We've heard all about the Patriots' youth on offense throughout training camp. On Thursday night, it showed up.
New England's first-team offense put together a sloppy performance in a 40-9 loss to the Detroit Lions. Shane Vereen, Zach Sudfeld and Brandon Bolden all lost fumbles. Tom Brady was picked off on a throw to rookie Aaron Dobson. Brady led the Patriots to three points on nine drives. You don't see that much.
Here's what else we learned Thursday:
- Reggie Bush continues to see the ball a ridiculous amount. One week after touching the ball or being targeted on more than half his snaps, Bush had six rushes and five catches on seven targets. His six runs totaled all of 1 yard, but he had 103 yards receiving. Calvin Johnson missed the game, but it's clear the Lions are going to feed Bush the ball.
- Two weeks after signing, Brandon Stokley already appears to be Joe Flacco's most trusted target on third downs. Unproven receivers Aaron Mellette, Tandon Doss and Marlon Brown all saw action with the Ravens' first-team offense, so the coaching staff could better evaluate their progress. Of the three, undrafted rookie Brown looked the smoothest. The performance might have pushed him into the final receiver spot, past Doss and LaQuan Williams.
- Cam Newton's footwork still is sloppy, Brandon LaFell still is dropping passes and the Panthers' offense still is struggling to move the chains. The questionable blocking up front is a problem for a team moving to more of a "traditional" offense. Carolina fans better hope beleaguered coordinator Mike Shula is slow-playing the rest of the NFL, saving his creative scheming and play-calling for the regular season.