Patriot Starters are in Championship Mode – Offensive edition

The third preseason game is in the books! Most of the starters played. And the GOAT Tom Brady was out there slinging the pigskin. So what unique insights did we learn? What nugget of information did we unearth? Not much, it was a game and you don’t have to read any further….

If you are still there, that was just a little fib. While not the dress rehearsal that the third preseason game was in years past, there was plenty to take away. But the biggest news that this contest signals? It means that the start of the season is just two short weeks away. The next 14 days will be taken up with the final flurry of roster cutdowns, season predictions and the pageantry of the opening of the NFL 100 season.

These are the thoughts on the offense; the defense will follow.

Quarterbacks
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Tom looked like Tom. He was a little inaccurate, as expected for his first live action since February. His 8-12 for 75 yards was efficient, and he targeted all areas of the field. Those targeted included the young and old: Rex Burkhead, Ben Watson, Jakobi Meyers and Ryan Izzo. The synergy with Phillip Dorsett was noticeable, and his name is going to be moved to a near lock to make the team on many lists after that game. With a chain mover drive of 85 yards that ended in a one yard touchdown drive Brady’s night was done. I think he makes the team.

With Stidham getting some run early I think there is one thing that we’ve learned. I would expect Brian Hoyer to open the season as the #2 option. Stidham is a talented and intriguing prospect, but I’m not sure how comfortable anyone will be turning the keys over to him in the event of disaster.

Wide Receivers

Have they finally unpacked the real Phillip Dorsett? He was quick, explosive, and clearly has Brady’s confidence to snag those tough balls. Tallying 47 yards on seven catches, he should have solidified his spot barring anything unexpected.

I think the Jakobi Meyers train has dialed down the speed heading into the turns a little. He looked tentative. Meyers had difficulty hauling in an off-target pass from Tom Brady. He was also not gaining as much separation against the defensive starters. I still expect him to make the team, get comfortable and make his mark. It just may not be a shot out if the cannon.

This unit was missing most potential starters as Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon all sat out. When healthy, this trio should soak up most of the targets on game day, and their absence curves this grade.

Offensive Line

All is well. The starting unit was just fine. Isaiah Wynn has put all my worries and fears to rest. Looking fully healthy and ready for live action, I’m excited for him. With no new faces elsewhere the unit operated as advertised. Penalties may be an issue moving forward as the line have collected yellow flags like they’re worth something all preseason. Shaq Mason was called for a chop block that contributed to a first and 28 that was a drive killer. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead found the lanes and pushed the ball down the field. Another fine day from a Dante Scarnecchia coached group

Tight Ends

With the final roster makeup such a mystery, this is where you could find some important clues. Ryan Izzo is making a late push for a spot with the starters. His snag of a Brady fastball as he was falling to the ground was impressive. An important play on a scoring drive will get you noticed. Ben Watson got worked a little by Brady before his exit from a penalized hit. He should hit the ground running when he returns from his suspension.

FOXBOROUGH, MA – OCTOBER 04: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on October 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Running Backs

If there were two knocks on Sony Michel’s rookie campaign it was his pass catching skills and dynamic running. He answered the call on if he is a dynamic runner, showing some sweet moves in the open field and making cuts that were absent last year. Meanwhile, the word is that his receiving role was expanded in camp; however, he did not showcase that vs Carolina. More on that later.

I’m not sure what to make of Burkhead. On the one hand there are so many rookies and young guys looking explosive and hungry. Then Rex comes in and is solid and professional. But his role is the most varied. Passes out of the backfield, runs up the middle and even splitting out wide, he does it all. I simply do not have a bead on his chances.

James Develin, my Develin!! The fullback handoff is a weapon!! He can safely be counted among the starters. The lone touchdown came from the fullback GOAT!!

Thank you for reading this article by Andrew Lykins. You can find his mind over at Twitter under @ALykins32. There are many articles covering all the Boston sports at Believeinbostonsports.com

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