EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The 2018 preseason mercifully is over.
After watching New England Patriots rookie quarterback Danny Etling battle it out against New York Giants QBs Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney in a 17-12 win, fans undoubtedly are ready for some real football.
This game did matter quite a bit for Patriots players battling for roster spots, practice squad slots and opportunities elsewhere. Here’s who helped and hurt their cause:
CB JC JACKSON
Jackson let up a 41-yard touchdown catch to Amba Etta-Tawo when he evaded a pick play but lost the Giants wide receiver in traffic. Otherwise, he had two interceptions and two pass breakups and looks like the Patriots’ requisite undrafted free agent to make the squad.
He later was carted to the Patriots’ tunnel with dehydration.
WR K.J. MAYE
Maye was signed Monday and might have shown enough to catch on with a team’s practice squad this season. He caught five passes for 71 yards, including a 45-yard diving reception near the goal line.
CB KEION CROSSEN
Crossen was targeted five times. He let up one catch for 10 yards and recorded a pass breakup. If the Patriots elect to keep six cornerbacks, he might be the pick over veteran Jason McCourty.
CB CYRUS JONES
Jones allowed just three catches on six targets for 14 yards. He also cleanly fielded five punts. He had issues with muffed punts as a rookie in 2016.
If the Patriots decide to part ways with Jones, this performance might be enough to get him claimed by another team that wants to take a chance on the 2016 second-round pick as a slot cornerback and punt returner.
RB KENNETH FARROW
Farrow didn’t get into the end zone like rookie Ralph Webb did, but he had a strong showing, carrying the ball four times for 24 yards and catching three passes on three targets for 14 yards. He spent last season on injured reserve and didn’t receive a single workout this offseason until Monday, when he signed with the Patriots.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see him latch on with a practice squad now.
DE TRENT HARRIS
The Patriots figure to be deep at defensive end this season, but Harris still might have earned a spot on the practice squad over other players like Eric Lee and Geneo Grissom. He had another sack Thursday night and finished the summer with 2.5 sacks overall.
QB DANNY ETLING
Etling’s best throw of the day was the 45-yarder to Maye. Otherwise, he struggled through the air, going 18-for-32 for 157 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
His ground game was another story. He carried the ball five times for 115 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown. Where would you have set the odds of Etling running for an 86-yard score? Maybe 8,600-to-1?
There’s no need to keep Etling on the 53-man roster. The Patriots shouldn’t have trouble slipping Etling onto their practice squad unless another team wants to claim him as a running back.
OT ULRICK JOHN
John suffered a foot injury in the second quarter, went to the locker room and didn’t return. He was battling Matt Tobin and Cole Croston for a roster spot. This injury can only hurt those chances.
DB JASON MCCOURTY
It’s tough to read into McCourty’s usage and play too deeply. He played into the second half and let up a 20-yard pass, but otherwise looked relatively comfortable at safety, which he only picked up last week.
Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images