INSIDERS: Patriots Notes Week One

The New England Patriots performed well in their season opener. By all accounts the team shut down the Raiders in what could have amounted to a blowout. Here are some observations on the players who contributed to the win, as well as some who weren't able to due to injury.

INSIDERS: Patriots Notes Week One
By Staff


--QB Tom Brady, who was listed on a regular-season injury report with a right shoulder injury for the 17th straight week, shrugged off any soreness to complete 24 of 38 passes for 306 yards and two TDs vs. Oakland. His 105.8 passer rating marked the 27th time he finished with a rating of 100 or better. The Patriots are 27-0 in those games.

--QB Doug Flutie did not see action in the opener as the No. 2 quarterback.

--RB Corey Dillon, who helped the Patriots average 4 yards per carry last season for the first time since 1985, was held to just 63 yards last week and 2.7 yards per carry. He also was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play, but he did score two rushing touchdowns.

--RB Kevin Faulk wasn't overly effective against Oakland in his role as a change-of-pace back. He ran five times for 11 yards and had three receptions for just 18 yards.

--WR Deion Branch sat out the preseason, but picked up right where he left off following his Super Bowl XXXIX MVP performance. He had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders and has emerged as Brady's clear-cut, No. 1 go-to guy.

--WR Tim Dwight caught only one pass, but it was good for his first touchdown as a Patriot. Dwight also showed explosion as a punt returner when he took his first punt back 27 yards after catching it at his own 5-yard line. He finished with four returns for 44 yards for an 11-yard average that was much better than the 5.8 New England averaged as a team last season.

--WR Troy Brown spent the last half of 2004 playing defense and saw his role on offense all but eliminated. He enjoyed a return to his natural side of the ball last week and caught six passes for 51 yards.

--WR Andre' Davis was inactive last week because of a foot injury and won't likely play in Carolina.

--WR Bethel Johnson, who sat out the opener with a vague "thigh" injury that is believed to be a hamstring problem, could be available this week. He'll test the leg Wednesday, but won't likely participate fully in the team portion of practice.

--TE Benjamin Watson, after a long wait, made his presence felt when he caught two passes for 55 yards on the Patriots' opening drive against Oakland. He was shut out thereafter, but certainly showed that he will threaten the deep middle of the field. He missed 15 games last season with a knee injury.

--K Adam Vinatieri connected on his only field goal try against Oakland, but had a PAT blocked. It was the first time he failed to convert an extra point since having one blocked on Nov. 16, 2003 against Dallas.

--NT Vince Wilfork had his interception overturned by the Elias Sports Bureau, which ruled that Kerry Collins fumbled the ball that Wilfork snatched out of the air. Jarvis Green, consequently, was credited with a sack on the play.

--CB Tyrone Poole suffered a foot injury against Oakland and did not return. His status for this week is not yet known.

--CB Chad Scott left the opener with an arm injury and his status is unknown for this week.

--CB Duane Starks, who missed the last three preseason games and the opener with a "thigh" injury, will test the leg this week and could play against the Panthers. Starks dressed for practice last week, but was held out for at least part of the team portion of practice. The timing of his return could be critical with both Tyrone Poole and Chad Scott possibly on the shelf.

--WR P.K. Sam signed back with the Patriots practice squad. G Ryan Krug was released to make room for Sam.

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