The New England Patriots second preseason game was much like the first. The first team offense looked fluid and very in touch ad the first team defense held it own. The difference was separate playmakers on each side of the football really started to stand out. Let’s get right into it.
Tom Brady looked unstoppable again Friday night. He was 11-12 for 107 and a TD. His touchdown was to Danny Amendola, who we will discuss later. Brady has seemed to take a big liking to him though and constantly targeted him both drives he was in. Brady looks somewhat different this year. He just looks more in control than he did last year, but it is preseason so we shall see what happens.
Ryan Mallett looked a lot better than he did in the first game. he was 12-20 for 137 and a TD. The touchdown was to Zach Sudfeld on a pinpoint pass that had to be put right there and Sudfeld still made a ridiculous catch on the ball. We are all expecting big things from Mallett this preseason, but he hasnt shown it yet. Tonight was a good step for him though.
Tim Tebow looked downright disgraceful. That sounds harsh, but when you are 1-7 for negative-1 yards and an INT? You deserve it. I still think he’ll make the roster, but yikes.
Overall QB Grade: B+
Once again, this was the best offensive unit on the field. Stevan Ridley didn’t break off a 60 yard run, but he looked good nontheless. He seemed to be hole hunting and was extremely patient. When a hole opened up he exploded through it to usually get five-six yards. I said it last week, but he is going to have a huge year barring an injury.
Shane Vereen proved once again to not be a between the tackles runner, but one play they need to perfect with him is the draw play. If you go back to Danny Woodhead, that was his best play. He was a shoe-in for at least six yards every time he ran that play. Of course, what stood out tonight for Vereen was how lethal he is in the open field. He is so quick and shifty and don’t forget his great straight line speed, he was making guys miss all over the place.
We didn’t see a lot of Blount tonight, but when he was out there he ran hard and will always be a tough tackle. Brandon Bolden did look good though. He had a couple nice runs that showed off his power and unsuspecting speed. great night all around for the RBs once again
Overall RB Grade: A-
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
It was a little bit of a disappointing night for the rookie wide receivers. Boyce led them with three catches,but only had nine yards. Who really stood out tonight was Zach Sudfeld. He only had two catches, but it was really three. He had one in the back of the endzone where he had to go up and fight for the football on a two-point conversion. He then caught a beautiful touchdown from Mallett where the ball was hit out of his hands and then he dove and re-caught the ball! It was quite the athletic play for the big man. The on knock against him is that he still needs to imporve his blocking, but in time that should improve.
The star out of this core was Amendola. Him and Brady seemed to have a real connection tonight as he made six catches for 71 yards and a TD where he totally burned the coverage on a nice post route. If he stays healthy, watch out.
Overall WR Grade: B
When I do offensive line, I really focus on how the first unit looked and tonight they looked perfect. Brady didn’t have a finger layed on him and they gave Ridley some big holes to work with. When this offensive line is fully healthy, it is a Top-5 unit. Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer are all excellent lineman and should be great this year.
Overall OL Grade: A
The absolute 100-percent, undisputed MVPs of tonights game. The first team defensive line looked unstoppable tonight. Constantly getting into Freemans’ face and coming up with a whopping four sacks between them! On the second drive of the game, we saw the Chandler Jones we all expect this season. He hijacked the drive and reeked havok on every play. He was in the backfield on every snap, including a very nice sack where he bulldozed through the Bucs’ left tackle. On his other tackle for loss, he beat the tackle with a nice swim move and rapped up the ball-carrier three yards behind the line. This is the Chandler Jones we will see this season, constantly being the best defensive football player on the field.
Overall DL Grade: A
The stars of this core tonight were Brandon Spikes and Jamie Collins. Spikes had two sacks and looked great on the blitz. When he get a full head of steam, he is a tough man to slow down. My one worry with him is his blitzing on running plays. Multiple times did I see him blitz and leave a huge hole open in the defense if they got passed him. A tad worrisome, but I’m sure during the season someone will fill that hole.
Jamie Collins was great tonight. He had a couple of big hits in the run game and had a few great tackles after someone caught the ball. He looks like he could be a huge contributor in sub packages this year especially with his freak athleticism.
Overall LB Grade: B+
This group looked a lot better than it did last week. It played very well altogether with only a few hiccups. I want to point out how well Aqib Talib played. He was on Vincent Jackson at the start of the game and he didn’t have even one target. One person to point out was Logan Ryan. He had a very impressive pick-six where he read the quarterbacks eyes and made a great play on the ball. His constant improvement has been great this training camp and he should only continue to develop.
Overall Secondary Grade: A-
If there is one thing that needs fixing up, it is special teams. The kickoff coverage tonight gave up another big return and just didn’t look good out there as a whole. Also, Gostkowski has to stop missing kicks. Either that or its time to bring in a new kicker because he can’t leave points out there like that
Overall Special Teams Grade: C-
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back next week with anther game review!