Quick-hit Tuesday thoughts

A few quick-hit thoughts this morning:

1. Is it me, or is the quality of the across-the-board NFL product down from past years? Some of these prime-time games have been tough to watch.

2. There was a lot of talk last week about why the Patriots-Broncos game was kept on CBS instead of being flexed to prime-time, and Robert Kraft's role in the process. My conclusion is that it was the league helping CBS, as I believe the network feels its ratings have been hurt by flex scheduling, and that this was a case of the league helping one of its broadcast partners and doing what it felt was fair. It also probably ties in to there being less quality product available this year.

3. The Broncos rank first in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Patriots' defense didn't inspire confidence in this area against the Redskins and that figures to be a primary focus this week.

4. On the opposite side of the ball, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis talked Monday about improving the team's short-yardage running game. The one time the Patriots called on their power package against the Redskins, on third-and-1, they didn't convert. Green-Ellis said that was one of the big corrections addressed Monday, with the need to be better at situational football.

5. This is the time of year when teams sometimes attempt to sign players off teams' practice squads. One way the Patriots protect against it is by giving pay boosts to their practice squad players. Those making more than the minimum on the practice squad include OT Matt Kopa, DE Markell Carter, TE Garrett Mills, DE Alex Silvestro and S Ross Ventrone.