Coming Up
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 12:00 AM - 10:40 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best shows of the week on Patriots.com radio.
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 10:40 AM - 12:45 PM EDT Live Patriots Pre-Game Social

    Join us for the Dunkin' Donuts Patriots Pre-Game Social 2-hours before each New England Patriots game as host Marc Bertrand and PFW's Andy Hart and Paul Perillo preview all the matchups and get the fans take heading into the game.  Have your questions answered on the air by emailing webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.

  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDT Live X-Box One Postgame Show

    Join host Marc Bertrand, PFW's Andy Hart and Paul Perillo as they breaks down the Patriots-Raiders game and take your calls. You'll hear live press conferences from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, exclusive player interviews and more on the X-Box One Patriots Postgame Show.

  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 4:01 PM - 5:18 PM EDT Live Postgame Pressers Watch Patriots Postgame Press Conferences from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady LIVE following each Patriots game.
  • Mon., Sep. 22, 2014 12:00 AM - 9:00 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows from the past week.
  • Mon., Sep. 22, 2014 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM EDT Live Patriots Monday Tune in all day for PATRIOTS MONDAY. Hear from Head Coach Bill Belichick, Quarterback Tom Brady and more of your favorite players every Monday during the season. Join Sportsradio 93.7 WEEI's Dennis and Callahan at 8am, Merloni, Fauria and Benz from 10-2 and Dale and Holley until 6pm as they review and preview all the Patriots action all season long. Replay from 6 - 12pm.
  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 12:00 AM - 9:00 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week
  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT Live Patriots Playbook Need your afternoon fix of Patriots information direct from the source? Listen to Patriots Playbook with John Rooke and Erik Scalavino as they bring you all of the latest Patriots talk exclusively on Patriots.com. You'll hear interviews and expert commentary from Patriots HQ.
  • Tue., Sep. 23, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live Fantasy Football Champs 120 minutes of non-stop Fantasy Football Strategy. Bill Enright and Anthony Grace are committed to helping you dominate your league. Tune in for expert analysis, weekly player rankings, and fantasy advice that will get you a Championship.
  • Wed., Sep. 24, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Wed., Sep. 24, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Wed., Sep. 24, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT Live Patriots Playbook Need your afternoon fix of Patriots information direct from the source? Listen to Patriots Playbook with John Rooke and Erik Scalavino as they bring you all of the latest Patriots talk exclusively on Patriots.com. You'll hear interviews and expert commentary from Patriots HQ.

Patriots Football Weekly Blog

Print
RSS

Analysis: Patriots-Redskins

Posted Aug 7, 2014

Observations about New England's preseason opener from the press box at FedExField.

LANDOVER, Md. – New England may have been the more dominant team during the three days of joint practices with the Redskins in Richmond,Va. But on Thursday night, host Washington looked like the more polished squad. It was a sloppy affair overall, with numerous penalties throughout the night.

Several positions featured intriguing competitions, however, with varied personnel groupings being inserted to help sort things out. Here’s what stood out from the team’s first real test of the summer:

Backup QB

With Tom Brady getting a night off, Ryan Mallett started the game and went three-and-out on his first two series. After one half, he was 5-of-12 for just 55 yards. Mallett’s play was inconsistent – some passes were bullets, while others were off-target floaters. But he was decisive in his reads. In that respect, he looked more improved than previous seasons, but his execution still lacks a starter’s shine.

Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo was given his first snaps at the start of the second half, and nearly led the team on a touchdown drive on his first series. Same on the second series, but a fumble by rookie running back Stephen Houston wiped out a long drive. His third-down toss downfield to rookie Roy Finch went just inches out of reach on the next drive. But on his fourth and final effort, Garoppolo threw a gorgeous touchdown pass to Bryan Tyms. New England’s second-round draft choice looked better on those four series than he had heretofore in training camp practices. Garoppolo’s improved performance was the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable night for the Patriots.

O-line

Jordan Devey started at left guard in place of Logan Mankins. Marcus Cannon replaced Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. Dan Connolly started at center, while Josh Kline stepped into Connolly’s erstwhile spot at right guard. Only starter from last year who was in place was left tackle Nate Solder. He had a holding penalty on the first series of the game and surrendered a sack on the next series.

Vollmer entered the game on the second series, but Cannon returned on the third. The first half was mostly a consistent lineup of Solder, Devey, Connolly, Kline, and Cannon. Ryan Mallett was often under pressure, while the running game totaled just 37 first-half yards.

Wendell came in at center in the third quarter. Devey moved to left tackle, with Chris Barker at left guard, rookie Jon Halapio at right guard, and rookie Cameron Fleming at right tackle.

At the center spot, it’s difficult to assume that Connolly has supplanted Wendell as the starting center, considering the other substitutions along the o-line. Connolly did take considerable first-team reps at center during the week of joint practices, but it’s still too soon to say he’s now the full-time center.

Front 7

New England started off with a 3-4 front. Vince Wilfork manned the nose, with Tommy Kelly and Chris Jones at left and right end, respectively. Michael Buchanan, normally a defensive end, was the right outside linebacker. The presence of both Wilfork and Kelly, both coming off season-ending injuries, was a great sign for the Patriots.

Joe Vellano replaced Wilfork at nose on the second series. Kelly stayed on for one more before being replaced by Marcus Forston. Will Smith then took over for Chris Jones, who later replaced Vellano at nose. Just before the half, Jones suffered what was announced as a left ankle injury and was helped off the field by the team’s medical staff and taken to the locker room for further observation. Not good for New England’s depth at that d-line position, already down a player with Sealver Siliga having injured his left hand during the week of practices with Washington. Vellano returned to nose in the second half.

It’s curious that New England has played so much 3-4 during the joint practices and first preseason game against Washington. The Patriots don’t seem to have the right personnel for such a front. I’m wondering if the team will be more game-plan specific from week to week, sometimes playing 4-3, other times 3-4. Or perhaps head coach Bill Belichick wants to go back to his favorite look after a couple of seasons of full-time 4-3.

Safety

The starting safeties were Tavon Wilson and Patrick Chung. Regular starter Devin McCourty dressed but sat out the contest. Duron Harmon replaced Wilson on the second series. He was later beaten – along with cornerback Logan Ryan – on the Skins’ first touchdown pass. The trio of Chung, Harmon, and Wilson were rotating in and out throughout the first half.

After intermission, Nate Ebner and rookie Travis Hawkins took over at the safety spots. Neither did anything of note. We appear to be no closer to knowing who is going to start at safety alongside Devin McCourty once the regular season begins.

BLOG DISCLAIMER


The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on the PFW Blog represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Most Popular Media

View Series - Ask PFW Ask the PFW writers a question