Patriots Preseason Notebook: Penalties, Tight Coverage, and Bouncing Back

It was a roller coaster game for the Patriots as the team concludes the preseason. A night full of headaches caused by the New York Giants. Linebacker Blake Martinez ripped a-would be-fantastic Jakobi Meyers first down to end Cam Newton’s night. Mac Jones’ first couple of series featured heavy blitzing, tight coverage, and an endless number of penalties. Defensive back, Michael Jackson Sr. had a horrendous string of plays:

It started with a first down grab to Sterling Shepard on third-and-long, followed by a penalty on another third down, followed by another penalty at the goal line. New England recorded eight penalties tonight.

But with all adversity, one can only hope for a fiery response and the Patriots fired away. Matthew Judon demolishes his matchups , Josh Uche flies all over the field, and the backfield cannot be touched.

Bounce-Back Mac

It’s important that Jones continues to face distress with the second unit. Life would be much easier with the starting offensive line, Jonnu Smith, and the main wide receiver core. What Jones needs to show is the ability to elevate the players around him and he continues to do just that. After a frustrating end to the first half, Jones answers with a 6-play, 75 yard, 2:50 minute long touchdown drive. Jones followed that with another rhythmic scoring drive that featured beautiful back-shoulder throws to Devin Asiasi and Isaiah Zuber. His feet look strong and his feel in the pocket is special. Jones must get the ball out quicker more consistently, but it’s hard not to fall in love with the way he plays Patriot football.

The Ram and The Little Guy

Rookie Rhamandre Stevenson and second year J.J. Taylor are the most love-able duo this preseason. The two look completely untouchable when the ball is in their hands. Stevenson continued his touchdown streak to a total of five touchdowns in three games. He displays a smooth ability to move past the sticks, even teasing potential in the passing game. Taylor, however, has been an all-purpose machine in August: recording 51 yards returning, 14 yards receiving, and 76 yards in rushing. The two backs surely earned significant snaps moving forward.

As the 3-0 New England Patriots wrap up the preseason, there is more the team can produce. For instance, besides Jakobi Meyers, there has been little representation of the starting passing attack. With Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Nelson Agholor all banged up this summer, the offense has not even scratched the surface.

There will still be growing pains with this new team as everyone gets to know each other. From a defensive standpoint, the only main concern is Stephon Gilmore. Whether it is about health or money, Gilmore needs to see the field and time is ticking. If Gilmore starts the season on the PUP list, he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Even if he isn’t the DPOY Stephon Gilmore, it is in New England’s best interest to have No. 24 on Sundays.

The Patriots open up their NFL season on September 12th, 4:25pm vs the Miami Dolphins.

(Photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

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