(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The Patriots lost their preseason opener to the New York Giants on a last second field goal 23-21. Here are my thoughts on the game.
1. Zappe Time: Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe played three quarters and completed 19-32 passes for 205 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Zappe led the team on two scoring drives and showed poise and toughness.
Some of his limitations also came through in his performance. His accuracy greatly diminishes inside the hashes and he has a tough time seeing over the line of scrimmage. Both issues were evident last night. Despite that Zappe made a positive first impression especially with how comfortable he was. The rookie echoed that sentiment after the game.
“Yeah, kind of just as the game went on, like you said, you just get more and more comfortable. The more times I come to the sideline, talk to my coaches, talk to my teammates about what they saw, what they’re seeing, and just going back on a drive and just having that next-play mentality, and that’s kind of what my coaches, my teammates, we all try to communicate to everybody is have that next-play mentality and moving on from what happened prior and moving on to the next one and trying to do our best, do our job.”
Bailey Zappe Live Postgame Press Conference: https://t.co/VV5DBrbBzz
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 12, 2022
2. Young receivers shine: Young receivers Kristian Wilkerson (8 catches, 99 yards) and Tre Nixon both (4 catches, 81 yards) both had productive nights. Nixon had an early drop but otherwise both showed an ability to get open vertically something the Patriots are emphasizing more now.
Both will have a hard time making the team with such a crowded receiver room but they still have a shot and they made a favorable first impression.
3. Cameron McGrone impressed in his debut: I like what I saw from Cameron McGrone in his debut. I thought he was a step slow on reading some of his keys at times but he was physical at the point of attack, finished plays and I thought he moved well in coverage.
McGrone still needs time to catch up to speed on the field but last night made a positive first impression in my opinion.
4. Defensive line impresses: I thought the defensive line had a good night, especially rookies LaBryan Ray and Sam Roberts. Both played the bull of the game and both made plays that got your attention.
I think both Ray and Roberts are squarely in the mix in the D-Line rotation and both have a legitimate shot at making the team.
5. Tyquan Thornton more than a deep threat: The rookie wide receiver proved that he is more than just a vertical guy last night. Thornton has great burst and suddenness in and out of his breaks. He gets open cleanly and fluid when stacking corners. He’s a savvy route runner and it showed last night.
I was impressed with his ability to separate on the touchdown after being grabbed. It shows that he’s stronger than we think as well.
Below is his touchdown and then the diagram of the play.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 11, 2022