Three Studs, Three Duds From Patriots’ Preseason Loss To Raiders

Jack Jones up, Mac Jones down

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August 26, 2022

There’s no sense in talking about the score in Friday’s preseason matchup between the Patriots and the Raiders. The same goes for anything about Josh McDaniels squaring off against longtime mentor Bill Belichick.

The result of the game doesn’t matter. (The injury to Ty Montgomery definitely could, though.)

So, let’s get right into New England players who stood out for good or bad reasons in a preseason loss to Las Vegas.

STUDS
LB Raekwon McMillan

It took a while, but McMillan is starting to look like the player we saw last year before he tore an ACL. The sixth-year linebacker’s speed showed up in the first quarter when he made a great open-field tackle on a screen pass, and his athleticism was apparent throughout his limited playing time. He and Ja’Whaun Bentley might wind up forming a very good linebacking duo.

CB Jack Jones
He popped twice in the third quarter, first when he leveled running back Austin Walter and later when he aggressively broke up a pass intended for Isaiah Zuber. The rookie still has a lot to learn and might not have much of a role early this season, but he has the talent to be an impact player down the road.

J.J. Taylor
Taylor only ran three times for seven yards while catching two passes for 22 yards, but it was his recovery of a fumble that earned him a spot on the list. You can click here to watch the play, in which Taylor showed the kind of hustle that could help him earn a roster spot. It will be interesting to see whether Taylor is handed the passing-back role following the injury to Montgomery.

Honorable mentions: Mack Wilson, Anfernee Jennings, LaBryan Ray, Kevin Harris

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DUDS
QB Mac Jones

Jones went 9-of-13 for 71 yards, which isn’t a terrible stat line. However, his interception was ugly and he looked alarmingly skittish in the pocket. Yes, it’s only the preseason, but Jones doesn’t look like the same player we saw last season. He and the offensive line need to get on the same page — and in a hurry.

OG Mike Onwenu
The third-year guard hasn’t looked comfortable in the Patriots’ new, zone-read-heavy scheme for much of the summer. That was evident during the first quarter when Onwenu was flagged for holding on a running play to the right side. Onwenu’s talent is undeniable, but his relative lack of athleticism has him looking like a square peg in a round hole.

OT Justin Herron
Herron allowed multiple quarterback pressures, including one that resulted in a sack-fumble in the second quarter. He’s had his moments during training camp, but Herron ultimately doesn’t look like a starter at either tackle spot.

Honorable mentions: Jahlani Tavai, Bailey Zappe, starting safeties

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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