There is no NFL coaching bromance quite like Greg Schiano and Bill Belichick. It'll be evident in the preseason, even if it fades into the rearview mirror by the time the two squads meet in Week 3 for a game that actually counts in the standings.
Ever since Schiano left the college ranks to become Tampa Bay's head coach, he's spoken publicly about the respect he has for the New England head coach, whose son he coached at Rutgers. Not only was he not merely bluffing, it's a respect the three-time Super Bowl champ returns. Belichick has nine Rutgers players on his roster, with third-round draft picks Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon headlining this year's class of three Scarlet Knight-to-Patriot draftees.
The two coaches met for a summit this May to discuss organizational strategies. This is the second straight year the teams will face in the preseason, and the second straight year they'll have joint practices together. And since Schiano joined the league, the two teams have been quick to pick up players the other has released, with the Pats' Aqib Talib coming over in a trade last year and the sides swapping LeGarrette Blount for Jeff Demps this offseason.
Coaching respect isn't the most interesting storyline -- especially in comparison to coaching rivalries -- but considering it's just Week 2 of the preseason, what else do we have to watch for?
Oh, yeah, this:
Meet the Patriots
The offense looked swell for the Patriots who matter in their preseason opener Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady went 7-for-8 with a touchdown while the Patriots went on 80-yard touchdown drives for both of Brady's series, and the running game looked nice, with LeGarrette Blount picking up 101 yards and two TDs.
But the defense also gave up some touchdowns, including a 47-yarder to DeSean Jackson. And the only thing anybody seems to care about, of course, is Tim Tebow, who looked downright awful, going 4-for-12 while being sacked three times.
Concerns about the Patriots offense and how it would live without Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were quieted, but there are still worries -- and of course, there is always Tebow Talk.
Meet the Buccaneers
There weren't many positives in a 44-16 thumping at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. But, as Bucs Nation notes, it's just preseason and after all, the team's starters were winning 3-0 when they left the game. The Bucs are trying to improve on a 7-9 season, and the most improved part of their team is the secondary. Darrelle Revis still won't be playing as he recovers from injury -- although he's now doing live drills -- but draft pick Johnthan Banks looked fine in the first preseason game.
Local Takes: Patriots
Alec Shane from Pats Pulpit had some concerns about the defense after the team's first preseason game:
Seeming to pick up right where they left off in 2012, the Patriots defense had an up and down day. There were a few too many big plays for my liking, and on more than one occasion a tackle for a loss turned into positive yards, but there were also some nice plays mixed in there and the starters played well overall. I really like what I saw from the defensive line, and the unit remains stout against the run, but there is still a lot of work to do before September.
He also covered the only important thing that matters:
After Ryan Mallett suffered a Tebow and had to head to the Tebow, the Tebows sent in Tebow for the first Tebow of the preTebow. And while Tebow was both Tebow and Tebow, overall Tebow had a lot to Tebow about and Tebow Tebowed the Tebow with Tebow, Tebow, and Tebow. Nothing wrong with that.
For more in-depth analysis, check Greg Knopping's position-by-position breakdown.
Local Takes: Buccaneers
Sander Philipse argues the Bucs' best unit belongs to the wide receivers:
Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are top notch starters, even if they didn't do much of anything in the first preseason game. But the depth looked pretty decent in that game, too. With the exception of Chris Owusu, most receivers looked competent. Kevin Ogletree was arguably the MVP of that game, while Tiquan Underwood didn't look too bad and even Derek Hagan got in on the action.
With New England next on the docket, Philipse also wrote about how big a bummer it is that the team gave up LeGarrette Blount for nothing.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Mark Sanchez still awful. Can't wait for week one.— Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) August 9, 2013
Brady to Vereen for the TD who was split out wide left. Had a linebacker on him. Match up nightmare. Expect that a lot in 2013.— Greg Knopping (@patspulpit) August 9, 2013
The first of, and I'm just guessing, many Brady to Amendola completions.— Greg Knopping (@patspulpit) August 9, 2013
It's a preseason football game, so, like all preseason football games, the home team is favored by about three points. Most books have the Pats as 3.5-point favorites.
The Pats hit the road to take on Detroit, while Tampa Bay has an in-state game against Miami in South Florida.