After falling to the Baltimore Ravens 16-15 in their first pre-season game of the 2008 calendar year, the New England Patriots are continuing to work hard day in and out, preparing for their next match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this coming Sunday, August 17 at Tampa Bay. In the opener, starting QB Tom Brady and superstar WR Randy Moss were both given the night off but expect to see at least a few snaps in the upcoming match up.
As far as the rest of the starting lineup goes, the Pats have had to deal with more then their fair share of injuries, especially their starting offensive line. Both left tackle Matt Light and right guard Stephen Neal have missed the majority of time during camp with injuries forcing New England to put multiple lineups on the field every single day. This has really not even given them a chance to work with the projected starting team thus far.
“It would be nice if we didn’t have quite as much moving as we have had in there or if we controlled more of it but again it’s always unfortunate when someone can’t practice or someone is not available,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Every time that happens, it provides an opportunity for someone else. We just have to do what we can do and don’t worry about what we can’t do. We will do what we can do. That means some guys have moved around, some guys are gaining a little bit more position flexibility.”
Linebacker Mike Vrabel was activated today to rejoin the team in practice sessions having missed the last few weeks with a high ankle sprain.
The big story at Patriots camp this week will be the battle between Matt Cassel vs. Matt Gutierrez for the spot of back up QB of Mr. Brady. Cassel, a four year veteran back up, did not look solid in the pre-season game vs. Baltimore but neither did Gutierrez who was first off the bench. Each threw an interception and looked unprepared for the defensive sets that were being thrown at during the game. Many think that Cassel’s reign may be over as Brady’s back up as his development has seemingly halted while Gutierrez who is only in his second season continues to make progress in the offensive coach’s eyes.
One thing is certain, whoever wins out the position will be the most glorified backup in the league behind the 2007 MVP.
The Patriots do have one other home field pre-season game scheduled for Friday, August 22 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tickets are available for this game as well as all regular season games at Gillette Stadium today!