Rising Patriots: Preseason Week One

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 08: Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots celebrates his second quarter touchdown with teammates while playing the Detroit Lions in a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

QB Jarrett Stidham 14/24, 179 yards, 1 TD

Jarrett Stidham did exactly what I was hoping for in week one of the preseason. He became the biggest topic of the night by showing his precision passing and intelligent decision making. You could see that Stidham was looking to throw the deep ball all night but kept his composure and made the correct reads. He showed that he could scramble a little (4 rushes for 16 yards) and more importantly move well in the pocket. Many of his incompletions were his best throws but the second string receivers gave him no help. Here are some of his highlights from Thursday night:

I wrote an entire article about Stidham’s path to the NFL and how I see his future with the Patriots, you can click here to view that. Here is a preview:

“Jarrett has well-above average decision-making skills meaning he will not just hum the ball into double coverage. He has a great touch pass and throws a tight spiral. His mechanics and footwork are also above average and he has the prototypical size and arm strength of a starting QB in the NFL. He moves well and can scramble effectively when needed. There is no major flaw in his game, and he will be studying under Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck.” – Scott Neville, QB Jarrett Stidham – Patriots Rookie Spotlight

WR N’Keal Harry 2/2, 36 yards

Harry was pulled from the game early after tweaking a leg injury he sustained Tuesday in practice. The injury is not believed to be serious, as reports are he will be ready to go by week one. Harry was only on the field for a short amount of time, but he was able to show why the Patriots made him a first-round pick. Harry caught both of his targets, highlighted by a 25 yard leaping catch:

If you would like to see more on the talented rookie click here.

WR Jakobi Meyers 6/8, 69 yards, 2 TDs

Meyers has been one of the players that has shined brightest during camp and it translated onto the field against the Lions. While preseason stats are not always the best way to judge a players talent/future, Meyers did nothing but improve his stock Thursday night. Meyers was Stidham’s favorite target and while he did most if his damage late in the game against lesser talent, Jakobi showed enough to get Patriots Nation excited for his future. Jakobi is one of three Patriots that converted from QB to WR (Edelman, Etling, Meyers), though he made his transition in college. Meyers will have to keep performing in practice if he wants to carve out a role on the Patriots offense, but so far he has been nothing but impressive.

WR Braxton Berrios 3/3, 45 yards

Berrios spent his rookie season on the injured reserve, but is looking to make an impact in year two. Braxton worked in the slot and caught all three of his targets in the preseason opener. He looked like an above average route-runner and Belichick echoed that same sentiment after the game. Berrios also split punt returning duties with rookie Gunner Olszewski. Berrios got the first shot but both returners looked more than capable of handing the job.

WR Maurice Harris 3/5, 27 yards, 1 TD

Harris showed his ability to get open regularly in his preseason debut with the Patriots. His stats do not jump off the page, but he was on the receiving end of some uncalled pass interference by the Lions. He made a phenomenal one handed catch and proved to be an interesting option for the Patriots in the slot.

DE Derek Rivers 2 Sacks, 2 TFL

Rivers missed all of 2017 with an ACL tear and was lost in the shuffle of pass rushers last season. In year three Rivers looks to crack the pass rushing rotation, and his game Thursday was a good sign. Rivers was able to get consistent pressure and ended the game with two sacks. Rivers got in the game immediately and played against the best talent the Lions put on the field.

DE/LB Chase Winovich 1.5 Sacks, 1 TFL

Winovich was selected in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Michigan. This was essentially a home game for Chase and he was able to give the fans what they wanted. Winovich was one of the many pass rushers to create havoc for the Lions Thursday. He had an encouraging performance in his first preseason game and will look to keep that going moving forward.

I wrote about Winovich and his future with the Patriots during training camp, click here to take a look.

Notable Mentions:

  • QB Brian Hoyer
  • WR Gunner Olszewski
  • LB Jamie Collins Sr.
  • LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
  • DB Keion Crossen

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