Patriots-Bears Takeaways: Rookie Guard Joe Thuney Erases Pass Rushers


August 19, 2016

The New England Patriots’ offense couldn’t get off to a fast start for the second straight preseason game, but they still showed vast improvement Thursday in their 23-22 win over the Chicago Bears.

Jimmy Garoppolo completed 16 of 21 passes for 181 yards with one touchdown, and he received a lot of help from his offensive line, most notably third-round pick Joe Thuney.

Thuney continued to look like the Patriots’ best offensive lineman Thursday. See how the Patriots fared in the passing game on offense and defense.

Geneo Grissom: QB hit, five hurries
Trey Flowers: half-sack, three hurries
Anthony Johnson: 1/2 sack, three hurries
Chris Long: two hurries
Rufus Johnson: two hurries
Kevin Snyder: QB hit
Vincent Valentine: QB hit
Elandon Roberts: QB hit

— Grissom led the team with six total pressures, which certainly is impressive. It’s worth noting they came against reserves, and he spent more time on the field than starters Flowers, Johnson and Long.

— Flowers looks like a star in the making this preseason. He had a similarly impressive game last Thursday, but he didn’t start. Flowers played the entire time against the Bears’ first-team unit and looked like a starter himself.

— Johnson came out of nowhere and was highly productive in obvious passing snaps. He potentially could fill the role left void by Dominique Easley’s release.

Jordan Richards: two catches on two targets, 75 yards
Justin Coleman: 4-5, 52 yards
E.J. Biggers: 2-3, 34 yards, TD allowed
Malcolm Butler: 2-3, 11 yards, PBU
Patrick Chung: 1-1, 11 yards, two-point conversion allowed
Darryl Roberts: 1-6, 9 yards, three PBUs, two-point conversion allowed
Jamie Collins: 1-1, 8 yards
Cre?Von LeBlanc: 2-4, 6 yards
Dont?a Hightower: 1-1, 4 yards
Anthony Johnson: PBU Rufus Johnson: PBU
Cyrus Jones: 0-2, INT

— Richards allowed a 52-yard reception to tight end Rob Housler after letting up a catch then missing a tackle.

— Coleman had a tough time against Alshon Jeffery early in the game after drawing the start opposite Butler.

— Butler made a fantastic play, showing his ability to stop on a dime on his pass breakup.

— LeBlanc made a fantastic read on a screen, stopping Darrin Peterson for a loss of a yard.

— Jonathan Jones wasn’t targeted, but he played far fewer snaps this week than against the Saints.

Cameron Fleming: .5 sack, three hurries
Marcus Cannon: three hurries
Nate Solder: three hurries
Josh Kline: two hurries
Jacoby Brissett: sack
AJ Derby: 1/2 sacks
Jon Halapio: 1/2 sack
Keavon Milton: 1/2 sack
Cameron Fleming: hurry
Chris Barker: hurry
LaAdrian Waddle: hurry
Steven Scheu: hurry
Ted Karras: hurry

— The Patriots really, really miss Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. Patriots fans have to be hoping they’re playing it safe by keeping the starting right tackle on PUP for so long.

— Joe Thuney, Bryan Stork and David Andrews didn’t allow any pressures. Thuney has been absolutely impenetrable at left guard. He’s also showing good awareness.

— Kline allowed a couple hurries but overall played better as a starter than Mason did at right guard last week.

We tracked Jimmy Garoppolo’s incompletions:
1. Thrown behind Dobson/drop
2. Thrown behind Derby
3. Throwaway
4. Thrown high to Hogan
5. Didn’t see linebacker, near-interception

— It’s time to take AJ Derby’s bid for a roster spot seriously, if we haven’t already. He’s outplaying Clay Harbor. Harbor offers more experience and versatility, however.

— Chris Hogan was solid in his first game with the Patriots. He was called for holding and had to double-clutch a catch, but finished the night with four catches for 53 yards.

— Running backs James White and Tyler Gaffney showed solid hands and the ability to generate tough yards after the catch.

— Devin Lucien had a tough night. He hauled in two passes out of bounds and dropped a deep ball from Jacoby Brissett that didn’t count because he also committed pass interference.

— Jimmy Garoppolo’s two-minute drill deserves special attention. Not only was he precise but also quick. The Patriots averaged just 12 seconds per play, and they took just one time out with two incompletions.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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