points so far).  The Pats are looking for touchbacks and Stephen has been at the top of the league at that in the past.  He’s coming off a season ending leg injury but he’s told me that he’s good to go.

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV

They say the third game is the most important preseason game. The starters play the first half and then come out for at least a series or two in the second. Gets them ready for the rigors of a regular season game.

That’s fine. Should be good to watch.

However, I don’t need to watch much more than I’ve seen.

Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog

I have seen Tom Brady and his offense. I have seen all I need to see. Brady, Ocho, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Green-Ellis, Solder, Welker, etc. I’m good. Saw everything I needed to in one half in Tampa. So, what I’d like to see is 1) everyone stay healthy, and 2)  some more of the kids. Give me Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Buddy Farnham, Ryan Mallett, and the rest of them.

On defense, I want to see more of the same from Tampa, but with the likes of Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis. If we do indeed see Haynesworth, great. However, I think Pats fans should trust Bill Belechick if he decides to hide the big man until Monday night September 12th in Miami.

Also, want to see more of Brandon Meriweather. How much and with whom does he play with? We also need to see how the d-linemen shake out.

Steve Burton, WBZ-TV

The third preseason game is all about coming together. It should be the most polished game of the four. 

I would like to see the Patriots really establish their running game. I’d like to see BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley really start to dominate on the ground, and maybe a little bit of Shane Vereen sprinkled in.

Read: The Anatomy Of A Play 

It’s time to see what Albert Haynesworth can do, especially alongside Vince Wilfork. They can become a nightmare for any offensive line.

The Pats have put up 78 points in the first two games, and the first game was without Brady and most of the starters. The sky is the limit for this offense and there is no telling what this team can do.

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