By Connor Fulton @ConnorFultonRS on August 23, 2014
The third preseason game gives hungry football fans a product that closely resembles a regular season contest. The New England Patriots surely didn’t disappoint, looking very good last night in a 30-7 route of the Carolina Panthers. Here are five thoughts from the Patriots’ win.
The Patriots indicated that they have big plans for Vereen in 2014. Vereen flashed dependable hands, breakaway speed and finishing ability while posting 75 total yards and two touchdowns. It’s clear that the Pats want to give Vereen the ball in space on a regular basis in 2014.
The offseason addition of Darrelle Revis looks to be paying dividends already. Revis, along, with fellow corners Malcolm Butler and Alfonzo Dennard and safety Devin McCourty completely locked down the Panthers’ receivers on several plays in the first half, giving pass rushers Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich more time to pressure the quarterback.
The ninth-year veteran silenced any doubters on Friday night, drilling all three field goals he attempted, including a 60-yard dart at the end of the first half. That kick had enough juice on it for a 61-yarder.
Two sacks and numerous contributions on run defense last night was just another day at the office for Chandler Jones. The third-year pro has to be considered a top-ten pass rusher entering the regular season—15 sacks should be a season goal for Jones.
While Garoppolo continued to impress in his third stint of NFL action, Mallett was the one plugged into surprise fill-in duty in the first quarter. There’s no clear indication as to which passer will be holding the clipboard in Week 1, but if the Pats do cut a quarterback, it will be Mallett.
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