Best and Worst: Patriots and Jaguars

Ian Logue
August 12, 2011 at 2:08 am ET

Here’s a look back at some of the top performers from Thursday night’s 47-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as some guys who probably would like to forget this one.


Dane Fletcher – Fletcher played really well Thursday night, with head coach Bill Belichick saying after the game that the former undrafted free agent was the guy making the calls for the defense.  He finished with a combined 5 tackles, including a quarterback hit and two tackles for a loss.

Jermaine Cunningham showed some improvement Thursday night. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Jermaine Cunningham – He’s had a quiet camp so far, with many reports questioning whether or not he’d be able to break out heading into his second year.  Thursday night he made a sack on Jacksonville’s opening drive that forced the Jaguars to settle for a field goal.  He was also seen collapsing the pocket and bringing pressure, and actually played pretty well.

Mark Anderson –  Anderson spent time tonight coming in on 3rd down, and a great job bringing pressure in those situations.  One notable play involved Anderson coming hard which opened up Landon Cohen to come in and make a sack.  If Thursday night’s performance is a sign of things to come, it appears he’s going to be a solid contributor with this football team this season.

Nate Solder – The rookie got the start at left tackle Thursday night, and neither Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett saw any pressure coming in from their side of the field.    He also did a great job opening up holes in the running game, and definitely looked impressive.

Taylor Price –  Fans have been hoping to see him have a breakout season, and he’s off to a good start.  He finished the night with 5 catches for 105 yards, including a touchdown grab where he showed tremendous body control to haul in a ball thrown high and slightly behind him, and managed to hold on and get both feet down.  One concern may be the fact he took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot at the end of the game, which hopefully won’t have a lasting effect.  He did manage to stay in the game, but like any other head shot he’ll probably be feeling it a little more in the morning.

Stevan Ridley – Ridley had a tremendous debut for the Patriots, racking up 111 all purpose yards including 47 receiving yards and a touchdown along with 64 yards on the ground and two touchdowns there as well.  He hit the holes hard and really ran pretty well, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses over the next few weeks.

Matthew Slater – He made a big 43-yard grab on a great adjustment on a slightly underthrown ball,  which helped set up a field goal to put New England up 13-9 early in the second quarter.  He also had an assist on a special teams tackle.

Buddy Farnham – Farnham had three receptions for 34-yards including a 25-yard grab, but he made a name for himself by stepping in on defense and coming away with an interception.  Belichick showed some support for Farnham, saying after the game, “We’ve got a receiver leading the team in interceptions, so that should be a point of embarrassment for the defensive backs, but that’s alright – they deserve it.”

Brian Hoyer – He had said coming into this game that he was excited, and now that it’s over he should be feeling pretty good about himself.  Hoyer got the start and finished the night 15-of-21 for 171 yards and a touchdown, with a quarterback rating of 111.4.  However, more importantly he was completely in control and really did a great job of executing the offense and really didn’t make any mistakes.

Ryan Mallett – Mallett had a solid night of his own, finishing 12-of-19 for 164 yards and a touchdown, with a quarterback rating of 108.2.  He was accurate and did a decent job – save for a delay of game penalty.  But he did what he needed to do and managed to lead them to four straight second half scoring drives, and would have had a fifth had they not run out of time.

Richard Medlin – Ridley will get the majority of the press, but Medlin came in and played admirably running the ball.  Medlin’s stats were close to Ridley’s carrying the football, as he finished with 14 carries for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Darryl Richard – Finished with two sacks on the night and showed some pretty good promise.  Also finished with one pass defensed.

Stephen Gostkowski – He hit two field goals from 46 and 43 yards, and the reason why it’s worth noting is that he hit both perfectly, and didn’t show any signs of any lingering issues following his season ending injury that saw him lost for the 2010 campaign.


Aaron Hernandez – He finished the night with 6 receptions for 68 yards, and it was good to see him out there after hearing the news of his offseason hip surgery.  However he had two fumbles on two of the first three opening possessions, one of which he lost and it lead to Jacksonville’s first field goal.  His second fumble cost him a touchdown after he got down to the one and looked like he was going to take it in.  Luckily – since he recovered it – it allowed Ridley to get his first touchdown run of the night on the next play.

