Friday, August 15, 2014
W2W4: New England Patriots
By Mike Reiss
The New England Patriots (0-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) meet in the second game of the preseason for both teams at Gillette Stadium. In addition to the local telecast, the game will be televised on NFL Network (7:30 p.m. ET).
First look at Tom Brady and top receivers. Through the first 16 practices of training camp, one of the main highlights for the Patriots has been Brady's work with top receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. The trio didn't play in the preseason opener, but is expected to get some work in tonight. In Wednesday's rainy practice, when the Patriots were looking to finish strong after a bit of a struggle, Brady connected with Edelman in the back of the end zone on a bang-bang play that reflected the connection they continue to develop. Now it's time to see that come to life on the game field.
Darrelle Revis' debut or following the Randy Moss plan? After sitting out last week's preseason opener against Washington along with other top players, Revis could be in line for his first action. His matchup against Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin in practice drew some attention, in part because Maclin had some success and Revis wasn't always going 100 percent. Maclin tweaked his hamstring and might not play and Revis wasn't very active in Wednesday's walk-through, so we wouldn't be shocked if Revis doesn't play either. One of the first things we'll be watching for is Revis' on-field presence, or if this is similar to Randy Moss in 2007 when the Patriots kept Moss on ice in the preseason before unleashing him in the regular-season opener.
Everyone loves a sleeper -- how about Malcolm Butler? Preseason games are mostly about the backups and Butler, an undrafted free agent, opened some eyes in the preseason opener. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Butler began his college career at Hinds (Mississippi) Community College in 2011 before transferring to West Alabama for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was an all-conference pick in both seasons and led the conference with 18 passes defended in 2013. Butler showed up in pass coverage, run support and kickoff coverage last week, and if he does the same tonight, the drumbeat will grow louder for him to earn a roster spot.