Every Preseason we all accept the fact that football is back but not back. Sure, we get to watch our favorite teams again yet are watching the second and third stringers. The bubble guys trying to make the roster and the guys that some people in the room are asking “who is that guy?”
This is especially true in week one of the preseason when quite literally none of the starting players get reps. Regardless, football is back to a certain degree and players on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball showed promise. As well as uncertainty for the defending Champions against the Jacksonville Jaguars last night. Let’s look at last night’s winners and losers.
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Jimmy G is getting yet another opportunity to showcase his starting potential for the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick decided against trading the 2014 second round pick for whatever reasons we can speculate. The one thing that is for certain is that the coaching staff and offense are all fans of the backup quarterback. Last night he again showed his promise as he has his eyes on an opportunity to start in this league. Going 22-for-28 for 235 yards and two touchdowns, he found the open receivers consistently and had a mistake free type of game. He will have three more opportunities to showcase his starting potential but his first game was impressive.
The undrafted free agent out of Northwestern continues to showcase his ability as he guns for an, at one point, unlikely roster spot. His numbers don’t jump out at you as he caught five passes for 44 yards but he caught an extremely impressive touchdown pass and showcased his agility more than one time. He still has a long way to go to make this team but he continues to impress.
This is a name that many may not have heard of but Karras is a backup guard in his second year for the Patriots. The offensive line did a phenomenal job of protecting Tom Brady last year but depth has always been an issue for the line. Karras showed a lot of stability protecting the quarterback last night and he will continue to come in handy in terms of depth as the season progresses. He only started one game last year but he looks to get a lot more time this year.
The most obvious loser of the night by far. As a whole, the Patriots did not play well at all and Jones had a large part in that. As a rookie last year, Belichick expected big things out of Jones as he got reps in the secondary as well as returning kicks. Unfortunately, he struggled when he got his reps and was notorious for fumbling kick offs, which diminished his playing time. He was excited to prove people wrong though this year but last night was a bad sign. Jones got burnt in the secondary several times. He looked a step behind consistently and there was plenty of memes on twitter of Belichick seeing him in practice. Let’s just say he will be under an even bigger microscope the rest of training camp.
Kony Ealy was an offseason pickup that was supposed to be a starter this year. He was thought to clog up the whole and was yet another masterful pickup by Belichick. That was the plan rather. Yet Ealy has struggled so far in training camp and after not playing much last night there is a reason to be concerned. Fans hope for the next Wilfork yet there is reason to fear for the next Albert Haynesworth. There is plenty of time before the season to still prove himself but so far not so good.
Roberts had a decent rookie campaign last year when you consider the fact that he was a 6th round pick. He played well for Patricia and was thought to be a sure fire player for the linebacking group this year. Again, that was the initial hope but he struggled mightily against the run last night and may have been passed by Jonathan Freeny on the depth chart. It remains to be seen what he will contribute this year but he has the talent to contribute.
There were several other winners and losers from both sides of the ball but these were the six that came to mind for me. If you have ones that you think I missed comment them down below. Onwards and upwards and let’s hope the winners continue to play well and the losers bounce back next week. Be sure to check out the winners and losers of every game this season for Cover32 Patriots.