Bill Belichick was in a complimentary mood during his Sunday afternoon chat with reporters.
Speaking on a conference call one day after his New England Patriots lost to the Houston Texans 27-23 in Week 2 of the NFL preseason, Belichick singled out four Patriots players for their performances against Houston: defensive ends Kony Ealy and Caleb Kidder, tight end James O’Shaughnessy and wide receiver Austin Carr.
Belichick’s praise came in response to a question about Ealy, who started and played 67 percent of New England’s defensive snaps in his second exhibition game as a Patriot.
“Kony played a lot of snaps,” the Patriots coach said. “Kidder played a lot of snaps. Both those ends got a lot of work. It was good for them. It was good for those guys — guys like O’Shaughnessy is another guy who got a lot of plays. Austin Carr got a lot of plays.
“So we were able to look at not only the plays that they had, but kind of the progress that they made over the course of the game, evaluate their conditioning, evaluate the consistency of their performance because they had an opportunity to do it over an extended period of time and over a lot of snaps.”
The Patriots were without defensive ends Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers on Saturday, resulting in the increased workloads for Ealy and Kidder (21 snaps; 33 percent). Hybrid linebacker Harvey Langi also was a workhorse against Houston, playing a team-high 49 defensive snaps (78 percent), plus another 21 on special teams.
Meanwhile, O’Shaughnessy (five catches, 41 yards) and Carr (three catches, 31 yards) both contributed in the passing game, though the former did have a fumble that rolled out of bounds. O’Shaughnessy is one of four players battling for a job as New England’s third tight end, and Carr is trying to crack the roster as a bottom-of-the-depth chart wide receiver.
“I thought that Kony and Kidder, O’Shaughnessy, Carr, guys like that that played a high number of snaps did some very positive things,” Belichick said. “Like everybody, there are things that could have been better and that they need to work on, but I thought they showed up positively a number of times.”
Belichick also gave a positive review of cornerback Cyrus Jones, who played well as a punt returner against the Texans.
“I thought Cyrus did a good job in the return game, both punts and kickoffs,” the coach said. “He ran hard, ran aggressively, made good decisions with and without the ball. And we had a couple of situations where the ball hit the ground or was going out of bounds. I thought he did a nice job.”
The Patriots have a date with the Detroit Lions this Friday before wrapping up the preseason at home against the New York Giants on Aug. 31.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images