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Patriots News 8-20, Thoughts On The Preseason Packers’ Game

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
August 20, 2023 at 6:47 am ET

Patriots News 8-20, Thoughts On The Preseason Packers’ Game(PHOTO: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
Posted: Aug 20, 2023 06:47
🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Good morning, and here are our Sunday Patriots news 8-20 and notes for this week. 

The second preseason is in the books but it didn’t end the way either team wished to see it end, after the scary injury to Isaiah Bolden. We’ll add more to this below. He’s spending the night in a Green Bay hospital for observation, but all of our thoughts are with him today. 

Quick Hitters For the Patriots and NFL News: 

DeVante Parker: The Patriot wide receiver has had a good summer and has been a frequent target of Mac Jones. However, he is frequently mentioned as one of the worst receivers in the league at gaining separation against opposing defensive backs.

However, Patriots’ WR coach Troy Brown was asked by MassLive’s Chris Mason about this and then said he’s not taking much stock in it. “I didn’t know there was a stat in the league that kept track of separation, so I don’t really understand that part of it. When I came into the league, it was two things: Get open and catch the ball,” Brown said. “So that’s all that really matters to me. If you can do those things, I don’t really keep up with the rest of it.”

“DeVante has always been a receiver that’s been pretty explosive, even down in Miami,” Brown said. “Made some big plays down there for his football team as well. He’s making some plays down the field here in camp. Hopefully, he can continue to do that as the season goes on for us.”

Keion White: The very talented rookie edge player was banged up during the joint practices this week, but he has impressed his coach Jerod Mayo and NFL film analyst Brian Baldinger. Mayo told NBC Sports Boston that the 6’5, 290 lb White has terrific athleticism for a man his size and is improving daily. 

Baldinger, whose video breakdowns are always outstanding, used White’s first NFL game tape to look at how well the rookie is playing. Citing sound fundamentals, Baldy had this to say: 

Malik Cunningham: The Patriots’ WR/QB set tongues wagging a week ago after his performance against the Texans in the final minutes of the game. He has excited fans and teammates with his playmaking ability. 

WR Juju Smith-Schuster raved about his rookie teammate this week after the joint practices against the Packers.  “That dude is electric,” Smith-Schuster said to assembled media members. “When the football’s in his hands as a quarterback, he’s a very dangerous player.”

Chase Winovich: The former Patriot edge player was back in Gillette for the Texans on Thursday night and played well, notching two QB hits and a sack. But it was intriguing to see him playing late into the first preseason game. Afterwards, he was saying all the right things and professed his pleasant memories of being here. 

Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t listened to our PatsFans.com podcast, Patriots 4th & 2”, in a bit, please check it out. Patriots 4th & 2 has expanded. 

Derek Havens and I spoke about the practice sessions now that the pads had come on and gave our take on how things are progressing. Russ Goldman has been recording some of his own takes in short 15-20 podcasts solo on camp thus far.    

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame, and the fact that especially Francis isn’t is an absolute travesty. Francis and the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens. 

Quick Thoughts On Preseason Game #2 —

The Patriots and Packers decided to suspend the game after rookie DB Isaiah Bolden was carted off the field on a stretcher with 10:29 left in the game and the Patriots ahead 21-17. Bolden was hit by his own teammate (Calvin Munson) and lay motionless on the field. We’re hoping for the best for him, as it didn’t look good when the play happened. 

A statement by the Patriots said that Bolden had feeling in all of his extremities as he was taken to a local Green Bay hospital. 

Bill Belichick later said, “I think the last situation kind of in the bigger picture overrode the game, so we’ll all say a prayer for Isaiah (Bolden). We just released a statement with that, right, so that’s all the information. That’s the updated information that we have. I appreciated the way the league handled it. I think that was the right thing to do. 

“Also saying a prayer for some of our players with their close friends and relatives in Hawaii that are going through some stuff out there. That’s really the bigger picture of it here. Kind of regroup and talk about the game later, but that’s kind of where things are right now. Competitive game, competitive week. Good week against Green Bay; just unfortunate what happened there at the end. Hopefully, they say he’ll be alright, and that’s really about all I’ve got.”

