Pre-season game 3 Preview
Here is a preview of the game Friday night and what I will be looking for.
The Patriots have had two productive days of practice against the Raiders, an obviously superior team at this time. I want to see how the Patriots respond after they were knocked around by Las Vegas. I hope we get to see the starters of both teams for a good baseline of where the team is at. I would like to see the Pats starters play through the 1st half and come out and start the 2nd half. They need the reps and experience the halftime break and come out after sitting around for a while.
Offensive Line – is the #1 concern right now. I have heard that Trent Brown’s absence last Friday night was not a veteran being given the night off. He was being disciplined for lack of hustle in practice. His lackadaisical practice habits, such as breaking out of the huddle and not snapping up to the line. Brown takes his sweet time getting there. When motivated, Brown is a Pro Bowl-caliber, dominant player. What is going on at both Tackle positions? Yodny Cajuste has played well and appears to be in line to start. If he can start then Michael Owenu can go back to guard. Isaiah Wynn is rumored to be on the trading block. He is coming back from being injured again and I don’t expect to see him in the game unless they are showcasing him for another team. Who will win the backup spots? Kody Russey has looked good at Center. James Ferentz is a wily veteran and reliable player. Will Sherman is pushing Arlington Hambright for the backup OG position. What about Justin Herron? The Wynn status makes a difference for Herron.
Mac Jones – I am hoping we see Jones play into the 1st series of the 2nd half. Last Friday against Carolina Jones was way off, the worst that I have seen him play. Yes, he dropped a dime to Nelson Agholor on a beautiful play, but that was it! After a bad practice on Tuesday, they played much better on Wednesday. Can Jones continue that improvement on Friday night?
Defense vs a good Offense – last week the Pats’ D dominated a weak Carolina Offense (192 yards of total offense). They are perhaps the worst in the league. Las Vegas is another story. They are elite and under the tutelage of Josh McDaniel could be a very strong contender this year. Davante Adams is one of the top three receivers in the league. He is uncoverable at times.
- Patriots’ secondary vs Carr and Raiders Receivers – It appeared that the Raiders had an upper hand this week in practice. The patriots secondary played better on Wednesday’s practice. We will find out real quick if there is some true improvement over the defense that couldn’t get off the field against the Bills last year. I have seen Jarrett Stidham play twice already this pre-season and that is not the same Quarterback that played for the Patriots! He looked more like Jason Stidham in one of his action movies!
- Defensive Line vs Raiders rushing game – This seems to be the Patriots’ biggest area of improvement. Can they continue to show improvement and depth against a quality opponent? Another player to keep an eye on is RB Zamir White. The 6’ 215 lb. running back out of Georgia ran a 4.40 40 at the combine and helped lead Georgia to the National Championship. He has already displaced Kenyan Drake (who was released this week) and is the #2 running back on the team behind Josh Jacobs.
- Special Teams – There are roster spots to be claimed this week and some of those will depend upon who is playing Special Teams. UDFA Brenden Schooler appears to be a lock to make the team as a Special Teams ace. WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey not only leads the team with 11 receptions in the pre-season games but also made a highlight reel play on special teams last week, keeping a punt from going into the end zone for a touchback. Can he replace a gunner like Justin Bethel while adding depth at three positions (WR/TE/ST)?
Former Patriots Everywhere – Brandon Bolden is the leader of the ex-pats alumni club of Nevada! Isaiah Zuber, Jakob Johnston, Jermaine Eluemunor, and Duron Harmon are all expected to play Friday night.
