Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 8-22 and AFC East Notes, with their second preseason game, as well as two joint practices in the books, one can see some roster battles beginning to take shape. Things are far from settled in many spots but with two more joint practices against the Giants in Foxboro before the final preseason game, there will be a lot of opportunities for players to make an impression on the coaching staff.
Have you checked out our team news feature for all 32 teams yet? It is a great resource to keep up with what is going on all across the NFL.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Matthew Judon: The Patriots spent some big bucks on bringing him on board this spring…and so far, it seems to be well worth it. Judon has been dominant in practices in camp and had a terrific sequence against Washington in the preseason opener.
Against the Eagles, Judon was everywhere during just his about 10 snaps in the game. He had a strip-sack, a QB hit, and a play when he drew a holding penalty and still pressured Joe Flacco. On the strip-sack, it looked like he was a missile flying into the picture and jarred the ball loose.
He brings another veteran presence to the locker room and a bit of swagger and toughness. He’s primed for a big year.
Quinn Nordin: The Patriots’ UDFA kicker had a really rough game on Thursday. After making his first extra point where the kick just slid inside the right goalpost, he missed his next three kicks, a field goal, and two other extra points, pushing them all to the right before righting the ship a bit by connecting on an extra point and a chip shot (24-yard) field goal.
All of the momentum he’s been building up has been erased. Now he’s firmly on the bubble. If Nick Folk comes off of PUP this week, it would be difficult to see Nordin making the 53-man roster.
“I think when you go through any player’s performance in the preseason and really in any game, player or coach, they’re always some good plays and then some plays that we’d all like to have back,” Belichick said on Friday after the game.
“I thought Quinn did a good job of rebounding there in the second half, came back and hit the ball well, but obviously a big part of everybody’s game and certainly the specialists game is consistency and so, let’s say that we’ve seen a little bit of that from all the specialists in the first two preseason games.”
Cam Newton: The Patriots’ QB definitely got the last word in on Philly’s K’Von Wallace. During joint practices, Wallace trash-talked Newton calling him “Checkdown King” from the sideline when Newton took what the defense was giving him.
But on Thursday, Newton burned Wallace, who was in coverage on Jakobi Meyers for a 28-yard touchdown pass. “Oh, that’s ‘glitter,'” Newton said, giving Wallace a nickname as he does with all of the Patriots players. “‘Glitter.’ It’s preseason. He was still cheering his team on the sideline. He was out there. It was good. Tell his coach to play man-to-man then. I’m just doing what I’m told just like he’s doing what he’s told.
“He was cheerleading a lot on the sidelines. You know, cheerleaders usually have glitter on, so.”
Jalen Hurts: The projected Eagles starting QB was slated to play in the game, but an illness forced him out just prior to the start of the game. However, if anything, his absence strengthened his hold on the starting job.
Neither Joe Flacco nor Nick Mullens did anything to justify making a switch. The pair had a combined 81 yards net passing on the night.
Patriots Aircraft: The Patriots aircraft was once again seen jet-setting around the globe, this time carrying much-needed medical supplies and doctors to the earthquake-ravaged island of Haiti.
The Patriots aircraft was loaded up Saturday morning carrying thousands of items like IV fluid bags, oxygen masks, surgical supplies, hospital beds, sterilizers, and generators. It is also carrying 2 orthopedic surgeons, 3 physicians, and a nurse to assist victims in the wake of the 7.2 earthquake and a tropical storm. More than 2,100 have died and millions have been displaced and without shelter.
Build Health International coordinated the relief items, and team owner Robert Kraft donated the jet to transport the supplies. The Kraft family is also donating drinking water, surgical masks, and PPE that includes N95 masks and face shields.
This trend of helping out continues. The Pats’ plane flew to China, to bring N95 masks to the U.S. during the pandemic as well as bringing COVID-19 vaccinations to Central America. Earlier this year, it was dispatched to bring South Dakota National Guard troops home from a deployment in the Horn of Africa.
4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. We recorded one on Friday and gave our thoughts on the game in Philly.
Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.
The Roster is Still Has A Lot of Competition With a Big Week Ahead:
With the first two preseason games in the books, the Patriots roster is beginning to take form although plenty of opportunities still exist for players on the bubble.
Despite what a lot of fans and media were saying (and openly rooting for), Cam Newton has solidified his hold on the starting position at quarterback. Both QBs had a solid week and both played very well in the game against the Eagles. Jones IS going to be the starter at some point, but unless something really crazy happens this week, he’ll start Week 1.
How long that will be is completely on Newton. The Patriots have put a lot on Jones’ plate and have done so with the idea of preparing him to start. He’s light years ahead of where any Patriots rookie QB was at this stage of his career.
With the running back position, the question is how can they let any of these guys go? Damien Harris is definitely the lead back and he’s had a very good summer. Who is #2? Sony Michel continues to impress both running and receiving. Rhamondre Stevenson has been a TD machine the first two games and has excellent footwork for a big man and can catch out of the backfield. J.J. Taylor has been electric, albeit against the 2’s and 3’s late in the games. James White is still Jame White. Brandon Bolden and Jakob Johnson are still in the mix… A very difficult decision awaits.
At wide receiver, there are still questions. The first three (Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, and Kendrick Bourne are locked. Who’s #4? I believed N’Keal Harry was going to be that guy. But his shoulder injury is expected to keep him out four weeks. A trade involving him is now pretty much out of the question. Who’s going to trade for a WR that is hurt and with limited production? He could go on IR and return after Week 3, but he’d first have to be on the 53-man roster.
