New England Patriots Preseason Kicks Off Tonight
Tonight's contest will hopefully give Pat's fans a nice, albeit quick, look at a revamped offense and a healthy defense. Most starters see very little action in the first of four preseason contests so don't be surprised to see big named guys with the lofty contracts appear on only the first few series on each side of the ball. From there, the majority of them will quickly hit the locker room to or hang out on the sideline. So the most important thing to watch is how the rookies and the guys who are on the edge of making the team play.
I'm excited, myself, to see rookie running back James White take the field. It's absurd how he has shot up the internal team rankings so fast. I mean, you just can't get any person with ties to the organization to even hint at a flaw with this guy. I was at the Pats camp a couple weeks back and he was getting a lot of touches and opportunities in the passing game so it will be interesting to see how he is used tonight.
Also, I want to check out Jimmy Garoppolo in game action. The day I was at camp I wasn't overly impressed but it's always tough for rookie quarterbacks in this league. I'm sure he'll spend a lot of time on the field tonight though so it will be nice to see how he plays. Hopefully he faces some adversity right from the get go so we can get a good look at how he goes about handling it and bouncing back. You never know how good someone will be until that person fails and has to step up.
Finally, I'm going to be keeping an eye on Ryan Mallett, the team's fourth year back up QB. He has looked really good so far in camp and is getting the starting nod tonight as the team has decided to rest Tom Brady. While he's clearly not going to be challenging Brady for the starting spot, it's always nice to know that your club has a legitimate backup who, if need be, can step in and guide the team to success. Also if he performs well this preseason he could be an interesting trade chip later down the road.
So be sure to check out the Pats' first action of the year and see some of the young guys potentially make names for themselves.