The preseason is all about hype. Each game I will recap who had the best performances and how they could make an impact on the Patriots 2019 season. I have already covered the first half of the preseason slate which can be read here:
QB Jarrett Stidham 15/19, 134 yards
I know, we have been been heavily covering Jarrett Stidham. However, the preseason lacks star power and Stidham possibly being the next franchise QB holds value. Stidham made strides before he even snapped the ball in Thursday nights preseason game against the Panthers. The fact that he ran out there instead of Hoyer means he is riding his way up the depth chart. After knocking Etling out of the QB room weeks ago, Stidham now appears to have jumped Brian Hoyer on the depth chart. There is the argument that Belichick is just trying to get an extended look at the rookie, which is true. That said, he has a real shot of backing up Brady this season.
While Stidham has consistently been able to avoid interceptions via the defenders being unable to make the play, he has put up three strong weeks in a row. Consistency is heavily weighted in New England, and Stidham seems right at home in Foxboro. While he lacked the highlight plays this week, Jarrett was effective in the passing game. He did not show off the mobility like he did in the previous two preseason games, but we know what he can do. Overall another solid night for the Auburn product.
WR Jakobi Meyers 7/12, 74 yards
Meyers struggled with the first-team offense, but was able to recover and end the night with some solid statistics. Meyers was on the field with Brady and the rest of the starters, which was telling (though many receivers were absent). He made a mistake early on a miscommunication with Brady that led to an errant throw. On the second drive Meyers erased a 30-yard run from Sony Michel by committing an offensive holding penalty.
While his start did not go as well as he would have liked, Meyers had another good game and has been the most productive receiver in the NFL over these three preseason games. While that does not ultimately matter, an undrafted rookie needs to back his potential with stats to stick around. Meyers has done that up to this point.
WR Phillip Dorsett 7/7, 47 yards
Dorsett was able to benefit from the lack of receivers available for preseason week three. Brady consistently looked for Dorsett and he did not disappoint. Dorsett is entering his third season with the Patriots (second full season) and looks to be one the receivers Brady has developed a rapport with. He reeled in all seven of his targets and showed that he could provide value on the Patriots roster.
WR Gunner Olszewski 1/1, 15 yards
Olszewski is one of Belichick’s experiments, as he started as a division two cornerback. Since moving to receiver/returner, Gunner has impressed. Olszewski plays extremely hard and looks like he could develop into an Edelman type, who was a college QB and also saw reps on defense early in his NFL career. Gunner was injured on a big hit after his lone reception, and is on the edge of the roster bubble. I am definitely rooting for Olszewski to sneak onto the roster as he showed the ability to be a quality returner and looks to be able to produce in the slot as well. Highlighted by a 28-yard punt return, Gunner opened some eyes tonight.
CB Joejuan Williams 1 TKL
While Williams did not light up the stat sheet, he played well against the Panthers. Williams has been used as a man-to-man corner and done well so far. He got burnt on what would have been a touchdown had Grier not made an overthrow, but was solid in coverage otherwise.
Note: While players like Michel looked great, this series is for unproven players who are looking to solidify a role/roster spot on the team.