There were a ton of positives to take away from the New England Patriots’ win over the Eagles, so there is plenty of “up” players to call out. However, as always, no game is perfect, so I will be pointing out a few players who’s stock is trending down. Here we go.
On a day where Mallett was the third quarterback on the field, he may have played the best (relatively speaking). Mallett was confident, and aware in the pocket, he made some ridiculous throws, and even added a rushing touchdown to his stats. Mallett really needed to have a good game yesterday, because in the eyes of many, rookie Jimmy Garoppolo was gaining ground on Mallett in the race for the second quarterback spot. But after last night, I think Mallett has restored a decent lead over the rookie.
Speaking of Garoppolo, let’s give him some love. He followed up a great performance against Washington with another solid outing last night, tossing two touchdowns on his way to a 108.3 pass rating night. As I just mentioned, Garoppolo is trying to pass Mallett as the second quarterback on the depth chart, and if he continues to put together games like this, he may eventually get there.
The competition for the fourth running back spot is heating up. It is a three-way race right now, and while there is no clear cut winner, Jonas Gray definitely helped his case last night. He carried the ball 12 times for 98 yards, consistently making positives plays. Gray is a powerful back, but also flashed some explosion, which surprised me. Keep an eye out for this kid as roster cuts loom.
Another day, another impressive performance for Butler. He was solid in coverage all night, and was also in on two forced fumbles, one of which he recovered himself. There is no way the Patriots can cut this kid based on the way he has been playing, and I honestly think he could get a few meaningful snaps over the course of the next few months.
Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer
It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a hell of a lot better than last week for these two giants. It is important that Tom Brady has good protection this season, and it all starts with the two tackles. I was getting worried after seeing them struggled against Washington, but they bounced back nicely last night. Hopefully they can continue to build on this momentum moving forward.
He didn’t put up the gaudy stats that he put up against the Skins, but Tyms continues to impress. His ability to go up and make a play in the end zone is something that the Patriots desperately need, and while he won’t be one of Tom Brady’s weapons this year, I think he is making a strong case to possibly land a spot on the practice squad. If he can’t help out the Pats this season, maybe they can develop him for a year, and throw him into the rotation in 2015. Regardless of what happens in the future, it will be fun to see what he can do throughout the remainder of the preseason. (Plus that Randy Moss celebration after his 17 yard touchdown grab was awesome).
This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite Patriots. He is tough, he does what the team asks, and he always brings in a few awesome catches out of the backfield. He will definitely be on this final roster.
A blocked punt, a dropped punt by Ryan Allen, and a missed field goal. Just an awful day for this special-teams unit. Usually the Patriots excel in this department, always gaining some sort of competitive edge with solid execution in this area. Thankfully, this mishap was in a preseason game, so they have time to correct their mistakes. On a similar note, I think Tyler Otts sealed his fate with a missed block on that blocked punt. Danny Aiken will be the Pats’ long-snapper this year.
As usual, Chung brought a physical edge to the secondary, but was out of position in coverage a few times, and should have been called for a penalty on a high hit to a defenseless Eagles receiver. He is still in the thick of the safety battle, but he didn’t do himself any favors in this game.
Maneri won’t be around much longer after what happened yesterday. It really isn’t his fault, as he has only been in Foxboro for a few days, but the tight end position is a revolving one for New England, and Maneri will find himself on the outside looking in very shortly.
Do I really need to explain this one?