The New England Patriots have two more games to work out the kinks. After that, it’s fine for Patriots fans to overreact or panic over turnovers, sacks and big plays allowed.
The Patriots lost 27-23 to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Saturday night, but it’s worth noting the score was tied 7-7 when Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady exited the team’s second preseason game.
After re-watching New England’s offensive and defensive passing snaps, here are our takeaways.
DE Kony Ealy: QB hit, four hurries
LB Harvey Langi: four hurries
DT Adam Butler: QB hit, hurry, drawn hold
DT Lawrence Guy: sack
DT Vincent Valentine: hurry
LB Elandon Roberts: hurry
LB Trevor Bates: hurry
— The Patriots were left with just Ealy and Caleb Kidder at defensive end with Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Keionta Davis and Geneo Grissom out. Ealy asserted himself well and looked especially impressive jumping off the snap. He still might not be a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, but he’s solidly a near-lock at this point.
— Langi played a bit out of control at times, but he caused some disruption in the backfield. We suspect Dont’a Hightower will be playing Langi’s first-team edge role once the veteran captain is off of the PUP list and back on the field.
— Adam Butler, an undrafted free agent like Langi, could find a role as a pass-rush specialist given all the injuries on the defensive line. Butler’s natural position is defensive tackle, but he was playing on the edge Saturday night. He flashed an agile spin move to get into the backfield here:
CB Malcolm Butler: 5-5, 71 yards, TD
LB Elandon Roberts: 1-1, 63 yards
CB Justin Coleman: 1-6, 33 yards, two PBUs
FS Devin McCourty: 1-1, 15 yards
LB David Harris: 1-1, 6 yards
LB Kyle Van Noy: 1-1, 6 yards
CB Eric Rowe: 1-1, 6 yards
CB Jonathan Jones: 1-2, 5 yards
CB Cyrus Jones: 1-2, 3 yards
LB Trevor Bates: 2-2, 0 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 0-1, PBU
SS Patrick Chung: 0-1, PBU
LB Jonathan Freeny: 0-1
CB Kenny Moore: 1-1, -2 yards
DT Alan Branch: PBU
— Malcolm Butler struggled, allowing a 37-yard deep reception and a touchdown. We don’t suspect his issues will continue into the season but it was a shaky start to the preseason for the All-Pro.
— Coleman was downright impressive defensively, though he did show a lack of awareness by muffing a punt. Those five incompletions weren’t just bad throws by Texans quarterbacks. Coleman was in solid coverage all night. He got tangled up (and blown up) by friendly fire in the form of safety Damarius Travis on the 33-yard reception allowed.
— Bates and Moore made impressive tackles for loss in coverage. Both guys are players on the rise.
— Roberts was injured on the 63-yard catch he let up. Bates is a player who could find himself sneaking onto the roster if Roberts’ rib injury is serious.
OT Conor McDermott: sack, QB hit, five hurries
OL Jamil Douglas: 1/2 sack, two QB hits, hurry
OL Cole Croston: two sacks, hurry
OT Marcus Cannon: three hurries
OT Cameron Fleming: three hurries
OL James Ferenz: 1/2 sack
OL Jason King: QB hit
OL Ted Karras: hurry
— We’re hoping at least one of the Patriots’ injured offensive tackles are back Friday for New England’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions. We’d rather watch Nate Solder, LaAdrian Waddle or Tony Garcia over some of the guys who played tackle in the fourth quarter.
— The key takeaway from watching pass protection was how well Texans defensive end Ufomba Kamalu played. He’s 6-foot-6, 295 pounds and was playing on the edge, even standing up at times. The Patriots should try to trade for him if the Texans feel they have too many bodies on the defensive line.
Tom Brady: 6-for-9, 67 yards, TD
Incompletion No. 1. Thrown out of bounds to WR Julian Edelman
2. Thrown wide to Edelman
3. Thrown to WR Chris Hogan, broken up
— Brady was lucky Andre Hal landed out of bounds on the QB’s third incompletion. Hal’s breakup was originally ruled an interception.
Jimmy Garoppolo: 15-for-23, TD, INT
1. Throw to RB Brandon Bolden broken up
2. Throw to WR Austin Carr out of bounds
3. Drop by WR Malcolm Mitchell
4. Overthrown to RB Dion Lewis
5. Drop by Bolden
6. Overthrown to Carr
7. Overthrown to TE James O’Shaughnessy
8. Overthrown to TE Jacob Hollister, intercepted
— Garoppolo floated his interception. It really was unclear if he was trying to throw the ball out of bounds or just sailed it way too high to Hollister.
Jacoby Brissett: 5-for-10, 36 yards
1. Throw to RB D.J. Foster broken up
2. Drop by WR Cody Hollister
3. Drop by WR Devin Lucien
4. Grounded to Foster
5. Overthrown to Cody Hollister
— Brissett wasn’t helped out much by his receivers, but he still trends more wild than the Patriots likely would prefer. Cody Hollister looked banged up on the final incompletion of the game.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images