These are reposts of accounts from the leading reporters that are in Las Vegas reporting on the two joint practice
8/22 Practice in Las Vegas
- Henry, Wynn, Bourne, and Herron were back at practice – Phil Perry
- Multiple teams have talked to NE about trading for Wynn – Albert Breer
- Not spotted Thornton, Wilkerson, Langi, and Perkins
- 90-minute practice in shells and shorts at ¾ speed
- Lots of work 11-on-11
- The team is staying 10 miles away from the Vegas strip
- The team worked on screen passes a lot
- Red Zone fade pass to Smith for TD to the Birthday Boy
- Simulated 2 min, Meyers on two straight dig routes
- Tavai picked off Hoyer
- Peppers pulled up on a hit or he would have crushed his own teammate
- Bourne was back working with the first unit today
- Will Sherman is making a late push to make the team
8/23 Joint Practice
- Greg Bedard had this to say – Raiders are dominating both sides of the ball
- 1st three plays, run stuff, run stuff, and a sack
- Jones 5-9 in 7-on-7s
- Henry caught the only throw downfield
- The offense looks defeated coming off the field
- Carr sliced up the secondary in 7-on-7s
- Adams is unfair in trying to cover
- Jones picked off in 2 min drill – was visibly upset and pacing the sideline
- Evan Lazar posted these tweets – Jon Jones had a PBU on Adams after he was beaten twice by Adams
- Pats O struggled – One good completion on a shallow crossing pattern. A bunch of negative plays
- No more designated 3rd down back. D. Harris, Stevenson, and Montgomery are all capable
- Andrew Callahan stated – Mac was 7- 17 passing after the 2 min drill with the INT
- Lazar – Mills 0-3 against Adams in 1-on-1s, including 30 yd TD
- Zack Cox – Raiders have had the upper hand in every drill so far
- Lazar – pats D stops Raiders in 2 Min – Judon draws a hold and then gets a sack on back-to-back plays
- Pats Offense drives for a TD – Ontime throws to Meyers (3rd down) Parker, Bourne (TD). Jones was 6 of 7 on the drive
- Julian Edelman was at practice.
- Jabrill Peppers left practice with the medical staff
- Jahlani Tavai is becoming a leader on the team. Don’t forget that he was a former 2nd round pick that Detroit gave up on. He is going to make the team because of his position versatility and special teamwork. He started last week vs Carolina.
8/24 Joint Practice 2
- McDaniels said in his pre-practice press conference that the Patriots sideline was calling out the plays in the 2 min offense before the play was happening. It appears that McDaniel hasn’t changed his terminology enough that the Patriots coaches can’t pick it up.
- O-line winning 1-on-1s Wynn split, Brown over Chandler Jones, Owenu 2-0 with a clear win over Peko
- Mills bounces back against Adams with 2 wins in 1-on-1s.
- Bryant 2-4 with PBUs against Renfrow and Cole
- Jack Jones, Mitchell, and Bethel are all with PBUs
- In 11-on-11 Car was 4-5
- Adams in unbelievable
- Mac Jones 4-6 in 7-on-7 in the Red Zone
- Las Vegas O-line had the advantage in 1-on-1s
- Uche’s speed is standing out in this practice
- Mac Jones to Meyers with an over-the-shoulder catch for TD.
- That was the highlight of another tough day for the Offense
- Jones 20-25 in 11-on-11s, 4-9 in 7-on-7s
- Meyers had 3 TDs today
To get down to the 80-man limit Tuesday, the Patriots put injured Edge and 2021 3rd-round pick Ronnie Perkins on IR, ending his season. Some speculated the team was putting him on IR rather than releasing him at the 53-man cut down to avoid the embarrassment of cutting another poor draft choice.
The second transaction was placing Andrew Stueber on Reserve/ NFI, which means that he can come back after week 4. I don’t see that happening and it looks like Stueber is getting a red-shirt year. An interesting point is that the Patriots do not have to pay Stueber while he is on NFI. This was pointed out by PatsCap Miguel Benzan.
I was a big critic of the Perkins choice, a player they knew was hurt and couldn’t play last year. I wanted the Patriots to draft Quinn Meinerz OL from DIII Wisconsin-Whitewater. I had a disagreement with Evan Lazar on Meinerz. He played OG in college and self-taught himself to shotgun snap and play Center. The first time he played Center was at the Senior Bowl. He was the O-line Practice Player of the week as voted by his peers on the defensive line. Lazar said he was just a Center and we didn’t need a Center. Meinerz cracked the Denver lineup mid-season due to an injury and started at LG for the remainder of the season. He is penciled in as the starting RG this season. If we had him, then trading Mason would make more sense.
Cut Down Day Looming – the Cutdown day is Tuesday, August 30th at 4:00 EST. Every team needs to be down to 53 by then. Monday I will have my game observations and Tuesday my final 53-man Roster projection.
Posted Under: Patriots News