Last Thursday marked the end of the Patriots’ preseason as they played the New York Giants and lost 40-38. There was activity during the game as well as after; most of it being bad. However, as per usual, there were a few key players that stood out during this last game.
Stephen Gostkowski helped keep the Patriots in the game Thursday night. He was 5-of-5 for extra point kicks and 1-of-1 for field goals. Gostkowski pulled the Patriots back into the game at the end of the fourth quarter with a 55-yard field goal that put them ahead 38-37. This was the second longest field goal attempt of his career. Gostkowski made the final roster and is expected to be the starting kicker for his 12th year as a pro. Aside from one off practice early in the preseason, Gostkowski looks as good as ever.
With five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, Devin Lucien was one of the better performers in Thursday’s game. Two of his more notable catches consisted of a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter as well as a needed catch late in the fourth quarter. However, Lucien’s steadily increasing performance was not enough to woo coach Bill Belichick. On Saturday, Lucien was cut from the roster and moved to be waived; and no team would take him.
Instead, Lucien is headed back to the Patriots as part of their injured/reserved squad. This means that he won’t be able to play or practice for the first 8 weeks of the regular season. Lucien has been downgraded, seeing as last year he was at least part of their practice squad. However, he is still trending up because, at the very least, he’s improving as a receiver and remaining on the Patriots’ team.
Although there isn’t much coverage on his play, Austin Carr had yet another great preseason game. Carr was 3-of-3 for 48 yards and a touchdown even though he only played in the first half and a little of the second. Later in the week, Carr was put on waivers as he was cut from the team. The New Orleans Saints were lucky enough to snatch him first and he will most likely be an active participant on the team.
The decision to cut Carr most likely came from the observation that he’s “too slow to be an NFL wide receiver”. However, Carr can be compared to fellow Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. They both have the ability to catch passes most other players can’t and, frankly, they appear to be the same speed. Bill Belichick’s decision to cut Carr will be tested when the two teams match up in the second game of the regular season.
Critics are giving Jacoby Brissett praise for his performance Thursday night. Brissett was probably the best of the worst for what it’s worth. Overall, he was 28-of-39 passes for one interception and four touchdowns. These stats are exceptionally better than those from his previous games, yet he still lacks the mindset of a true quarterback. Many times, Brissett would have a receiver open and hesitate to throw. Instead go for a shorter, safer pass for less yardage. Other times, he would take too long to throw and end up having to run out of bounds to avoid being sacked.
Brissett threw two back-to-back passes in the fourth quarter that would have been interceptions had the Giants’ players been able to hold onto the ball. Brissett lacks the instinct of a good quarterback and Belichick sees it too. Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett just a few days ago. Rumors regarding Brissett’s potential to take over the Brady legacy can finally be put to rest.
Cyrus Jones had a rocky start to his NFL career and things just took a turn for the worst. During the second quarter of the game, Jones’ right leg buckled and he ended up tearing his ACL. In addition to partially tearing his meniscus. Jones has been ruled out for the entire 2017 season.
Considering Jones was next in line to be the Patriots’ primary punt returner (due to Julian Edelman’s injury) this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Jones was just starting to hit his stride as his preseason performance had gotten increasingly better, but now he will have to start from scratch. Now, what does Jones’ injury mean for the Patriots? Currently, there is no go-to-player to fill the vacant primary punt returner slot. Players like Cooks, Foster, and Amendola could be considered but might be considered too important to play that position. If Jones’ future with the NFL was in jeopardy before, that’s nothing compared to now.
Secondaries (Damarius Travis (S), David Jones (S), Kenny Moore (CB), Cyrus Jones (CB))
The few players listed above are simply the ones who started off the game, not the ones who played the worst. The entire Patriots defense sucked; and it wasn’t just one person, it was a team effort. Damarius Travis played the best of the worst defense with a forced fumble and recovery at the beginning of the game. Kenny Moore also had his ups and downs with some good pass coverage as well as allowing many third down completions.
As already discussed, Cyrus Jones didn’t get to showcase much due to his injury early in the game. And finally, David Jones gave up a handful of completions, including a pass which resulted in the Giants first touchdown of the game. These players all contributed to the terrible defense. Interestingly enough, every defensive player that saw a Giants’ snap was cut from the roster on Saturday. Following the waiver process, only two of these players were signed to the practice squad.
The preseason is finally over. Now that the 53 man roster has been determined, it’s time for the fun to begin. The Patriots’ quest for an unblemished season begins on Thursday and their first opponent will be the Kansas City Chiefs.