Reality Check For Patriots

Before I begin I want to take a moment to remember my Grandmother, Frances (Schanda) Allen, who passed away this morning at the age of 96.

There aren’t many people left who can remember the roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and everything since. Born in 1914, my grandmother could remember all those times, and even up until recently could talk about them. Hers was truly a great generation.

*********************

After so many positives in their first two preseason games, the Patriots took a big step back last night against the lowly St Louis Rams and rookie QB Sam Bradford, who lit up the Patriots first team defense well into the second half, and the Rams kicked a field goal as time expired to beat the Patriots 36-35 in the third preseason game.

While the media will be up in a tizzy for the next week over Laurence Maroney not seeing the field for the second straight game, don’t pay any attention to it, if you can. Despite the proclamations of guys like Peter King, Maroney is in no danger of being cut. My take on it is that the coaches already know what Maroney is, and that he will be the lead back much of the season. Belichick himself said earlier this week of Maroney “He’s ready to go.” They’re taking the games to evaluate the other backs (namely Morris and BJGE), to determine which of them is going to make the roster. I think Maroney and Fred Taylor (and Kevin Faulk, of course) are givens. Maroney could also be sitting down in part to protect him from injury. The Patriots have in the past held players without any known injuries (Deion Branch being one) out of the entire preseason simply to keep them healthy.

Though he may have a slightly smarmy way of saying it:

This has been a bad one for the Patriots. But I wouldn’t get overly concerned … Just like I wasn’t gaga like so many others after Atlanta.Fri Aug 27 01:21:58 via web

Albert Breer speaks the truth here. No need to get too concerned over a preseason game, one way or the other.

Consider it part of the learning curve – Breer says that while the Rams dominated the Patriots last night, there is no reason to press the panic button.

Patriots defense takes a step back – Mike Reiss says it plainly – This one stunk.

Ten Things We Learned Thursday Night: Maroney still MIA – Christopher Price leads with Maroney and nine other items from last night.

Five things to remember – Tom E Curran notes that this was not an unmitigated disaster, despite all the negatives.

Brandon Tate makes a favorable impression – Need a bright spot? Brandon Tate was one of the few with his 97-yard kickoff return to open the game. Jim Fenton looks at the night for Tate.

With Hernandez out, Gronkowski showcases skills – Rookie right end Rob Gronkowski was the other bright spot, catching a pair of touchdown passes. Danny Picard has a look at his night.

Few bumps for Tom Brady – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the QB getting a look at what the offense needs to fix before opening day.

The Red Sox are in Tampa this weekend for what could be another “make or break” series for their playoff hopes.

This trip at Tropicana, it’s all or nothing – Jon Couture says that this Red Sox team is teetering on the line between feel-good and actually good, and that now is the time to show what they are.

For Sox pitchers, it’s show time – Joe McDonald says that the Red Sox built their rotation for series like this one.

Daisuke Matsuzaka nibbles less, fares better – Michael Silverman says that Dice-K has been picking up his pace, with improved results.

Bard having brilliant year in Boston bullpen – Mike Fine looks at the strong year from the hard-throwing reliever.

Prospect has good moves – Peter Abraham’s Minor League Notebook leads off with a look at the Sox trying to find the right position for first-round pick Kolbrin Vitek.

It’s hard to resist bombast of Jets – Unlike Tom Brady, Chad Finn has gotten sucked in by “Hard Knocks.”

Media Roundup: About That ‘NESN Daily’ Program – Over at SB Nation Boston,  my thoughts on NESN Daily…and a few other items.

  • mandb97

    Bruce my condolences on the loss of your grandmother. If there is any good that can come from it, it's that 96 years is a good run. I can't even dream of being around that long. Plus as you mentioned, she was a walking history book about some of the amazing times in this country. You can't put a price on that.

  • HighWireNickEsasky

    Sorry for your loss, Bruce.

    RE Maroney: Remember back in 07 Randy Moss was definitely going to be cut as well.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

      Yes – good call on Moss.

    • mandb97

      If you recall, it was Michael Felger who led the charge with the crazy belief that Moss was going to be released. Since that time, he has been hellbent in trying to prove that Moss has been a lazy malcontent. He has only proved that he is good at having an axe to grind for no apparent reason.

  • Denise

    My deepest sympathies about your grandmother, Bruce. It is amazing to think of the things she lived through. I hope you can enjoy celebrating her life with your family. (That's my polite way of saying "have fun at the funeral!")

  • NASCL

    My condolences on your loss. I'm glad she at least lived long enough (96; everyone should be that fortunate) to see you become a father.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    My condlences , Bruce……also agree with your take on the preseason….good or bad I don't get too wound up over it….. Frankly, even though it is their livelihood I think it gets to a point where the players get as bored with the preseason as the fans……sit all the big guns against the Giants and lets get on with the damn regular season!

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Condolences on your loss, Bruce. But man, she lived a good long time! Hope I can hang in that long…

    I caught my first NESN Daily the other day. I didn't think it could be as bad as others were saying it was. It was that bad.

    My first thought: "Are they aware that they had a show to do tonight?"

    • Eddie

      I watched the show once. I agree. How could anything be that bad? Where did they get these two, especially the guy? I don't think this can be saved, there is no talent to build on. Just about anything would be better. What were the honchos at NESN thinking?

  • Dave Dixon

    My condolences , Bruce, on the loss of your Grandmother. Let me know if there is anything we can do for you and your family.

    As for last nights game, it was tough to see a sub-par performance by our defense and to see a lowly team like St. Louis, run up and down the field like a repeat of the Mike Martz's "Best show on Turf" Rams. But like you said, this is a reality check for the team to see where they're at and who will be making the team. Tom Brady, after a rough start, looked really good and seem to be on the same page. This will be another exciting year of New England Patriots football….. Can't wait for Week 2 !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott@PD

    Thoughts to you and yours bub.

  • john

    Barstool Sports is still around?

    • mandb97

      Not only is Barstool Sports still around, they have expanded to New York and have a female site called by Stoollala. Next to BSMW, Barstool is my next favorite site.

  • MarkB

    When Zo said the defense looked listless on the field and on the sidelines, I thought "Isn't Bill running the defense this year?" Something's wrong here.

  • kzf1

    Thanks for the kind words.

    • mandb97

      My pleasure, your site is terrific.

  • mandb97

    I just read a terrific article by Deadspin's Will Leitch on Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols going to the Glen Beck event this weekend. It is not a look at politics as it is how some people in professional sports are lost in what they do and do not know about anything going on in the outside world.
    http://deadspin.com/5623743/tony-la-russa-isnt-ly

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      Good read. I miss Leitch….

  • TheKiecker

    Nothing is terrific on Deadspin. Its just fill.

  • Classless

    I partially agree that Preseason football is an excercise in nothing, but the thing is, we've actually seen the Offense do the things it's known for. Unfortunately, we haven't seen the Defense do much of anything. The only turnovers they get tend to be unforced errors. They still put minimal pressure on the QB. I'm still waiting for Jerod Mayo to show up after a year long absence….