The second game of the preseason is finished and Pats fans now have to wait only three more weeks for the preseason opener. Gillette Stadium was about 80 percent full in what was a faux Super Bowl rematch. If Nick Foles played like he did tonight in the Super Bowl, the Pats would have six Super Bowls rings. Unfortunately for the Pats, the Super Bowl is history and blitz for six will be this year. CBs Duke Dawson and Ryan Lewis did not dress. Neither did RB Sony Michel, RB Rex Bulkhead, DL Trey Flowers, LB Harvey Langi or OL Marcus Cannon. Isaiah Wynn started at right tackle but left the game with an undisclosed injury. Update: Wynn will miss the rest of the 2018 season with a torn Achilles.
Concern with Eric Decker and maybe Cordarrelle Patterson
Both played into the fourth quarter. Decker had zero catches and it is questionable whether her has the speed to be an every down receiver. Patterson plays well with the ball in his hands, but needs to improve his ability to run routes. His grasp of the offense is also questionable and he struggled sometimes to get open against second string players. Paterson finished with four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Decker had no catches and is not a guarantee at this point to make the team.
First Team Offense Looks Great
The most impressive player of the night was RB James White - who has emerged as one of the best young backs in the league if not one of the best skill position players. White had four rushes for 31 yards - averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He also had 6 catches for 61 yards - a 10.2 yard average.
"Yeah, I mean, I don't think you could ask any more of a teammate than what James provides us and the trust that everyone has in him. I mean, I feel like he never makes a mistake, and it's pretty amazing to have that. You know, we've had some great sub backs and James is right in the mold of all those other guys – Kevin Faulk and Shane [Vereen] and Danny Woodhead. James has his own way of doing it, but what an incredible play he made on the screen play, amongst many other great plays, and I love playing with him," Brady said.
Brady also acknowledged the adjustment of having a new left tackle after having Nate Solder for seven years and Matt Light for 11 years.
"I think we've had such great players at that position between Matt Light and then Nate [Solder] for an extended period of time. You wish you could keep all the guys together, but it's just not the case. Trent has come in and really gained everyone's trust by how he's approached that particular spot that he's in, and I mean, he did a great job tonight. So, he's working hard to get better. Obviously, that whole unit up front, we rely so much on them to set the tone in the run game and the pass game, and we're going to need them to all be at their best. I mean, I love that group and the effort they're putting in. We've just got to all try to keep getting better," Brady said.
Rob Gronkowski did not play Thursday night and did not play last week against the Washington Redskins either. The decision is likely to make sure Gronkowski's body is healthy and in top shape for the season. Gronkowski was miserable after last season and contemplated retirement because he takes a tremendous number of hits during the season - probably as much as any player.
Front Seven Improving
Second year DE Derek Rivers who missed all of last season with a knee injury could give the Pats a boost off the edge. The concern remains at linebacker where the Pats are thin and LB Elandon Roberts cannot cover. Fifth round pick middle linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley played well and returned a strip sack for a touchdown. The linebacking core continues to struggle with its ability to handle crossing routes. If the Pats make an acquisition before the season it could be at this position.
Jason McCourty might make the team after all
McCourty played decently (he did give up a touchdown) - even after the chattering class had written his obituary when he did not play last week. He has a strong chance to make the the team. Given that Dawson is a second round pick - he is likely a guarantee to make the team. Ryan Lewis and Cyrus Jones could be headed out of Foxboro. McCourty played respectively, but gave up a touchdown. If the season started today, the corners on the roster would be Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty, Duke Dawson, and J.C. Jackson (who has been aptly named just cover jackson by some members of the press core).
“I just have to make that play. Got to do better. He ran an inside move I broke hard. I just need to try to do a better job of getting a hand in there to make the play,” McCourty said - regarding the touchdown he gave up.
McCourty has been able to understand the Pats defense because he has played for many different coaching staffs and so many of the concepts are familiar.
“Having my brother here here has been really amazing,” McCourty said. “It’s the small things throughout the week that I enjoy most about being his teammate. Walking to practice - talking about family issues. He (Devin) is my Uber driver to the games.”
Asked if he is a good driver.
“He is all right,” McCourty said
He does not want his older brother getting too confident. The twins clearly love each other.
The Pats third preseason game is next Friday Night August 24th against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.