Patriots-Panthers Takeaways, Metrics: JC Jackson Makes Strong Push For Roster Spot

After an entertaining and eventful second week of the preseason, the New England Patriots laid an egg Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.

Week 3 of the exhibition schedule is supposed to be a team’s closest simulation of the regular season, but Patriots-Panthers was a tough watch from the start.

Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was a big winner on the night, while defensive back Jason McCourty had a shaky performance in his first outing at safety.

Here’s our advanced metrics and takeaways from Week 3 of the Patriots preseason:

PASS COVERAGE
CB Stephon Gilmore: 3-5, 67 yards
CB Keion Crossen: 1-3, 31 yards, two PBUs
DB Jason McCourty: 1-1, 16 yards
LB Kyle Van Noy: 2-2, 16 yards
S Duron Harmon: 1-3, 16 yards, pass breakup
S Jordan Richards: 1-1, 15 yards
CB Jomal Wiltz: 2-2, 15 yards
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: 2-2, 12 yards
LB Nicholas Grigsby: 1-1, 11 yards
CB Cyrus Jones: 1-2, 10 yards
CB Eric Rowe: 1-2, 8 yards, PBU
S Patrick Chung: 1-1, 7 yards
CB Ryan Lewis: 1-1, 6 yards, TD
LB Elandon Roberts: 1-1, 3 yards
LB Christian Sam: 1-1, 2 yards
CB JC Jackson: 1-2, -1 yard

— It was interesting to see Panthers quarterback Cam Newton target Gilmore so heavily early in the game, and he obviously found success. We’re still not overly worried about Gilmore, but he’s had a shaky preseason.

— Crossen bounced back in a big way after committing three penalties in Week 2 of the preseason. Jason McCourty, playing safety, was partially to blame on the one 31-yard catch Crossen allowed.

— McCourty didn’t quite look like a safety yet, but it was his first time playing the position. It appears the Patriots are looking for ways to help him make the roster.

— Jackson, an undrafted rookie, is making a strong push for a roster spot. The one catch he allowed was on a screen to receiver Curtis Samuel. Jackson brought him down behind the line of scrimmage for a 1-yard loss.

— Cyrus Jones didn’t look rusty in his first game action since suffering a torn ACL last summer.

— We probably sound like a broken record, but Rowe keeps performing this preseason. He’s allowed just three catches on eight targets for 28 yards with two pass breakups over three games.

PASS RUSH
DT Vincent Valentine: Two hurries
DE Geneo Grissom: Two hurries
DT Adam Butler: Hurry
DE Keionta Davis: Hurry
DE Adrian Clayborn: Hurry
DT Danny Shelton: Hurry
LB Dont’a Hightower: Hurry
DE Trent Harris: Hurry
DE Eric Lee: Hurry
DE Derek Rivers: Hurry

— Valentine had a good effort, but it was against second and third-team offensive linemen. He still has a ways to go before locking down a roster spot.

— The Patriots’ pass rush was a major disappointment after recording eight sacks against the Eagles. They also frequently lost containment and allowed Panthers quarterbacks to get out of the pocket. That’s dangerous with Newton under center.

RUN DEFENSE
— Defensive tackle Danny Shelton and Lawrence Guy wound up on the ground on an 18-yard carry by Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. Defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. also was held on the play.

— Shelton was on the ground on the next play, as well, an 8-yard carry by McCaffrey.

— Jason McCourty made a tackle for loss that showed off his wrap-up skills near the goal line.

— Jackson tackled running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Kenjon Barner for no gains.

PASS PROTECTION
OT Matt Tobin: QB hit, hurry
OT Trent Brown: Hurry
OT LaAdrian Waddle: Hurry
OT Ulrick John: Hurry
RB Mike Gillislee: Hurry
RB Brandon Bolden: Hurry

— Patriots quarterbacks utilized short passes, which didn’t give their offensive line much time to surrender pressures.

— Among offensive linemen who played, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Brian Schwenke, Jason King, James Ferentz, Luke Bowanko, Cole Croston and Ted Karras didn’t allow any pressures.

PASS ACCURACY
Here are the causes for quarterback incompletions:

Tom Brady:
1. Batted at the line caused by left tackle Trent Brown
2. Dropped by fullback James Develin
3. Thrown behind Cordarrelle Patterson, possibly because of wrong route
4. Dropped by wide receiver Julian Edelman
5. Dropped by Edelman
6. Pass broken up over tight end Will Tye

Brian Hoyer:
1. Thrown away out of bounds to wide receiver Eric Decker
2. Out of bounds to Decker
3. Dropped by wide receiver Riley McCarron
4. Dropped by Patterson
5. Pass broken up over Decker
6. Overthrown to Patterson
7. Thrown out of bounds toward wide receiver Devin Lucien
8. Thrown out of bounds toward Patterson

— Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was a perfect 4-of-4, catching all of his targets. One was contested.

— McCarron also held onto the ball after taking a hit that looked to knock the wind out of him. Both players helped their standing on the team.

RUSHING ATTACK
— Neither Mike Gillislee nor Jeremy Hill really set themselves apart Friday night. Gillislee had a big 15-yard run but otherwise averaged just 2.2 yards per carry. hill averaged just 2.8 yards per carry and suffered an injury. He did return to the game.

We’d still put Hill on the roster over Gillislee.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images

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