OK, so the preseason isn't exactly the most productive time of year for analysts attempting to decipher the minutiae of the NFL.
Just ask the Boston Globe's Chris Gasper.
"I just don't think you're getting all of the answers in August, I don't," Gasper said. "I think you get some indications and the indications are good, but what is it like when you get in real games where other teams are game-planning [against you]."
Still, indications aren't nothing. The preseason can still give fans a little insight into how certain players or teams may perform.
And the Patriots secondary has a golden opportunity to demonstrate it is still the same unit that was one of the better defensive backfields in the league in the second half of last season.
New England will go up against Detroit, in the land of Megatron, on Thursday and will need all of the talent and effort it can get from its corners and safeties to hold down the semi-human Calvin Johnson.
The Lions also possess a strong-armed quarterback who can sling it with the best of them in Matthew Stafford (as long as sidearm throws and mistakes don't pile up).
With all that in mind, Gasper sees a chance for the Patriots secondary to at least answer some concerns in its third preseason affair.
"You're facing a pretty high-powered quarterback here…Stafford is the guy, Detroit gave him a contract extension in the offseason, he's thrown for 5,000 yards and 4,900 last year, it's a high-powered offense," Gasper said. "The biggest question mark with the Patriots is the defense still. So I think you can glean something from that matchup."
How will the secondary fare against Stafford and Co.? Offer your thoughts in the comment section.