I know, I know. It is the Preseason. I get that most fans don’t watch or care about these games, luckily for you, I am not one of those people. I not only watch these games, I study them. I break these games down. I love it. I love watching the guys fighting for spots on the roster. I love watching how Belichick uses players. The Preseason isn’t always the prettiest Football, but it definitely is telling.
The 1st Preseason game had a lot to it. Basically anyone who played a role on the team last year didn’t even see the field. Which for some might be a bummer, but for me it was a great opportunity to get a look at the younger guys who are fighting for spots on this team. Jimmy Garoppolo started the game and after a slow start, really played well. His final numbers for the night were 22-28, 235 yards, 2 TD, zero INT.
Garoppolo was working with backups on the line and in the receiving core and still shined which is exactly what you want to see from the guy you passed on trading this offseason for multiple 1st round picks.
Talking about the receiving core, the other 2 stars of the night were Undrafted Free Agents WR Austin Carr (5 REC, 44 YDS, 1 TD) and TE Jacob Hollister (7 REC, 116 YDS). Both of them had great games for guys who are right on that roster bubble.
Since we just talked about the stars of the night for the Patriots, it now seems like a good time to talk about the duds. And without a doubt the biggest duds of the night were CB Cyrus Jones and K Stephen Gostkowski.
I honestly feel bad for Cyrus. The guy was the Patriots first draft pick last year and has all the talent in the world coming from powerhouse Alabama. However, after a shaky 1st season where he pretty much only touched the field as a returner, it seems like he is all messed up in the head. You can just tell this is all mental. And the same can be said about Gostkowski. They just can’t seem to get their minds straight and play to their physical ability. Jones got beat twice deep last night and it really did not look great.
Once again, I feel bad for Jones. I know he fumbled on the returns last season, but I thought there was a chance that he could show his worth this season as an option in the slot playing corner. However, this is not a great start.
Like I said, Gostkowski’s night wasn’t any better, as he missed another field goal from supposedly the same spot that he missed from a couple times this week in practice.
All in all, it was a good game for some of the key guys we were looking to play well in the game. It will be interesting if the Patriots, who have another week of join practices, take the same approach with their starters against the Texans Saturday. If the starters get plenty of reps again in these practices, it would not surprise me if Brady and Co. sit out another game before the “Dress Rehearsal” in the 3rd Preseason game.