EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 20, 2010

Two-minute drill


1. Rob Gronkowski — Hey, maybe I was a bit tough on the rookie tight end last week, calling him a third tackle. Of course, all his work last night (4 catches, 38 yards) did come against bottom of the Atlanta barrel defenders, but it's a start.

2. Kevin Faulk — Love his effort and production. Even in a non-counting exhibition, he set the tone early with a couple first-down conversions.

3. Devin McCourty — Second straight solid week from the rookie corner.


1. Brandon Tate — What happened to the next big thing at receiver? Somebody dial up the Victor Cruz highlights from New York and explain to Tate that preseason games are your time to shine when you're attempting to make a name for yourself in this league.

2. Randy Moss — OK, sometimes talent is a curse. And when Moss moves, he oozes athleticism like few others. When he coasts a little too much, it means a lot. Sure, the lack of effort on the incomplete bomb means nothing in the grand scheme, but his body language tells you that things haven't changed.

3. Brandon Spikes — A major step back for the rookie whose lack of speed shows too often on the wide runs. Three tackles in three quarters on gains of 7, 14 and 5 yards.

What we learned

1. Wes Welker is back — Call it a medical miracle. Maybe he's got special recuperative powers. But Welker started, had two catches for 20 yards, took a smack on a tear screen and hit the showers.

2. Fred Taylor is your No. 1 — As long as his body can push it, Taylor is your No. 1, every day back. Laurence Maroney is a shadow of the elder soon-to-be Hall of Famer Taylor. So is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. If Taylor is healthy, he adds a dimension this team did not have.

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