Patrick Chung – Chung actually played fairly well but he’ll likely be kicking himself after dropping an easy interception on an overthrown ball that landed right in his hands, but he couldn’t hold on.  He also got lit up on Deji Karim’s 11-yard gain in the 2nd quarter, so needless to say he’ll probably be looking forward to getting a little redemption next week.

Darius Butler – He really struggled Thursday night.  He got a ton of playing time, but he had a tough time in single coverage and really looked uncomfortable, which isn’t good for a third year player who’s already coming off a less than stellar season.

Danny Woodhead – Woodhead had a night he likely wants to forget.  He followed up Hernandez’ first fumble with one of his own on the Patriots second offensive snap.  New England fortunately recovered it, but he’s a pretty intense guy that doesn’t like to turn the ball over.

Overall we saw some really strong performances Thursday night, and it definitely gives us plenty to talk about as we wait to see how they follow this one up down in Tampa Bay next Thursday at 7:30pm ET.

  • Brian in California

    Could easily see Price as 4th and sometimes 3rd receiver. He is so fast that it would be good to see him get some long passes from Brady (or the others). Looked like the young players on the O-line did well in pass protection. What did you guys think of Maneri and Ohrnberger in particular? No sacks is a good sign.

  • Brian in California

    Also, with Daryl Richard and Landon Cohen making plays, do you see them make the team or another year on the practice squad?

  • Brian in California

    Also, with Daryl Richard and Landon Cohen making plays, do you see them make the team or another year on the practice squad?

  • Tom

    My thoughts. Dane Fletcher has great instincts. Danny Woodhead might be a one and done; especially if they continue to use him like they did last night. I’m having a hard time keeping up with all the defensive linemen. Other than the gruesome twosome, the d-linemen each do something well. I’m going to get dizzy watching Bill shuffle these guys in and out. Farnhum and Medlin are playing for the practice squad. Although I’m not a big fan of Slater, he had a great game. Maneri did a nice job as a pulling guard. Ridley did well last night but he didn’t get many yards after the catches. He looked like Ben Jarvis’s twin brother out there; minus the dreadlocks. The special teams definitely looked horrible last night. Taylor Price is the real deal and Bill better find a way to get him out there. I hope Matt Light gets healthy soon because Solder doesn’t quite look ready to me. He looked uncomfortable.

  • It’s tough to say. That’s such a crowded group with a lot of talent, probably about as deep as we’ve ever seen. I think they’ve got a lot of tough decisions to make, especially if everyone plays well through the next three games.

  • batsandgats

    How is Danny Woodhead 1 and done? the pass blocking with the first team was great but the run blocking wasn’t. Ridley was averaging about 2 ypc before busting off a long run against 2nd and 3rd stringers. Woodhead wasn’t getting any holes but was getting quite the push despite being a smaller back. It always takes the offense longer to gel than it does defense, espescially when it comes to running the ball. Offensive scheming in preseason is different than in regular season, playing the run isn’t much different than in the regular season. Pretty much none of the 1st team back’s performed well for the first preseason game, Ray Rice averaged 1.7 ypc, is he done? Hell most didn’t even play because they knew there was no point, like Adrian Peterson and his 3 yard carry. Woodhead is a proven commodity, he doesn’t have to prove anything out there in preseason, he has to be ready for the regular season, and mainly the post season. Blount avg 3.6 ypc with a long of 4, is he one and done? Leon Washington avged 2.9 is he done?

    When are people. going to stop overreacting to preseason games, were talking about 5 carries here. Ridley bust off a 21 yarder against guys that won’t make the JAGUARS and were ready to anoint him the next Faulk? the guy looked good as a 3rd down back, but not in the same way Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead are 3rd down backs, im talking short yardage and goal line. He is kind of stiff, like a fullback (Medlin showed more wiggle than him but lets just right him off since he wasn’t drafted and from a small school, right?) he reminds me of a smaller Heath Evans, probably a little more speed but that isn’t saying much.