Tom Brady has nothing to prove; but don't expect him to take it easy. And even though Michael Vick looks like the starter come Week 1, he has a lot to prove in Philadelphia.
The New England Patriots met the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night and immediately put on a show for the crowd.
Here are five lessons learned from the game.
1. The Patriots have a runnng game. On their opening drive, Brady led the team down the field on six plays for 81 yards -- without throwing a single pass.
Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount shared the carries and scored the first points of the game. Good blocking on the front line helped to open holes for the runners, leaving the defense without an answer.
2. Michael Vick has great touch on his throws. His first drive was capped by a beautiful throw to DeSean Jackson for 47 yards for the touchdown. He made it look effortless as he drifted to his right and flipped a perfect rainbow to Jackson who had half a step on Aqib Talib. It was vintage Vick and ha showed that he's still the man in Philly.
3. New England still has struggles to overcome in the defensive secondary. The starters were loose and weak in coverage tonight, leaving receivers wide open over much of the field.
Talib had pretty, good coverage on the TD to Jackson, though he was unable to make a play on the well-thrown pass. They did their best to keep the Eagle offense at bay, but need to tighten things up.
4. After Tom Brady, the Patriots don't have a consistent passing game. Ryan Mallett only completed 50 percent of his throws for 97 yards before getting knocked out of the game. Tim Tebow didn't do much better through the air, but used his legs to extend a drive. As long as Brady is on the field, even with a bevy of new receivers, they will be fine.
5. Philadelphia still has a QB competition considering how well Nick Foles threw the ball today. He may not be consistent enough to take the starting role away from Vick, but he looks ready to start in this league.
Miscellaneous notes: Stephen Gostkowski is struggling more and more kicking field goals and that should worry Patriot fans. Matt Barkley is a little green and had a rough start, but is a promising, developmental project for Chip Kelly. He seemed to get more comfortable the more he threw the ball and finished with decent numbers.
While New England has a potent running attack, Philadelphia didn't find any success on the ground. The Patriots have a plethora of versatile weapons in both the running ang passing game. Philly has found a replacement in the kick return game for DeSean Jackson; his name is Damaris Johnson.
We won't assume too much after just the first appearance of the pre-season, but suffice it to say that New England doesn't appear to have missed a beat despite a nearly complete overhaul of the receiving corps (on offense anyways), but the defense is clearly still a work in progress against the pass.
There will surely be improvement of all facets of the game on both sides of the ball for both the Patriots and the Eagles. Three more weeks of preseason will tell us a lot more, so don't give up yet.