by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
August 19, 2009

The Patriots look to build on last week’s positive showing at Philadelphia in Thursday night’s scrimmage vs. Cincinnati. Below, this week’s concerns…

Those Who Ignore The Passed Are Doomed: Though Carson Palmer won’t play, the Bengals still boast receivers Chad Ochocinco (still can’t believe that’s his legal name) and Chris “Five Strikes” Henry. Defensive backs Darius Butler and Leigh Bodden looked decent vs. the Eagles, but what happened with Terrence Wheatley? He seemed about as comfortable as a vegan at a pig roast.

Rushing Diplomat: Eagles starters held Laurence Maroney to 14 yards on six attempts. Sammy Morris did slightly better against backups (12 for 45, 3.75 avg.) A 3.3-yard team average won’t cut it vs. Cincy, who had the 21st-ranked rushing defense last year. The Patriots just signed Chris Taylor (the running back, not the wrestler) to take some reps – and some punishment.

Maroney has his doubters, but let’s make this deal: if he averages over 4.1 yards a carry Thursday, we all stop second-guessing him… At least until next week.

Play Something Catchy: Obscured by the flashes of rookie Julian Edelman’s performance, receivers Randy Moss and Joey Galloway did little to impress. Moss missed a couple passes, while Galloway ended up with zero receptions after a potential TD bounced off his hands. Special-teamer Ray Ventrone had better stats (one four-yard grab). Not. Good.

Hollowed Ground Defense: New England gave up 4.3 yards per carry last week, 5.5 to rookie LeSean McCoy. As they mix and match their defensive looks, they have to find the right groups of outside linebackers/defensive ends. Tully Banta-Cain (one sack) and Derrick Burgess can pressure the QB, but can they stop the run? Shawn Crable looked less than spectacular. Assumed starters Pierre Woods and Adalius Thomas combined for two total tackles, or as many as rookie lineman Myron Pryor. Who besides Thomas and Jerod Mayo can stay on the field for all three downs?

Another game, another chance. We’ll check up on Friday.

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