The New England Patriots lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars. That sentence is not typed often.
Fortunately for the Patriots, this 31-24 loss came in the preseason when they decided to rest all of their starters while the Jaguars did not.
Here’s who stood out both positively and negatively among the Patriots’ reserves.
QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO
The Patriots’ backup quarterback started Thursday night and, as expected, played better in a game situation than he has in practice.
Garoppolo went 22-of-28 for 235 yards with two touchdowns. He showcased his mobility despite rushing for just 3 yards by throwing well on the run.
Garoppolo has had issues with interceptions in camp, so it was good to see him flourish against the Jaguars and avoid turnovers. He led impressive scoring drives to end the first half and to begin the second half.
WR AUSTIN CARR
Carr, an undrafted rookie, also played better Thursday night than he has in training camp, where he struggled to separate from coverage or make contested catches.
Neither of those areas were an issue Thursday, when he caught five passes on seven targets for 44 yards with a tremendous leaping touchdown.
TE JACOB HOLLISTER
Notice a pattern yet? Hollister, another undrafted rookie, also was better Thursday night than he has been in practice, where he’s yet to truly stand out.
Hollister had a breakout party, catching seven passes on nine targets for 116 yards. He added in a hurdle over a defender for extra measure.
Hollister is competing with James O’Shaughnessy, Matt Lengel (both of whom are hurt) and Sam Cotton for the Patriots’ No. 3 tight end role. Hollister certainly showed he can catch and run in his preseason debut.
CB CYRUS JONES
This one is a negative standout. Jones allowed three catches on four targets for 151 yards with two long touchdowns. He moved to safety, a position we haven’t previously seen him play, midway through the fourth quarter.
Jones returned six kickoffs for just 117 yards and failed to get to the 20-yard line twice. He also returned one punt for no gain. Jones did manage to catch all punts and kickoffs without fumbling, which he struggled with in 2016.
LB ELANDON ROBERTS
Roberts, another negative standout, missed a tackle on a 79-yard touchdown run by Jaguars running back Corey Grant. He also left the game early with an injury.
Roberts’ biggest value is in run defense, so he can’t miss tackles in the preseason.
SS JORDAN RICHARDS
Richards took a bad angle on Grant’s 79-yard touchdown run and didn’t do Jones any favors on a 43-yard touchdown pass while dropping back deep at safety.
Richards had a solid start to training camp but has disappeared since. He was barely used last season as the Patriots’ fifth safety. The Patriots could elect to stash a fifth safety on the practice squad this season and use that roster spot elsewhere.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images