BOSTON (CBS) – In a week that saw the Pats go from feeling they may have lost Tom Brady to watching him dismantle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we once again found out his importance to this team. The Patriots players have said they need him and they said they love him. That’s something that’s rare when players are describing the team leader.

“With Brady back out there, for us it’s a great sign. It was a scary moment, but with Tom I know he is a competitor,” Stevan Ridley said. “I know he’s going to do whatever to get out there. I’m glad they took him out, checked him out and made sure he was good. … My heart is a peace that he is okay and nothing major is going on.”

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That sentiment and feeling of relief was held by pretty much everyone in New England. Brady has earned the respect and adoration because of the way he goes about his business. Every day is a day to get better for QB12. That attitude is what has kept him in charge.

“He felt great back there, making all the throws, not hobbling around. That’s always a good sign,” said Logan Mankins. “No harm, no foul. He’s not hurt, he’s not going to miss any time. So there’s no reason to talk about it.”

With that, it’s now time to hand out some gold stars and penalty flags regarding the Patriots second preseason game against the Buccaneers.

Gold Stars

– For easing everybody’s mind and setting the region at peace, Tom Brady gets a gold star. QB12 took the field with his brace on and he didn’t miss a beat. Forget about that mishap on Wednesday. Brady went 11-for-12 for 107 yards and a touchdown. He was smooth in the pocket and didn’t show any effects of an injury and that’s just what everybody needed to see.

– Brandon Spikes and Chandler Jones get gold stars. Spikes from the first play on defense was dominant. He got pressure on Josh Freeman and finished the game with 2 sacks. Spikes was a force from the get go. Chandler Jones has gotten better. All of this could be because of the acquisition of Tommy Kelly. Chandler though is getting it and it starting to show out there on the field.

Shane Vereen gets a gold star and he’s my pick for the player of the preseason so far. His game has expanded. He’s tough to tackle, he’s catching balls out of the backfield and making tough runs. 75 all purpose yards on the night. He’s doing it all and his teammates are noticing.

– Lets give half stars to Zach Sufeld, Danny Amendola and Zoltan Mesko. Zach finally took his work in training camp and brought it to the game. Danny needed to get a touchdown in his home debut and did and Zoltan had a punt that didn’t come down. It was awesome.

Penalty Flags

– I’m not sure what’s going on with the Pats special teams coverage but they’ve been lacking. Over the first two preseason games opponents have had pretty good field position, and you can thank poor tackling by the Patriots. Also, Stephen Gostkowski needs to start making field goals — he’s missed three this preseason. The Pats don’t have another kicker in camp, but they may have to think about bringing one in.

– For some reason, it looks like Tavon Wilson has forgotten how to play safety. Maybe last year when they moved Devin McCourty back there he lost some confidence. Right now, he’s chasing instead of being in the right place. Wilson is turning into this season’s Darius Butler. The Pats need him to be better.

Tim Tebow was so bad it was uncomfortable. 1-for-7 for negative 1 yard. His throws were off and he seemed to look confused on every play. I know the Patriots are behind him 100-percent, but something has to give. They can’t give a roster spot to someone who can’t play the position. Against Tampa, even the strongest Tebow supporters had issues with his game. He has to get better and he says he is — it just needs to be seen on the field.

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