It’s halftime of the New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots game (which is the only televised game in my area), so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about what I’ve seen so far:
First of all, the two players I had on my “Things to Watch” list. New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been very average. He has thrown neither a touchdown, nor an interception. Based on what I’ve seen from the defense, they should be able to survive their first four games without Tom Brady. New Orleans Saints TE Coby Fleener has been silent. He has a reception, and a false start penalty.
The most impressive receiver for the Saints has been rookie WR Michael Thomas out of Ohio State. He has had one drop, but he is a tall target and has shown decent hands by reeling in 4 receptions.
I have noticed five players standing out for the New England Patriots. RB LeGarrette Blount hasn’t gained many yards due to poor offensive line play from the Patriots thus far, but he has shown patience at the line of scrimmage, making multiple cuts in an effort to find running lanes. Rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell has been out-receiving TE Martellus Bennett and WR Aaron Dobson. Mitchell has a great chance at taking the WR3 spot, and if he continues to have a good relationship with Garoppolo, he could easily be the Patriots leading receiver through the first four weeks of the regular season. The third standout has been CB Justin Coleman. He made an excellent play by swatting away a ball on a slant route (though he had an illegal hands to the face penalty on the play), which is a difficult route for CBs to cover. The fourth and fifth standouts were the Patriots DEs, Chris Long and Shea McClellin. Both of them have been collapsing the pocket on QB Garrett Grayson all game, and forcing him to throw before he’s ready.
All things considered, the Patriots earned the 17-16 lead they have at the half.