by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
October 4, 2009

Thoughts while wondering if it will be the Ravens offense or defense that poses the greatest threat to the Patriots today…

  • Really, I’ve been back and forth on this over the last few days. First I wonder if the Pats can get their cranky passing game up to snuff with people like Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs getting in their way. It seems like they’ll have to spread out and throw to move the ball on a defense that’s surrendering only fifty yards rushing per game so far.
  • Then I wonder about New England’s defense, which this week was grudgingly acknowledged as ‘maybe, possibly improved, sort of’ by the sporting press. It was the nicest thing they’ve said all year. Are we being set up? The Ravens second-ranked offense (in points and yardage) will be a pretty good test.
  • Speaking of the maybe, possibly, sort of improved Patriots defense – the eleven players most often on the field over the first twelve quarters of the season include Leigh Bodden (99% of the snaps), Gary Guyton (also 99%), Brandon Meriweather (88%), Shawn Springs (86%), Jarvis Green (85%), Adalius Thomas (81%), Ty Warren (71%), Vince Wilfork (68%), James Sanders (62%), Mike Wright (61%), and Brandon McGowan (58%). Five DB’s, four DL’s and two LB’s.
  • Naturally, after all this, the game will be decided on special teams. It’s a Final Thoughts tradition.
  • So Mike Reiss says Junior Seau took a physical while he was in town for his new TV show. Well, he was recently gored by a bull, or something. Junior hasn’t shut up about playing for the Patriots for months now (get the results of this Google News search), so as they used to say on the old KFFL message board, “makes sense.”
  • Actually I’m not sure it does given the reports that old friend Chris Price was on Comcast Sports Net this week suggesting that Jerod Mayo could play today. He did practice on Friday, just eighteen days after he was injured and allegedly lost for up to eight weeks. I’m not getting too crazy with this notion this morning; last week there were similar thoughts on Wes Welker, who ultimately sat for the Falcons anyway.
  • Reiss mentioned in his mailbag this week that Welker could even be shut down for a few weeks so a clean-up procedure could be done on his knee. That is frankly an unappealing notion as long as Tom Brady struggles to synch up with nearly everybody else. Welker also practiced Friday, as did Wilfork, who the Pats could sure use today if they’re going to stall Willis McGahee and Ray Rice (both over five yards a carry so far). It seems like most everyone took the field on Friday, so maybe there’s a chance some of these nagging early season troubles are coming to an end (cross fingers).
  • You know, Lawrence Maroney has been getting a bad rap of late. It seems the prevailing opinion is still that he’s an indecisive tap dancer with the ball. That’s not what I’ve been seeing. I see a guy that’s trying to pick a lane and go with it, and it seems to me he’s been pretty willing to lower his shoulder and keep his feet moving when the time comes.  Say what you want about his production this season (small sample size) or his durability overall (it stinks), but we’ve all forgetting what kind of player he was down the stretch in ’07 (see video on right). It’s worth the shot to see if he’s still there under all that baggage.
  • The inactives are out – Joey Galloway and Terrance Wheatley are apparent healthy scratches. I’m not sure what it means that Galloway is out on a day they figure to pass. There will be no Mayo, but Wilfork, Welker, Matt Light (ankle) and Nick Kaczur (ankle) are all, evidently, in.

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