GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 3, 2011

2-Minute Drill: Patriots big shows and no shows

BIG SHOWS

1. Wes Welker - Another "Pay me now" kind of week for the Patriots superstar receiver. Catches nine balls for 158 yards and a TD. Keep this up and Welker will have the Pats muttering the words, "salary cap jail, salary cap jail..." 2. Vince Wilfork - It's more for his effort and heart than his numbers or anything else. Plays inside and out. Stuffs up anything coming his way. And he grabbed his second interception of the season. 3. Stevan Ridley - I Tweeted it (@mvcreature) Sunday and I will say it again. Every carry that BJG-E gets is a missed opportunity for this rookie. Give Ridley the ball more. He gained 97 yards, with a TD on 10 carries. 4. Devin McCourty - A quiet day in zone coverage, which means that we didn't hear McCourty get burned at all. I know the stat sheet says he led the team in tackles, which is never good for a corner, but I think this was a positive step.

NO SHOWS

1. Josh Barrett - How is this guy starting in the NFL? His angles make those of Brandon Meriweather look efficient. 2. Pat Chung - The 15-yard penalty wasn't just stupid, it was malicious. He launched himself head first and was trying to hurt the Oakland receiver. 3. Matt Light - When the game mattered and Oakland still tried, Light was tossed around a bit by Jarvis Moss. 4. Kyle Arrington/Antwaun Molden - The Pats corners might have the worst ball skills in the NFL.

GRADING THE GROUPS

OFFENSE

Line (B+) ... Big holes to run through all day, and Tom Brady (sacked once) had eons to survey the field and throw. Running backs (B+) ... Stevan Ridley (10-97, 1 TD) has to get the football more. He has a burst that the rest of these guys only dream of. Still, a solid day for BJG-E, too. Receivers (B) ... A very quiet day, strangely quiet, for Rob Gronkowski, who had one 15-yard catch. Wes Welker is simply unstoppable. Deion Branch caught a TD. A couple insignificant receptions for Chad Ochocinco, and Julian Edelman delivered a rare grab. Quarterback (A) ... Tom Brady was efficient and effective, extremely precise, hitting 16 of 30 passes.

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