By: Derek Havens
Patriots rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo impressed in the 23-6 loss to the Redskins Thursday night. (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots opened the preseason Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.
Thursday night’s game gave fans and analysts the chance to get an in-depth look at some of these players in a more competitive setting than on the practice field. Here are five takeaways from the 23-6 loss. –
1) Ugly Team Performance: If you watched the whole game, it wasn’t pretty. Overall, way more negatives than positives. It was disappointing to see the Patriots perform so poorly after some strong showings in training camp.
In all three phases of the game, the team had too many mistakes. Head coach, Bill Belichick summed it up after saying the team has “a lot of work to do” Don’t cancel the season just yet, though, it’s only the first preseason game. With so many unknown commodities on the field for the majority of the contest, it’s a learning experience.
2)Offensive line Struggles: Throughout the game the offensive line struggled to protect quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo. New England was not winning the one-on-one matchups.
Jordan Devey (starting at left guard in place of Logan Mankins) and Josh Kline at right guard both gave up some inside pressures and did not look in control. Something to monitor moving forward as they reshuffle the personnel up front.
3) Chris Jones Injury a Concern: Chris Jones carved out a nice role for himself last year and looked like a nice rotational contributor for the upcoming season. Late in the second quarter, however, he was rolled up on and limped off the field under his own power.
With fellow defensive lineman, Sealver Siliga, injuring his hand earlier in the week, it would be a shame if Jones’ injury caused him to miss a significant period of time. He left the game with what the team called an ankle injury and did not return.
4) Mallett Struggles, While Garoppolo Shines: Tom Brady watched from the sideline tonight giving Mallett the opportunity to start. The fourth-year backup was very inconsistent, which is what we have seen from him far too often at this point in his career. The offense as a whole looked abysmal and could not move the ball.
Rookie signal-caller Garoppolo stepped in for the second half and looked much better. So far in training camp Mallett had out-performed the rookie, but that was not the case Thursday night. Garoppolo did a good job keeping his eyes downfield, showing poise in the pocket and connected with wide receiver Brian Tyms on a few occasions. I liked his touch on the ball and hopefully he can build off this moving forward.
5) Depth an Issue: Throughout the game I thought running back, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and safety all looked thoroughly unimpressive. With many starters observing from the sidelines, it makes me question the quality of depth at each of those positions.
None of the tailbacks flashed, the tight ends were nearly invisible, the front seven struggled whether it was run or pass and several safeties took some bad angles. The opportunity was there for many of the players to take advantage and very few of them did. I will be focusing on those positions very closely next week. A lot of room for improvement.
CB Malcolm Butler — Cornerback is one of the deepest positions on the roster, but don’t count out Butler just yet. The undrafted rookie from West Alabama responded well after being targeted early in the game. He plays with confidence and a good competitive edge. He could be someone to watch as a darkhorse to make the 53-man roster with Brandon Browner suspended the first quarter of the season.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo — The rookie QB threw a few dimes on the evening, finishing up 9-of-13 for 157 yards a touchdown. After a rough start to training camp, Garoppolo showed he has some promise moving forward.
WR Brian Tyms — He was targeted six times, hauling in 5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. The third-year receiver stood out, albeit against mostly third string opponents, but looked like he deserves more of an opportunity to prove himself as the preseason continues. He and Garoppolo showed great chemistry throughout the evening.
Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!