The New England Patriots meet the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium Thursday night for the first preseason game of the year. When they do, they'll be taking the field without starting quarterback Tom Brady, who will sit this one out according to reports.
Even without Brady in the game, ew England blog Pats Pulpit has a bunch of match-ups they're interested in keeping an eye on, including who emerges on the Pats defensive line.
Since the Patriots picked up both Mark Anderson and Andre Carter, I've said that I think only two of the three will make the Patriots final roster. Eric Moore isn't exactly a speed rusher, but with his performance at the end of last year, the Patriots are certainly expecting something from him. The real battle will come down to Mark Anderson and Andre Carter. However, I will also be paying attention to the rookies, both the undrafted free agents and sixth round pick Markell Carter. The Patriots picked up Christian Cox, Clay Nurse, Alex Silvestro, and Aaron Lavarias; perhaps one of those guys can stand out.
On the topic of unproven, the group of Jacksonville wide receivers will certainly be analyzed and scutinized. Third year receiver Mike Thomas is arguably the only receiver with any kind of rapport with the team strong enough to warrant the trust of the fans. The other expected starter, Jason Hill, has been a disappointment in camp thus far. Behind them is rookie Cecil Shorts, the oft-injured Jarett Dillard, special teams ace Kassim Osgood and a slew of undrafted rookies among others.