The Expatriated Patriots Fan: Views and news from outside New England.
LANDOVER, MD – AUGUST 07th:
After 3 days of joint practice with the Washington Redskins, during which the Patriots had shown the ability to move the ball almost at will against Washington’s frequently winded defense, the Pats and Skins faced off for their week one preseason joust. Unfortunately for Patriots fans, it featured mostly second string players, in what turned out to be a 20-6 Washington romp.
In what many believe to be a move designed to attract trade suitors, Ryan Mallet started, while Tom Brady watched from the sidelines for the
entire night. If it was a trade gambit, it didn’t pay off as Mallet failed to impress against the Washington first string, and wasn’t particularly sharp against their second string either.
Despite working against the second string for over a quarter, Mallet managed only 5 completions (of 12) for 55 yards. His first pass attempt was a completion to Brandon LaFell, but it was called back do to holding by Nate Solder. A number of his subsequent passes sailed high or went into the dirt, and the targeted receiver was not always obvious.
With Vince Wilfork only playing one series, and many defensive starters, such as Jerod Mayo and newly acquired star Darrelle Revis not playing at all, Washington was able to move the ball much more easily, despite Robert Griffin III only playing one series. New Acquisition Brandon Browner, who will be suspended for the first four game of the season, did make his debut, and showcased his aggressive style with a 15 yard person foul for unnecessary roughness.
The story of the game may have been the debut of 2nd round pick, Jimmy Garoppolo,
who managed to connect on 9 of 15 passes for 157 yards, and perhaps to a lesser extent, the emergence of his favorite target, Brian Tyms, who led all receivers with 119 yards on 5 receptions. Garoppolo looked much more decisive and accurate than Mallet throughout the second half. Of course, by then he was playing mostly against a mixture of third stringers and undrafted rookies, so it might be early to coronate him just yet. However, in the opportunities he was given, he looked good. (In contrast to his shaky performance in limited reps in Richmond)
On the Washington side, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy combined for over 17 completions and over 200 yards, while a wide variety of rushers for the Skins totaled over 170 yards on the ground.
As a Patriots fan, the only benefit to the game was that our visitor side seats allowed my wife to get a number of good pictures of the numerous Patriots starters standing idle on the sidelines. Of course, given the ravages the injury bug inflected on this team last year, a little caution in the preseason is something I can’t truly be upset with, despite my desire to see the Patriots first string in action again, especially their revamped secondary. It’s likely we won’t truly get to see the Patriots in action until game 3 of the preseason, which is traditionally viewed as more of a scrimmage then the other games.
Despite the poor showing, fans should keep in mind that the preseason is often a poor predictor of regular season performance. Last year the Redskins won more games in the preseason (four) than they managed to win in the regular season. (Three) So don’t panic before the regular season gets here. Until then, this reporter, and all the other fans will have to continue to wait and hope.