Patriots-Lions Takeaways: Undrafted Rookie Dominates As Pass Rusher


Friday night’s preseason win over the Detroit Lions will be remembered by New England Patriots fans as the game Julian Edelman got injured, but it wasn’t all bad.

The Patriots’ offense excelled despite losing Edelman early in the first quarter. New England also received positive play from a pair of undrafted rookie defenders.

Here’s our full takeaway from the Patriots’ 30-28 preseason win over the Lions.

Cornerback Justin Coleman: 3-4, 65 yards
CB Cyrus Jones: 4-4, 44 yards
CB Eric Rowe: 2-4, 35 yards, interception, pass breakup
Strong safety Jordan Richards: 2-3, 32 yards, TD, fumble recovery
CB Malcolm Butler: 2-3, 31 yards, TD, forced fumble
Linebacker David Harris: 2-3, 25 yards, PBU
Free safety David Jones: 2-2, 15 yards, TD
CB Jonathan Jones: 2-2, 15 yards
LB Harvey Langi: 2-2, 14 yards
LB Trevor Bates: 1-1, 7 yards
FS Duron Harmon: 1-1, 3 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 1-2, 2 yards, PBU
CB Will Likely: 0-1
CB D.J. Killings: 0-1, PBU
SS Patrick Chung: 0-1, PBU
Defensive tackle Alan Branch: PBU

— Coleman had a down game after a stellar performance in the Patriots’ second preseason game. He’s still unlikely to make the roster.

— Two of Cyrus Jones’ completions allowed came on screens. There appeared to be some miscommunication between him and Malcolm Butler on the second.

— Rowe got lucky that Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones landed out of bounds on an incompletion. Rowe had an up-and-down day overall.

— Richards was used as a linebacker for the first time in his career. He just might not be athletic enough for the NFL. He missed a tackle on a touchdown by Lions running back Dwayne Washington.

— Butler forced a fumble but also gave up his second touchdown of the preseason.

— Gilmore has been sneaky excellent through two preseason games. He’s living up to his contract so far.

— Chung was laying the lumber and forced an incompletion with pure brutality.

DT Adam Butler: two QB hits, four hurries
Defensive end Kony Ealy: QB hit, three hurries
DT Lawrence Guy: QB hit, two hurries
LB Harvey Langi: three hurries
LB Kyle Van Noy: QB hit, hurry
DE Trey Flowers: two hurries
DT Alan Branch: sack
SS Damarius Travis: QB hit
LB David Harris: hurry
CB Stephon Gilmore: hurry
CB Cyrus Jones: hurry
DT Vincent Valentine: hurry
CB Malcolm Butler: hurry
LB Trevor Bates: hurry
DT Malcom Brown: hurry
LB Jonathan Freeny: hurry
DT Josh Augusta: hurry

— Butler, an undrafted free agent, officially is the real deal. He’s been dominant as both an interior and edge rusher. He needs to be on the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster with so many question marks along the Patriots’ front seven.

— If Ealy is being shopped, then he helped his trade value with a quarterback hit and three hurries. There also were times when he failed to contain Lions backup quarterback Jake Rudock.

— Guy has been a better interior rusher than expected.

— Langi, another UDFA, and Butler forced Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw the interception to Rowe with interior pressure.

Offensive tackle Cameron Fleming: QB hit, five hurries
Guard Joe Thuney: QB hit, hurry
Center David Andrews: hurry
G Shaq Mason: hurry
OT Marcus Cannon: hurry
Running back Mike Gillislee: hurry
OT Conor McDermott: hurry
G Jason King: hurry
Offensive lineman Cole Croston: hurry

— Fleming had a tough assignment as a left tackle. The Patriots need Nate Solder back in that role for the regular season.

— There was a play in which five Patriots blockers were charged with hurries, yet Brady still found wide receiver Chris Hogan for a 7-yard hookup.

— Expect a long look at Croston at offensive tackle next week in the Patriots’ fourth preseason game. He could steal a roster spot.

— McDermott has serious issues with getting overpowered at this point in his rookie season.

Tom Brady
1. Dropped by wide receiver Brandin Cooks
2. Pass to tight end Rob Gronkowksi broken up by Lions
3. Interception thrown into double coverage

— Brady’s interception was confounding. There was either miscommunication or Hogan gave up on his route. Regardless, Brady tossed the ball high and deep into double coverage.

Jimmy Garoppolo
1. Pass to WR Devin Lucien broken up by Lions
2. Dropped by RB D.J. Foster
3. Thrown wide to WR Austin Carr
4. Thrown wide to RB D.J. Foster
5. Dropped by TE James O’Shaughnessy

— There has been talk about moving Foster to wide receiver after Julian Edelman’s injury. I’m not buying it. Foster played wide receiver in an intrasquad scrimmage earlier this summer and couldn’t catch a single pass against the Patriots’ backup cornerbacks. He’s a good receiver coming out of the backfield but can’t compete against NFL cornerbacks.

— Neither O’Shaughnessy nor rookie tight end Jacob Hollister did much to help their case for a spot on the 53-man roster. That battle could come down to next week’s preseason finale.

Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images

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