New England Patriots

Stadium: Gillette Stadium | Coach: Bill Belichick
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense2nd118.1 (10th)276.1 (2nd)
Defense28th114.8 (19th)251.2 (29th)

Patriots report: Notes, quotes

The Sports Xchange
Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel · Inside slant

-- ILB Chad Brown seems frustrated with his ability to grasp the Patriots defense. "Football is football," he began, "but this system is complex and deep. It's not insurmountable, but it's Week 1 of the preseason and I'm not where I'd like to be at this point. I have some work to do. I need to make significant improvement for the first game to the second game."

Brown and the middle of the Patriots defense had a tough time against the Bengals' top-tier rushing attack, which is led by Rudi Johnson, who carried six times for 40 yards, almost all of which came either up the middle or off tackle.

-- LG Logan Mankins had a positive preseason game debut. He led the way for Corey Dillon's 20-yard run when he blocked two Bengals defenders on the play. While he wasn't dominant, he was certainly competitive and did not have any glaring problems. He has practiced with the first unit since June's mini-camp and his first live game performance put him well on his way to starting the regular season opener against the Raiders.

-- QB Doug Flutie will get some playing time against the Saints this week, which is sure to please the home crowd at Gillette Stadium since Flutie, a Natick, Mass., native and former Boston College star, is a local legend. He did not play against the Bengals, but Belichick expects to use him this week.

"I'm sure we'll give Doug an opportunity to play in this game," Belichick said. "How all of that will break down, I don't know. But I think Doug needs to play and so he'll get a chance.

-- DE Marquise Hill, a 2004 second round pick who played in just one game as a rookie, showed up positively in his preseason debut. He recorded three tackles, but also had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

-- Belichick made it a point last week to accentuate the importance of special teams and two players made their presence felt in the kicking game against the Bengals, linebackers Wesley Mallard and Eric Alexander helped themselves with their play on kick coverage. Mallard led the team with three special teams tackles and then added a sack defensively.

"You make it sound like he brought us behind from 17 points down with two minutes to go in the AFC Championship Game. Slow down on this guy." -- Bill Belichick on the hype created by QB Matt Cassel's positive preseason debut

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