Digging Deeper: Analyzing Preseason Game One –New England Patriots vs Green Bay Packers

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Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) is tackled by New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) and strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


The Patriots got a long look at linebacker Jonathan Freeny who came over from Miami. Freeny was primarily a special teams performer for the Dolphins and led the Patriots with nine tackles–all in the first half. The Packers targeted Freeny in coverage of backs and tight ends as he gave up five receptions on eight targets for 47 yards (per ProFootballFocus.com–subscription required).

Speaking of coverage, there were a mixed bag of coverage as the Patriots were attacked through the air. Second year linebacker James Morris got toasted by running back James Starks who went for 22 yards past him. In the secondary, rookie seventh round draft pick got a taste of the NFL covering Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson before injuring his wrist or hand and leaving the game.

Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Bradley Fletcher (24) defends against Green Bay Packers wide receiver Myles White (19) during the first half in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran Bradley Fletcher got a long look on defense but acquitted himself well covering Davante Adams and Myles White primarily. Safety Tavon Wilson got a long look as well but seemed to have been targeted repeatedly in the passing game in the second half. Rookie second round draft pick Jordan Richards made some plays in coverage forcing the quarterback to look elsewhere on the field.

Logan Ryan was a mixed bag showing some decent coverage ability at times (covering Jordy Nelson at one point early) but struggled at times as well. Per PFF, Ryan gave up three receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown being targeted six times. He was called for defensive holding and Adams should have had a touchdown catch which he dropped while covered by Ryan. Undrafted rookie Jimmy Jean gave up a 31 yard completion and then his facemask penalty negated a sack.

Veteran slot receiver Robert McClain had some nice plays in coverage early in the game. He did end up allowing three catches for 44 yards on six targets, but being beaten by Randall Cobb is something that happened to the best of cornerbacks last year. Malcolm Butler played just 15 snaps along with starting safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty, a clear sign that those three are already locked in as starters in the secondary.

Next: The Pass Rush on Defense