It's futile to draw too many conclusions watching any game where the Patriots send Matt Guttierez covering kickoffs and 6-4 305 lb DL Santonio Thomas on the kick return unit. This was the Pats annual "Don't Let Anyone Important Get Hurt Gala." (Sorry you had to hear it from me, Oscar Lua.) For Pats fans who remember the night when Andre Tippett, Ronnie Lippett and Garin Veris all went down for the year in the final exhibition...sorry, preseason...game, and the season was over before it began, anything less than a massive pandemic of injuries is considered a gigantic victory. The should turn off the scoreboard and save electricity. But a few quick observations from a game only true addicts were watching:
There are senators out cruising for men's room blumpkins who don't look as bad as Wesley Britt did giving up a sack to Osi Umeniyora. The hit on Matt Cassell was so bad it hurt Brady standing on the sidelines.
Brandon Merriweather is a safety. Print it. No one's saying he can't cover or he'll never play corner. But he's a safety, especially with Asante coming back. On the set of downs where it took the Giants four tries to get it in from the one, Merriweather was coming in motion with rookie TE Kevin Boss, who's 6-6, fought through Boss' block, and nailed the ball carrier a yard deep in the backfield.
Lua is probably done for the year. Meaning he won't get to break the "Second Samoan on an NFL roster" color barrier.
It looks likely that David Thomas will open the year on the PUP list. Marcellus Rivers and Garrett Mills both saw a lot of playing time as they compete for the final TE spot. Rivers played mostly on the line, Mills in the H-back spot. No offense to Mills, but Patriots bloggers everywhere (OK, here) are pulling for Rivers. Look, just because I don't be givin' no man a foot massage don't make it right for Marsellus to throw Antwan into a glass motherf*ckin' house f*ckin' up the way the n*gger talks...God, this stuff will write itself.
On draft day, it looked like a year when Merriweather, the only pick they had on Day 1, might be the only rookie to make the squad. But the consensus is that 6th rounder Justin Rogers has locked up the 4th OLB spot.
With Troy Brown and Chad Jackson on the PUP list, the Pats will probably open the season with six WR's. If so, that leaves two spots for three guys: Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney and Bam Childress. Clearly Caldwell and Gaffney have the most experience with the Pats system, but I give Childress an edge because the final position spots are determined more by special teams work, and he's a beast. Apropos of nothing, Childress had some snaps at tailback last night.
The most interesting roster decision will be at QB. Personally I think Guttierrez gets cut, but they might make him a practice squad guy. Or keep three QB's and tell Testeverde to wait by the phone at the retirement home if a post partum Bridget hits Brady with a lamp or something.