EAST RUTHERFORD, Mass. — A week of hard work paid off in a big way Thursday for New England Patriots newcomer Barkevious Mingo.
Acquired last Thursday in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, Mingo was a defensive dynamo in his Patriots debut, finishing with six tackles and generally making New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib’s life miserable in New England’s preseason finale at MetLife Stadium.
“It’s a new team, and these guys want to see what I can do,” Mingo said. “I want to see what I can do in this defense.”
The 25-year-old linebacker/defensive end hybrid sat out the first three defensive series but played the remainder of the game, and it did not take long for him to make an impact. He wrapped up running back Orleans Darkwa on his second defensive snap, strip-sacked Nassib on his third and, after a Patriots penalty negated the loss, teamed with Justin Coleman to force another fumble on the very next play.
Lining up at inside linebacker, outside linebacker and edge rusher, Mingo also notched two other quarterback hits and, in one particularly impressive display of strength and athleticism, manhandled Giants tackle Bobby Hart to drop running back Paul Perkins in the backfield.
It was as impressive of a performance as the Patriots could have hoped for out of the former top-10 draft pick, who still has yet to return to Cleveland, the city he called home for the last three-plus years, since the trade.
“He lived in the (Patriots’) facility for the last week,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the game, which the Giants won 17-9. “He didn’t go back to Cleveland. He came from Tampa, where (the Browns) were practicing, went to Carolina, came back with us. When players had an off-day, he spent the whole day in the facility with the coaches, going through material to get caught up. He showed a lot of commitment to trying to pick up the new information, understand what we were doing and watching film. …
“It’s obviously going to be a work in progress here. It’s only been a week. But he’s smart, he learns well, and he works hard, so check all those boxes.”
As we’ve mentioned on multiple occasions this summer, placing too much stock in one preseason game is foolish. The Patriots won’t be playing against many Ryan Nassibs this year, of course, and most teams won’t have their best wide receiver watching from the sideline, as Odell Beckham Jr. was Thursday night.
But if Mingo can even come close to matching this type of production once the real games begin next Sunday, the Patriots’ already-formidable defense could border on frightening this season.
GIF via Pats Pulpit
Thumbnail photo via Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images
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