During the Patriots win over the Bears tonight, here are some of the other players who stood out. Despite another slow start, the Patriots overall played well, Bill Belichick will have plenty of good and not-so-good film to show the players as they prepare to head to Carolina.
The team won’t play again in Foxboro until Week 2 of the regular season. After they visit the Panthers next Friday night, they’ll visit the Giants in what has become an annual finish to the preseason.
The team has ended the public version of training camp. Now they’ll move to a more regular season schedule during the final two weeks as they gear up to prepare for the season opener in Arizona.
In our recap of the game here, we already posted about the solid work done by Jimmy Garoppolo, LeGarrette Blount, and Anthony Johnson. Those were arguably the top three performers on the night for New England. So who else stood out?
A.J. Derby: Derby, in competition with Clay Harbor for the third TE spot on the roster, looked really impressive on Thursday night. Showing good athleticism and speed, he was finding windows to get open and caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. His 16-yard scoring play and a 26-yard sideline grab from Jacoby Brissett were highlight worthy. With Harbor struggling to stay healthy and on the field, Derby has made the most of his chances.
Darryl Roberts: The 2nd year corner has been quiet this summer and for the most part outplayed by rookies Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jonathan Jones. But he put together his best work this summer, providing tight, blanket coverage in the second half. He made a nice pass breakup on a similar comeback route that Jones picked off, reaching in and knocking the ball away. He got flagged on a ticky-tack penalty late in the game but showed that he’s still very much in the mix for that final cornerback spot.
Chris Hogan: The WR has ditched the red non-contact jersey and showed some nice route running and speed at wide receiver. Hogan is the guy who is in the mix to take over Brandon LaFell’s job as the outside or “X”- wide receiver. He caught four passes for 53 yards including a two-point conversion.
Honorable Mention: James Develin, Cyrus Jones, Geneo Grissom, Joe Thuney
Brandon Bolden: The 5th year veteran should know better than to leave the ball exposed like that, allowing Tracy Porter to strip it away. That killed a very impressive drive that looked like was going to put the Patriots right back in the game.
Justin Coleman: The second-year corner has been impressive this summer, outplaying rookie Cyrus Jones overall and was arguably the Patriots best player on the field for the first joint practice with the Bears. But on Tuesday and again tonight, the Bears picked on him early. Subbing for Logan Ryan (still not cleared for contact) The Bears’ Jay Cutler went after him with back-to-back 29 yard and 12-yard pass plays. That set them up in great scoring position.
On the next series, he committed a costly penalty on third down where the Patriots had stopped the Bears which ultimately led to a Chicago touchdown. Coleman may be feeling the heat a little bit of rookie CB Cyrus Jones who is pushing him for the third cornerback slot.
Aaron Dobson: Much was made of the Patriots needing to get off to a faster start on Thursday night. It was imperative to get the offense in gear earlier than the slow start a week ago. Indeed, we said the same thing about Dobson. After being arguably the best WR in camp during the first week to 10 days, he’s fallen off and was barely targeted during the joint Bears – Patriots practices.
We thought he needed to step up and the time was right with Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Keshawn Martin and Malcolm Mitchell out against the Bears. But on the Patriots first possession facing a very makeable third and two, Dobson dropped a Jimmy Garoppolo pass to force a three and out.
To be fair, the pass was far from perfect. It was behind him and wasn’t in stride where it should have been. But it was a very makeable catch and one that the 4th year WR has to make. With Dobson running out of time and chances to make the team, that wasn’t the start that he or the team was looking for.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection A.J. Derby Aaron Dobson Anthony Johnson Bill Belichick Brandon Bolden Chris Hogan Cyrus Jones Darryl Roberts Geneo Grissom James Develin Jimmy Garoppolo Joe Thuney Justin Coleman LaGarrette Blount