The Patriots begin their 2011 regular season tonight against the debacle of a team, Miami Dolphins. Overall, the Patriots have never had great success in the “city of people who spend all of their money on their appearance”. Bust despite the past, the Pats are favored to annihilate the Fins’, due to their new off season acquisitions and post season cut short (Jets) that resulted in more time for Belichick to think and dissect new and old schemes in the film room. For the most part, the Pats played well this preseason but many questions need to be answered before anyone can crown this team as best in the league. Here’s what to watch for:
Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Andre Carter are the big names to keep an eye on tonight. If Big Albert sincerely meant his comments leading up to this point about “waking a sleeping giant”, then the Pats D-Line should be as dominant as Danny Almonte against 11 years olds. Oh, don’t forget Vince Wilfork too.
Sebastian Volmer is out tonight, so that means the already shallow O-Line will have to rely on rookie Nate Solder to step up. Solder will most likely be going against Cameron Wake (14.0 sacks in 2010) all night and will give the rookie his first real test. It could be disastrous or encouraging. I’m sure Brady will let Solder know if he is playing like shit early and often.
No Meriweather, no Sanders, no Butler. The secondary is revolved around Chung and McCourty now, so if either of these guys has a shitty game, the end result could look like dog piss. The push from the front seven should certainly help these fellows, but they have a lot to prove after having one of the most abysmal statistical years in 2010.
Chad’s performance tonight doesn’t make or break his position with the team at all. But if he plays like he did in the preseason, it definitely won’t help his cause. And since the Patriots cut players who don’t perform faster than Meryl Streep disposes of assistants in “The Devil Wears Prada” (extremely gay reference but just go with it), pressure could affect Chad psychologically. And god knows if he can handle that.
The reigning MVP is getting older. His off field antics are getting gayer, and his looks are becoming more LA-er. But Tom has a lot to prove as well this season. With Aaron Rodgers playing like he has a titanium pin point precision arm in the NFC, Brady must show he is still among the elite quarterbacks in the league. We are all witnessing the rapid decaying Peyton Manning, so Brady has a chance to remain otherworldly or allow father mediocrity and father time take over.