During the seven seasons he's been with the Patriots, Gronkowski has played all 16 games of the National Football League regular season only twice. However, things should be even more interesting this time around with four running backs in the mix. James White did enter on third downs, but Burkhead was highly active in the passing game. The Patriots didn't come out of Saturday night unscathed, as second-year linebacker Elandon Roberts was carted to the locker room in the third quarter.
The Patriots have long opted to save tight end Rob Gronkowski's game action for the regular season, but they went in a different direction on Saturday night in Houston.
Watson's second preseason game was a mixed bag. On a simple dump pass over the middle, D'Onta Foreman scooted 63 yards down to the Patriots' 4.
That's how you get the job done. I'm not talking about the, "Is he the greatest of all-time?' narrative".
In their preseason opener, the New England rested nearly all of their starting players as well as the main backup veterans against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Watt, who is returning from back surgery which cost him 13 games last season, leveled Burkhead for a 2-yard loss on New England's opening possession for his first tackle of the season.
"As it relates to training camp, look I have been coaching for 43 years, but at the start of training camp as a coach I have to refine my on-field coaching skills", Belichick said.
Those miscues turned into two Texans touchdowns and are the types of shaky ball security that can sink a team when the games count for real. Ellington looked agile and quick, and displayed strong hands in the game.
He was on the field for 15 of the Patriots' first 17 plays and was not targeted.
The Patriots and Brady responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive. But the Patriots defense stiffened, with Ealy looking better. On the next play, Foreman ran it in to put the Texans back up, 27-23.
Rookie watch: Undrafted linebacker/defensive end Harvey Langi (Brigham Young) started and played deep into the game, as the Patriots continue to evaluate him for a possible spot on the 53-man roster.