By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on August 13, 2014
The New England Patriots lost their first preseason game of the 2014 season 23-6 to the Washington Redskins. The Patriots did not play well, but fans should not be even remotely close to worried. The Patriots are currently in the middle of joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles before the two teams meet in a preseason matchup on Friday. Here are five things to watch for in Week 2 of the Patriots' preseason.
The Patriots were smart and tried to showcase Mallet in the first preseason game in an attempt to increase his trade value, but it didn’t go as planned as Mallet was terrible. He didn’t practice on Sunday, and no reason was given. It will be interesting to see if Mallet gets substantial playing time again in the second preseason game, and if he plays better than he did against Washington.
Garoppolo didn’t have to go against Washington’s starters, but he threw for 157 yards and a touchdown in the second half. The Patriots don’t make a habit out of carrying three QBs, although they did in 2011. Can Garoppolo continue to impress and secure the spot as Brady’s backup? It’s way too early to know, but if Mallet is traded or if Garoppolo continues to outplay him, he might be the guy to backup No. 12.
CB Brandon Browner appeared to sustain an injury in Sunday’s workout and was not in uniform on Monday. Butler, who played well in the loss at Washington, is working to take full advantage of Browner’s absence. He took several reps with the first team opposite Darrelle Revis and definitely held his own. He played particularly well when covering Kenbrell Thompkins. It will be interesting to see if Butler can secure a roster spot.
In the preseason opener at Washington the 6-foot-3, 204-pound WR had five receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. Of course he wasn’t going against Washington starters, but he was still impressive nonetheless. The Patriots lack a true deep threat. It’s way too early to make comparisons to someone like Randy Moss, but If Tyms can be someone who can stretch the field, that would open up a new dimension in the Patriots' offense.
There are multiple players who need to step up, and WR Josh Boyce may be at the top of that list. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound receiver had a mental error in the first preseason game lining up offside, which negated a third-down conversion, and Bill Belichick does not take kindly to those kinds of mental mistakes. Boyce’s effort in run blocking also leaves something to be desired. How he responds in Week 2 will be fun to watch.
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