Monday, March 10, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
The New England Patriots haven't done particularly well in the preseason over the last 10 seasons, with only one winning record in that stretch -- 2009 (3-1). Entering Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Giants, the Patriots are 16-23 in the preseason since 2004. But that hasn't stopped them from remaining one of the NFL's best regular-season clubs, with a 112-32 record over the last nine seasons.
Thursday's 40-9 loss to the Detroit Lions was the fourth consecutive year in which the Pats have lost the third preseason game, considered by many to be the most important, with starters playing the longest. Overall, they're only 4-6 over the last 10 years in those games:
2013: L, 40-9 at Detroit
2012: L, 30-28 at Tampa Bay
2011: L, 34-10 at Detroit
2010: L, 36-35 at St. Louis
2009: W, 27-24 at Washington
2008: L, 27-17 vs. Philadelphia
2007: W, 24-7 at Carolina
2006: W, 41-0 vs. Washington
2005: W, 27-3 vs. Green Bay
2004: L, 20-17 at Carolina
The secondary, considered the weak link in the defense, looked good at times but is still learning to communicate. Aqib Talib at one corner makes it immeasurably better. And Devin McCourty at one safety is a lock.
But will it be Kyle Arrington or Alfonzo Dennard or rookie Logan Ryan (who is getting more playing time than any other defensive back) at the other corner? Who will be the other safety? It was thought that Adrian Wilson, a big hitter signed as a free agent, would start, but he played well into the second half with the second team against Detroit.
Did that mean anything? Is he on the bubble? If so, does that mean Steve Gregory will be the other safety?
Much will be determined in the next 10 days or so. The Patriots have to cut their roster of 84 down to 75 by Tuesday, then down to 53 on Saturday.
There appear to be a lot of players on the bubble right now, including guys like Wilson, Tim Tebow (who didn't play on Thursday), Bolden, safety Tavon Wilson, defensive end Jake Bequette and tight end Daniel Fells.
Belichick can't say who will or won't still be with the team Sept. 8 when the Patriots open the season at Buffalo.
All he knows is that the team has to be better than it showed on Thursday.
"There were a few good individual plays here and there," he said. "But overall we can't play like that and expect to do well against a good team."
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: