Weather | Traffic | Surf | Maps | Webcam


   
 
Forums Visitors Guide Shopping Classifieds Autos Homes Jobs Entertainment Sports Today's Paper Home

 NFL
 News
 NFL Watch
 Notebook
 Game Previews
 Scoreboard:
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB
 
 Hot · Not
 Fantasy Tools
 Statistics
 Player Index
 Movements
 First-Round Signings
 NFL News Network
 NFL Draft
 Odds
 Chargers
 News
 Schedule
 Stats
 Depth Chart
 Roster
 Movements
 Injuries
 Forum
 Other
 Nick Canepa
 Alan Drooz
 Chris Jenkins
 Tim Sullivan
 U-T Daily Sports
 Sports Forums

 Email Newsletters
 Wireless Edition
 Noticias en Español

National Football League

NFL Preseason Preview - Philadelphia (1-0) at New England (1-0)



By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The New England Patriots seek to get their offense back in high gear when the defending AFC champions host the Philadelphia Eagles in a Monday preseason matchup between teams with lofty goals for the upcoming year.

The Patriots' traditionally potent aerial attack didn't quite resemble the relentless ensemble that averaged an outstanding 317.8 passing yards per game in 2011 when it took the field for its opening-week battle with the equally high-powered New Orleans Saints. Tom Brady couldn't get the offense untracked in his two possessions, with the superstar quarterback completing just 4-of-7 attempts for a modest 30 yards and losing a fumble after being sacked.

Backup Brian Hoyer did throw a touchdown pass in the third quarter that provided the difference in New England's 7-6 victory, but promising third- stringer Ryan Mallet went an off-target 8-of-19 for 89 yards with an interception while playing most of the second half.

The Patriots managed a pedestrian 279 total yards and were just 5-of-17 on third-down conversions for the game.

On the flip side, a New England defense that was routinely torched by enemy quarterbacks last season put forth a very encouraging effort. The unit limited the Saints, the only team to finish ahead of the Pats in passing offense in 2011, to 280 total yards and got interceptions from starting safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory.

Running back Shane Vereen had the most notable performance among New England's offensive players, with the 2011 second-round pick gaining a combined 81 yards (64 rushing, 17 receiving) on 11 carries and two receptions. He may be in line for another large workload this week after backfield mate Stevan Ridley left Thursday's practice early with an apparent knee injury.

The Patriots also added some depth at the position by signing former University of Florida speedster Jeff Demps, a member of the United States' 4x100 relay squad that won a silver medal in the recent London Olympics, on Friday.

Philadelphia got a huge scare in its 2012 preseason lid-lifter, a 24-23 home win over Pittsburgh, when quarterback Michael Vick exited the contest early in the second quarter after his left hand struck center Jason Kelce's helmet on a downfield pass. The veteran signal-caller suffered merely a bruised thumb, however, and isn't expected to be limited for Monday's contest.

Backup Mike Kafka, however, is out for the remainder of the preseason after fracturing his left non-throwing hand during the game. His injury may provide an opening for rookie Nick Foles to open the year as the No. 2 quarterback after the third-round selection impressed against the Steelers.

Foles amassed 144 yards on 6-of-10 passing and connected on a pair of long touchdowns, a 70-yarder to rookie Damaris Johnson and a 44-yarder to Mardy Gilyard, helping the Eagles overcome a 13-0 deficit at halftime.

Vick figures to take the majority of the snaps under center, however, with Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid planning to play his starters for at least the first half. The first-team offense should include wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and tight end Brent Celek (knee), both of whom were held out of the Pittsburgh game as precautions.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has been cleared to play as well after the high- priced 2011 free-agent acquisition came out of a frightening in-practice collision with teammate Nate Allen on Monday with only a sore neck and a split lip. Pro Bowl end Jason Babin will remain sidelined, however, as he recovers from a partially torn calf.

Guard Logan Mankins (knee), offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) and wide receiver Jabar Gaffney (quadriceps) are among New England's projected inactives. The Patriots were also forced to place backup middle linebacker Dane Fletcher on injured reserve this week after he tore his ACL against the Saints.

Brady threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns in New England's 38-20 triumph over the Eagles in Philadelphia during Week 12 of last year's regular season. The Pats have also prevailed in seven of the last eight preseason bouts between the teams, most recently a 27-25 decision at Lincoln Financial Field in 2009.

New England owns a 10-9 edge in the overall preseason series.

08/17 15:09:30 ET


 Sponsored Links







Sports Information
Matchups
Current Odds
Injury Reports
Quicklinks
Restaurants Bars
Hotels Autos
Shopping Health
Eldercare Singles
Business Listings
Free Newsletters


Guides
Vegas Spas/Salon
Travel Weddings
Wine Old Town
Baja Catering
Casino Home Imp.
Golf SD North
Gaslamp


© Copyright 2007 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. • A Copley Newspaper Site