Up And Down Start For the Offense: Mac Jones and the starting unit saw its first preseason action and scored a touchdown on their first possession. After recovering a bad snap that sailed over Packers’ QB Jordan Love’s head at the Green Bay 21, Mac Jones led the team quickly to a touchdown. 

Mixing in some nice throws to Kendrick Bourne on the sideline and a nice 13-yard slant, Rhamondre Stevenson then powered in from the one to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead. 

Then the offensive line woes again surfaced, with Jones taking a sack to end one drive and a strip-sack ending the third drive. That was the end of Jones’ night, and he gave way to Bailey Zappe. Jones played well, going 6-9 for 52 yards in his debut leading Bill O’Brien’s offense. 

Bourne’s Hot Start Was Encouraging: Kendrick Bourne was a key part of the offense’s hot start to the evening. He had three nice catches for 34 yards in the first couple of drives, which was encouraging to see from both a team and personal standpoint. 

This was the Bourne we saw two years ago before he ended up in Matt Patricia’s doghouse. He had the aforementioned two catches on the first drive and then highpoint a catch from Jones that saw him elevate over the defender.  He also threw a very good block that opened the door for Stevenson’s 23-yard run.

Bourne isn’t a #1 type of WR, but his speed and playmaking ability give the team another solid #2 option that gives the offense more versatility. He can play outside or inside from the slot and can block. 

Defense Was Only So-So: The Patriots’ defense pounced on an early turnover but was gashed by Jordan Love on a subsequent drive, where he picked them apart on a touchdown drive that was finished on a 19-yard catch by Jayden Reed for the score. 

They were then gashed on the ground by the Packers, capped off by a Patrick Taylor eight-yard TD run, where Josh Uche lost containment on the edge. It wasn’t a great night for a defense that is supposed to be one of the better units in the league. 

Situational football at the end of the half was lacking as well, giving up a field goal at the end of the half to give the Packers a 17-14 lead. 

Kayshon Boutte Makes a Case For The 53: The rookie WR from LSU is certainly making a case for making the 53-man roster. He’s been piecing together solid days of practice and a solid performance in the game at Lambeau Field. 

At the end of the first half, facing a 2nd and 10 from the Packers’ 42-yard line, Bailey Zappe fired a laser to Boutte, who had clear separation on a slant, and he raced 42 yards for a tying score. 

With Tyquan Thornton hurt again, Boutte right now is the better, more productive player and gives the coaches the option of keeping six WRs. This next week with the Titans will be a big one for the rookie. 

______________

“Coach asked me what I thought, and I told him, and he made a decision that he thought was best for everyone involved. I thought it was the right decision,” said Slater, who added. “When you have an injury like that it affects a lot of guys in a lot of different ways. Clearly, our team is shaken by what happened. … That was tremendous leadership by him. That was one of the proudest moments I’ve had as a guy who has now played for him for 16 years.

“All of us, regardless of profession, we think we’re supposed to go about our day and things are supposed to happen the way they’re supposed to happen then we come back home and then go do it again the next day,” he said. “It’s easy to take things for granted and assume a certain outcome. I think we all need to realize how blessed well are and live our lives with a certain amount of gratitude. Tonight is a reminder of that. I hope that’s something we never take for granted.

“It’s a reminder of the fragility of life,” Slater added. “It’s not something we spend a lot of time thinking about. The reality is all of us are going to have to wrestle with that at some point and time – every person that’s ever walked the face of the earth. It’s unfortunate that it happens in this context and this setting.”

Patriots captain Matthew Slater on the situation regarding the injury to Isaiah Bolden.

_______________

“Talent sets the floor; Character sets the ceiling.” Bill Belichick

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis

 

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: Bill Belichick Isaiah Bolden Kayshon Boutte Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Matthew Slater New England Patriots

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