Kristian Wilkerson has had decent production in the two preseason games but has seemingly had drops every day in practice. Isaiah Zuber and Devin Ross are long shots, as is Tre Nixon. Gunner Olszewski should already make the team as a returner but he could be pressed into the #4 WR. He hasn’t shown the development as a WR as I hoped he’d make this summer, but he may be the best choice.
At tight end, it looks like they’ll keep four Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Devin Asiasi, and Matt LaCosse although only Asiasi is healthy right now. Could that open the door for Jakob Johnson?
The offensive line starters are set and very, very good. The backups are battling for probably three spots. Right now I like Ted Karras, Justin Herron, and James Ferentz but that could change.
The defensive line looks so much stronger than last year with newcomers Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson, and rookie Christian Barmore. I think Carl Davis is pushing for the sixth position along with Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise.
The linebacker depth right now is arguably the deepest we’ve seen in a long, long time. With Raekwon McMillan on IR, could it open the door for Harvey Langi, who had a bounceback night against the Eagles? Terez Hall is on PUP and Cameron McGrone is on NFI.
The cornerback depth after Stephon Gilmore (PUP) and J.C. Jackson is pretty thin. Joejuan Williams played pretty well against the Eagles and covering DeVonta Smith. Jonathan Jones is excellent in the slot. But Jalen Mills is better suited in the slot or at safety. Ditto for Myles Bryant.
Safety is in good shape. Joshuah Bledsoe will get a red-shirt season. Malik Gant has been terrific after signing last week. Special teams’ questions will center around if Nick Folk comes off of PUP this week, is Joe Cardona going to be healthy enough for Week 1? And how many specialists will they carry? Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel, Cody Davis are locked, but what about Bolden and Brandon King?
This should prove to be an interesting week.
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Bills Secondary, Named 2nd Best in the League:
Sharp Football has the Buffalo Bills’ secondary as the 2nd best in the NFL in a recent post. One of the hallmarks of the team has been the play of the defense since head coach Sean McDermott has taken over. And it starts with a talented secondary.
Sharp Football mentioned the outstanding safety duo of the Bills stating, “Tre’Davious White, who allowed -0.16 EPA per target in 2020, anchors our second-ranked secondary, which returns every starter including one of the league’s best safety duos in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.”
If the Bills are #2 in Sharp’s analysis, who is #1? Baltimore.
Good to see Mitch Tribusky go back to Chicago and play well yesterday. He seems like a good fit for Josh Allen’s backup.
Miami’s WR Room Is Deep But Banged Up:
The Miami Dolphins have a slew of talent at wide receiver and have size, speed, and athleticism. But as deep as they are with DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson, Jaylen Waddle, Lynn Bowden Jr., Preston Williams, Malcolm Perry, Will Fuller, Mack Hollins, Allen Hurns, Isaiah Ford, Robert Foster, Kirk Merritt, and Kai Locksley, they are banged up with Parker just coming off of PUP and Williams still not having passed his physical and Fuller having participated in just half of one practice.
Parker has played a full 16-game slate just once in his career. Fuller has never played more than 14 games since entering the league in 2016. Williams is the same. All are talented and now hurt again. Lynn Bowden went down with a hamstring issue but an MRI revealed a strain, not a tear. So, their depth is compromised.
However, QB Tua Tagovailoa is worried. “I don’t think it is a concern. For me, I think the most important thing for them is their health and making sure that they’re right because if they’re not healthy then that’s going to be a concern. We won’t have any of those guys to come out and play with. It gives a lot of opportunity to the other guys,” said Tagovailoa.
“For me to get work with them and for them to also experience the different looks, the coverages. Whereas a lot of the veterans who are injured, they’ve seen a lot of that. We’re all still in the same room, we’re all still in the same meetings communicating and talking through that. I don’t think it’s a concern at all.”
Jets Carl Lawson Out for the Season with an Achilles Tear:
The New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson, the team’s big free-agent signing from free agency this spring, will miss the 2021 season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon on Thursday.
The injury happened during a joint practice between the Jets and Green Bay Packers at the Packers’ facility. Several players took knees and the practice fell ominously quiet as medical personnel tended to Lawson. Lawson signed a three-year, $45 million-dollar deal with the Jets that has $30 million fully guaranteed.
Lawson had been the Jets’ best player during training camp and seem poised for a big season and lending some big-time help to a pass rush that sorely needed it after 2020.
The Jets also lost safety Zane Lewis, who suffered a season-ending injury during the joint practice after he tore a patella tendon and sprained an MCL.
“Well, again, it’s all of us. With Joe, without Joe, there’s still an element of timing and consistency that we can all do better. I don’t think we’re where we’re going to be or where we need to be but everybody’s working at it and we’ve had some moving parts there. But that’s part of it too, is working with different people and so forth, so that’s actually a good thing in the long run, even though in the short run, it probably affects the overall performance and consistency.
“But again, I felt the good part of last night was, we got those things straightened out later in the game and the ball went through. The bad thing is we left five points on the field that we should’ve had, so we’re going to go back to work and learn from the experience and hopefully, Joe will be able to participate, and he can get back into it as well, but the time he missed, he’s going to have some work to do as well. Just as an entire unit there we have to, and that team only goes on the field for one reason. So, success and failures couldn’t be more clear-cut. We’ve got to get the ball through the uprights, so obviously we need some work on it..”
Bill Belichick’s comments when asked about if the special teams kicking game looks different without Joe Cardona.
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Cam Newton Mac Jones Miami Dolphins N'Keal Harry New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Stephon Gilmore