Let’s start by highlighting a few things about the Washington Football Team (WFT). They were a much-improved team under head coach Ron Rivera despite abysmal play from their QB position. Alex Smith had the highest ranking (27) of the three QB’s WFT used. Dwayne Haskins was released mid-way through the season and Taylor Heinicke finished at QB. Alex Smith is now retired and the WFT brought in 17-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard grad is with his 9th team in his career. The gunslinger was ranked 20th among QBs last season. Look for Fitzpatrick to start and Heinicke to play most of the game.
The Wide receivers are very talented starting with Terry McLaurin (87-1118- 4). Off-season acquisition of Curtis Samuel (77-885-3) gives Fitzmagic another viable option. Cam Sims chipped in with 33 receptions. In the red zone, converted QB Logan Thomas (72-670-6) is a huge target. The 6’ 6” TE played QB at Virginia Tech and in the NFL for a few seasons. He converted to TE in 2019. The draft brought in underrated WR Dyami Brown from North Carolina and Dax Milne from BYU. Both rookies were top 10 in receptions of passes more than 15 yards downfield.
Don’t blink at RB Antonio Gibson a solid runner and receiver out of the backfield. JD McKissic filled in nicely when Gibson went down with an injury.
The O-line is blue-collar grinders led by OG Brandon Scherff. The draft brought Sam Cosmi a big tackle from Texas. He is pushing Charles Leno for the starters’ job.
This is one of the more dynamic and young defenses in the league and overall ranked as a top 5 Defense. They are led by Defensive rookie of the year, DE Chase Young. Ron Rivera is a defensive coach so expect a lot of what we have seen from Carolina over the years. Montez Sweatt is the other bookend DE. Rivera stated in an interview that his starters will play, how much we don’t know. First-round brought LB Jamin Davis from Kentucky. He runs all over the field and ran a 4.48 40 at the combine. Another rookie to watch is CB Ben St. Juste from Minnesota. He is a big CB at 6’2”.
Patriots players to watch:
N’Keal Harry has had his best pre-season of his short career. He is showing why he was a first-round pick. Can he translate that into the game? WR Kristian Wilkerson has also had a good camp despite a few drops lately. Can Wilkerson play special teams? In Tuesday’s practice, he downed a booming 50-yard punt by Jake Bailey on the one-yard line. That kind of play is what will get him on the team.
Carl Davis has also flashed in practice and coach Belichick had high praise for him when asked about Davis’ play.
Quinn Norbin will be the only kicker available and is getting a long look by the team. With Folk injured, Norbin has made 14 of 14 FGs during the practices held inside the stadium. That includes kicks of 54 and 56 yards. The report is that he has a big leg but his accuracy was inconsistent. Norbin is the only Un-Drafted Free Agent (UDFA) on the roster. If the Patriots are to continue their streak of 17 years with a UDFA making the opening day roster, Norbin will have to beat out Folk for the kicking job.
I expect to see the starters in the game for a couple of series. Some reporters speculated that Cam Newton may not see much action if any based on the limited action he saw in the stadium practice on Tuesday. Expect a heavy dose of Mac Jones and then Brian Hoyer.
The Patriots have a lot of players out or in red non-contact jerseys. Out, DT Christian Barmore, C David Andrews (congrats on his new addition to the family), TE Hunter Henry (could miss the entire preseason with a shoulder injury, LS Joe Cardona (hand), K Nick Folk, QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Stephon Gilmore, OLB Chase Winovich, LB Cam McGrone, LB Terez Hall, S Josh Bledsoe, and DT Byron Cowart.
Curious that Brandon Bolden returns to practice and Tyler Gaffney is cut! Also returning were S Adrian Colbert and CB D’Angelo Ross.
The Patriots signed S Malik Gant whom they had previously in camp in 2019. Brian Khoury was also signed this week as the long snapper.
Is it me or does anybody else think WTF when they see the Washington Football Team WFT abbreviation?
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Preseason
Tags: 2021 NFL Preseason 2021 Patriots Preseason New England Patriots Washington Football Team