Once the regular season gets underway, we'll resume our popular film study breakdown posts on patriots.com. In the meantime, on this day after the first preseason game, thought I'd share a few final thoughts on the 23-6 loss to Washington before Bill Belichick addresses the media in a conference call at 3:30 this afternoon.
Good thing they didn't play: Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis, Julian Edelman, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty
No need risking a serious injury in a preseason game. We knew Brady wasn't going to see action, and I tweeted before the game that I hoped not to see Revis, either. I got more than I expected when Bill Belichick decided to sit these other starters. Wise move. We know what all these guys bring to the table.
What was needed was a good long look at some younger, less experienced players who are fighting for jobs. The game itself may have been a sloppy affair, but we needed to see guys like Jimmy Garoppolo, Malcolm Butler, Brian Tyms, et al in extended action.
Too bad they didn't play: Aaron Dobson, Jake Bequette, Bryan Stork
New England Patriots team photographer David Silverman shares his best photos from the Patriots preseason game versus the Washington Redskins on Thursday, August 7, 2014.
The longer Dobson remains on the shelf, the less likely it is he'll be a significant contributor this year. That nagging left foot injury just won't seem to heal quickly or properly enough.
Bequette, meantime, was having perhaps his best camp in his third season, after two previous campaigns spent mostly as an inactive game day player. This is a make-or-break summer for him. He took part in every practice this year, then didn't suit up for the preseason opener. Head-scratching, and not a good sign for his future in Foxborough.
Stork is another disappointing development, especially in light of Dan Connolly's seemingly sudden emergence as a competitor to Ryan Wendell for the starting center's job. The rookie Stork was injured very early in camp and hasn't been seen since. Last year's Rimington Award winner (best college center) could still give both vets a run for their money, but he'll only be able to do so if he gets back onto the field. Soon. And that doesn't appear to be on the horizon.
Good thing they played: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly
Simply because they were able to suit up and perform – even for only a few downs – it was a successful night for New England's interior defensive linemen. Without them last year, the rush defense became the most vulnerable aspect of the defense. Now that they appear to be healthy enough to go again after season-ending injuries, the meatiest part of the Front 7 could once again be a strength, especially with productive backups Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones having been injured in recent days.