Eagles @ Pats Postgame Analysis
posted at 8/21/2012 12:16 PM EDT
This was a typical exhibition game, where the final score had far less meaning than analyzing how certain players performed. Here's my take on how the Patriots' players performed at each position, last night:1.) QBs:
Though Ryan Mallett had his moments (nice throw over the middle to Deion Branch for a first down, fairly good execution on screen plays, and excellent throw to reserve TE Alex Silvestro for a TD), there were some things that bothered me. Mallett still doesn't appear to be comfortable in the pocket. Of course, part of that was due to substandard pass protection. Still, Mallett's release appeared to be a tad slow. He threw a horrid pass that was intercepted...though he was saved due to a roughing the passer penalty. Based on what I saw, I can't say that he's appreciably better than he was last year...or that he looks like the heir apparent to Tom Brady. Brian Hoyer still looks more confident. Though Hoyer didn't show much, he was playing primarily with scrubs at TE and at WR...and his OL nearly got him killed. In short, it appears that Hoyer is still the 2nd best QB on this team.2.) RBs:
Shane Vereen built upon his good performance against the Saints with a decent session against the Eagles. Though he didn't run for a ton of yards, he executed on screens pretty well (4 catches for 29 yards), and showed that he possesses the quickness, speed, and toughness to succeed as an NFL RB.
Not much from Stevan Ridley tonight...though his OL gave him precious little room to run.
Horrible night for rookie Brandon Bolden. His muffed of a punt turned what momentum there was in this game in favor of the Eagles. Though Bolden did make a good tackle in punt coverage later in the game, it remains to be seen how much the muffed punt affects his chances of making the team. 3.) OL:
The Big Uglies need to start stepping up their play...now
. Yes, there have been injuries on the OL...and varying combinations haven't helped the OL to perform well as a unit. But, the play of Dante Scarnecchia's lumberjacks must improve. RT Marcus Cannon in particular was a disaster last night. He was badly beaten by Eagles' DT Phillip Hunt, which led to a QB fumble. This is the second time in two games that this has happened...though the first time LT Nate Solder was victimized. Speaking of Solder, he wasn't much better.
Nor was just the pass protect substandard. Precious little room was made for the Pats' RBs, who too many times were hit behind the line of scrimmage. OT remains the prime concern for this team, and appears to be the one glaring point of weakness that could prevent the Patriots from reaching another SB in 2012: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view/20220821officiating_on_the_cheap_nfl_owners_showing_true_colors_with_penny-pinching_ways/4.) WRs and TEs:
Big night for Deion Branch (3 catches for 51 yards). His performance may have locked up a roster spot for him...if not have secured for him the #3 WR spot. Julian Edelman looked Welkerish on a couple of plays, and did nothing to diminish his chances of remaining a Patriot. Jeremy Ebert didn't appear able to get any separation. He looked slow, and had a bad drop. Donte' Stallworth will make the team, depending on the health of Jabar Gaffney. Otherwise, he's definitely on the bubble. Fill-in TE Alex Sivestri had a couple of receptions, including one for the Pats' lone TD. He looks like a candidate for the practice squad.5.) DL:
Overall, the Pats "D" played well in the first half, before wholesale changes were made in the second half. Patriots DTs were effective, and got pressure up the middle. Several obvious holding penalties against Philly OL went uncalled. Jermaine Cunnigham enhanced his chances of making the team with his thunderous hit on Michael Vick...which knocked Vick out of the game. Cunningham finished the game with three QB hits. Not a good night for Chandler Jones, who seemed to be dominated by huge Philly OT, King Dunlap. Nothing shown by DEs Jake Bequette or Trevor Scott;6.) LBs:
Good job overall by the LB corp. Thunderous hit by Brandon Spikes on an unfortunate Philly RB. Dont'a Hightower played well again, in a limited appearance. Good job overall by reserves Niko Koutouvides, Jeff Tarpinian, and Bobby Carpenter. Koutouvides led the team with 7 tackles...all solos. 7.) DBs:
Sterling Moore was badly beaten by Desean Jackson on a 40 yard pass play. Patrick Chung was hurt, yet again...suffering what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Not a bad effort from veteran Will Allen, and second year man Ras-I Dowling. Rookie SS Nate Ebner registered an interception in the closing seconds of the first half. SUMMARY:
Not a bad overall effort by the Pats' defensive reserves against a talented football team. The Eagles played their regulars for the entire first 35 minutes or so. Against this quality competition, they acquitted themselves rather well. On offense, the OL remains the major point of concern.
Top performers tonight were DE Jermaine Cunningham, WR Deion Branch, RB Shane Vereen, and the Pats' corp of LBs and DTs all played pretty well. Good night of kicking by the Ghost, and Voltan "The Magnificent".
On the downside were the performances of OTs Marcus Cannon and Nate Solder, RB Brandon Bolden, WR Jeremy Ebert, CB Sterling Moore, and DEs Trevor Scott and Jake Bequette.
Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=320820017
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.