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What to watch: Thursday night’s games

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Preseason action returns Thursday night with two games.  Florio said I would lose interest doing these previews, and I can’t let him get the satisfaction of being right.  Maybe that was the idea.  Damn.

Patriots @ Bucs

Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco, and the first team Patriots offense gets its first action of the preseason. We think. … With Matt Light not likely to play, the Patriots can see how first round pick Nate Solder looks protecting Brady’s blind side. … There are a lot of jobs still available on New England’s defensive line.  The starters are still undecided and some recent pickups could get cut.

Patriots rookie running back Stevan Ridley gets to make his case for a big role again. He looked great last week. … Ryan Mallett may play second behind Tom Brady. The Patriots want to get a long look at the rookie.  Backup QB Brian Hoyer will probably get more playing time next week.

Tampa didn’t get a great test from Kansas City last week.  New England should provide that. … Once again, we’re going to watch how Tampa’s rookie defensive ends and middle linebacker Mason Foster look. … Dezmon Briscoe is trying to nail down a possible starting receiver job opposite Mike Williams. … Gerald McCoy has reportedly looked great in camp. This will be his preseason debut for the year. Tampa is expecting a big jump from last year’s No. 3 overall pick.

Eagles at Steelers

Right tackle King Dunlap, a third-stringer in Philly, gets to protect Michael Vick’s blind side.  Perhaps the Eagles will take Vick out early if it’s not going well. … There is a position battle at center as well between Jamaal Jackson and Jason Kelce. … If rookie running back Dion Lewis is going to have a role on this team, he needs to have a big preseason. … The Eagles still don’t know what they have with rookie starting middle linebacker Casey Matthews.  They hope to find out more. … DeSean Jackson makes his preseason debut.

Steelers backup running back Isaac Redman has enjoyed a big camp. A strong preseason could earn him more consistent touches in the regular season. … The Steelers shaky tackles have a tough test against a deep Eagles defensive front. … Four Steelers cornerbacks will miss the game. … Receiver Antonio Brown can try to earn a big role early in the year with Emmanuel Sanders hurt.

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26 Responses to “What to watch: Thursday night’s games”
  1. deepseabreeze says: Aug 18, 2011 6:03 PM

    I honestly believe Ocho is going to have a monster season

  2. hobartbaker says: Aug 18, 2011 6:05 PM

    Maybe Och will show up wearing roller skates or something to generate a bit of interest in the game.

  3. sportsinhd says: Aug 18, 2011 6:08 PM

    Since the Steelers/Eagles game is actually on national television and can be watched by nearly everyone, wouldn’t it make more sense to put that at the top of the page and before the jump?

  4. gottapoop says: Aug 18, 2011 6:10 PM

    How about just watching the game

  5. cw3214 says: Aug 18, 2011 6:11 PM

    If you watched Dion Lewis in the first game you would not be questioning whether he will have a role on this team.

  6. june20102002 says: Aug 18, 2011 6:14 PM

    Yawn. Brady will not play.

  7. norcaleagles says: Aug 18, 2011 6:15 PM

    I know its only preseason, but Eagles-steelers looks like it should be a good matchup and a good measuring stick for both teams. Go Birds!

  8. cbs1971 says: Aug 18, 2011 6:16 PM

    Go Eagles!

  9. melonnhead says: Aug 18, 2011 6:25 PM

    Since the Steelers/Eagles game is actually on national television and can be watched by nearly everyone, wouldn’t it make more sense to put that at the top of the page and before the jump?


    Do you mind if some teams outside of the Rust Belt get some coverage now and then?

  10. stairwayto7 says: Aug 18, 2011 6:27 PM

    Vince Young will take his jersey off going shirtless since he will be with a buch of guys! Show the picture Mike!!!

  11. trbowman says: Aug 18, 2011 6:29 PM

    My anti-Eagles comment wasn’t posted….lol.

    Course this one won’t be either.

  12. originalsteelcurtain says: Aug 18, 2011 6:36 PM

    Good matchup? It’s only p-r-e-s-e-a-s-o-n. Steelers don’t even gameplan for preseason…I doubt the Eagles do either.

    Steeler Tackles have played well so far…it’s the Guards who need to improve the most.

    Look for emerging star WR Antonio Brown and backup RB Isaac Redman to shine for the Steelers. The D (minus both starting CB’s) should be angry after a weak showing last week vs the Skins.

  13. ninerboi says: Aug 18, 2011 7:11 PM

    I hate the cheating patriots….I wonder how many Raheem Morris practice tapes they have for this preseason game

  14. thetooloftools says: Aug 18, 2011 7:15 PM

    All I know is CLOWNS don’t last long in New England. Show up, shut up, and step up. That is the New England model of success. (I hate them but totally respect them). Rings don’t lie. God Bless Mrs. Kraft to whom this season is dedicated.

  15. MichaelEdits says: Aug 18, 2011 7:38 PM

    Those threads make Ocho look like a superhero

  16. ravensworknotsteel says: Aug 18, 2011 7:58 PM

    hurt the steelers

  17. sickpuppyz says: Aug 18, 2011 8:00 PM

    Pats 1st team is performing surgery on the hapless Bucs. this was an almost play off team last year? can’t even get a 1st down and they are down 14….

  18. melonnhead says: Aug 18, 2011 8:09 PM

    hahaha Fox is really playing up that “Dream Team” BS I love it!

  19. dmobey says: Aug 18, 2011 8:11 PM

    Rapist vs the dog killer.

    Hope both QBs get carted off.

  20. stvang says: Aug 18, 2011 8:11 PM

    Tampa is a young team that has lots of potential. Not sure how they improved this offseason. Will be interesting how the NFCS shakes down. A very compettive division top to bottom.

    NFCW is the biggest joke in the NFL

  21. bossisforboston says: Aug 18, 2011 8:19 PM

    Andre Carter is something to look forward to as well… He was in on the play where Mayo got a sack… Looking good..

  22. dmobey says: Aug 18, 2011 8:21 PM

    Keep hitting the rapist!

  23. mattlion says: Aug 18, 2011 8:23 PM

    Pats first team offense has scored 3 TDs already. Think they’re ready to go…. also, the defense, playing out of mostly a 4-3, is extremely aggressive.

  24. tiffpats4eva says: Aug 18, 2011 8:56 PM

    The Pats look good.

    I am cautiously optimistic.

  25. tiffpats4eva says: Aug 18, 2011 8:57 PM

    june20102002 says:
    Aug 18, 2011 6:14 PM
    Yawn. Brady will not play.


  26. wwwfella says: Aug 18, 2011 9:11 PM

    where is the eagles d

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