If you watched all 60 minutes of the Patriots preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, you may have earned a medal. In all seriousness, New England did pick up the 31-3 win over Detroit in a battle of 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s on the depth chart. There were a few takeaways from the first exhibition game of the season. First, Jamie Collins and John Simon were impressive on the first two defensive drives. They are number two on the depth chart in their positions, however the chaos they caused on the first couple of drives was very impressive. Even though he had a jersey number that resembled a QB or a WR, Collins (8) did a good job sealing up his side of the field (Again, we have to understand that this was against the 3’s and 4’s of Detroit).
Brian Hoyer got the start and was pretty impressive for the QB that I call “Handoff Hoyer”. The backup QB finished with 147 yards on 12 completions, two of the connections was to 1st round draft pick N’Keal Harry who finished with 36 receiving yards before leaving after tweaking an injury he suffered during practice this week. Getting back to Hoyer, with the play of Stidham, albeit in the first preseason game could this be a start by Hoyer that gets a couple of phone calls made to one Patriot Place in a potential trade?
While Harry has all but solidified his spot on the roster, one name that Patriots fans may need to watch throughout the rest of the preseason is Jakobi Meyers. Finishing the night with a pair of TD’s on 69 yards receiving, Meyers made some nice catches including one from Brian Hoyer and one from Jarret Stidham. For what it’s worth, the Patriots receivers had their way with the Detroit pass coverage running their complete routes with maybe a bump or two. Without Julian Edelman on the field, there is plenty of playing time available for players like Meyers, Berrios and Demaryius Thomas to fight for their spot on the depth chart so over the next couple of weeks that maybe something to watch, especially with Carolina who ranked 10th in yards allowed per game coming to Foxboro in a couple of weeks.
The story of the game for New England may have been Jarrett Stidham. The Auburn product played a little under three quarters and saw a wide range of results during the game. The rookie certainly has the legs to play the new version of QB which is now just as much running as passing, Stidham finished with 16 yards which would have made him the third biggest rusher for the Lions. As far as the passing game goes, Stidham was impressive including a nice pass to Dontrelle Inman in the third that nearly resulted in a TD. On a few occasions, you could hear number four change a couple of things up at the line and grew more comfortable in the pocket not getting sacked once, which was a nice birthday present for his 23rd birthday.
With Tennessee next on the schedule for the Patriots, we should expect to see some familiar faces including TB 12, even if it’s only for a couple of series. Defense is something to watch in preseason game number two for New England. There was some discussion of how big of a hand Jerod Mayo had in defensive play calling if any, so one has to wonder what the top linebackers will look like and if they do play will they hear Mayo giving the call?