The next time I post these Fan Notes, it will be following a football game that actually matters. It's almost time to turn our attention to a huge Week 1 matchup that sees the Patriots head down to Miami for a division showdown against the Dolphins. Getting a win in Miami would be an incredible way to start the year, as it would both kick off the season with a win as well as get an away game victory against a heated division rival. It's going to be a much tougher game to win than I think a lot of people are anticipating it to be, and there's a whole lot to go over between now and then.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we can get into any of that, we have final roster cuts, depth chart analysis, and last night's preseason game against the New York Giants. New England has played New York in Week 4 of every single preseason since the dawn of time, and so we all know that watching the Patriots backups play the Giants backups mean that real football is right around the corner. First, though...
- Before we get to the backups, let's take a minute to appreciate the starter. Per last night's pop-up, Tommy B is 148-43 in his career. 100+ games over .500. That's unbelievable.
Jerel Worthy is a big dude. He steps well and makes solid contact, but he's a little wild with his hands. Kind of like me at my senior prom.
- Every time I start knocking Christian Fauria's preseason announcing from here on out, somebody please remind me of the one man trainwreck that is Carl Banks, who handles the New York feed. Some of my favorites from Banks last night:
- "When it's third down and you can't convert, that's a drive killing play."
- "When you throw the ball to a receiver, you expect him to make the play there."
- "That's two good plays in a row. Now it's time to watch this play and see if they can continue to build on it."
- I'm really going to miss Dan Dierdorf.
- Overall, an up and down night for Jimmy G. He made some beautiful throws, made some poor reads, and threw a couple picks (only one of which counted, but honestly they both should have). All in all, he looked exactly the way you would expect a rookie to look playing his first full game in the NFL. Probably the best play he made, in my opinion, was when he decided not to take off on 3rd and 8 on New England's second possession of the day and found Jeremy Gallon instead. A lot of QBs would have started running there, and that Garoppolo is always looking to throw first shows great poise.
- That said, there were a few times where he probably should have taken off, but didn't. And as someone who will look for any excuse available not to run, that I'm saying that should carry some extra weight.
- Josh Boyce is not a deep threat. That is all.
- Probably my biggest takeaway from the game: Josh Kline looked very solid overall. Got beat a few times, but I was impressed with him for the most part. Where Logan Mankins will be missed the most is in run blocking, and based on the pitiful running game overall so far this preseason, there isn't anything to be worried about just yet.
- Just yet.
- Also liked what I saw out of Bryan Stork. I'm still a little nervous about the O-Line (I would be much less so if Dante was back), but I think that by the middle of the season they'll be fine.
- Jimmy G threw two picks, both of which were intended for Josh Boyce. The first was a poor decision by Garappolo, as Boyce was covered (despite putting his arm in the air) and Zack Bowman was able to make a great play. His second looked like he expected Boyce to cut in, and instead he cut out. Boyce made the right read there, as he cut to the open area on the field. Another rookie mistake.
James White continues to amaze. Literally tripped over his own feet on a very returnable kickoff following New York's first points of the night. Other than that, a bunch of runs up the middle for nothing and some toss runs to the outside for negative yards. He's a lock to make the roster at this point, but he has shown me nothing this preseason that makes me think he's our back of the future.
- Tom Brady in as a holder - because no all-stars ever get hurt on a freak accident during the extra point, right? Am I right, folks?
- As somebody who has been a very vocal member of "Get Jake Bequette Off This Team" camp, I'll gladly admit that Bequette had a pretty solid game yesterday. Got some good pressures, registered a sack, and even dropped back into coverage on a few snaps.
- I ultimately don't know what's going to become of Tavon Wilson, but I will say that that man is a very good tackler. Probably a lock on special teams at this point - although with the revolving door that was the safety position last night, who knows.
- So...light tap at the line, illegal contact. Jumping into a receiver without turning your head during the process of making the catch...nothing. Got it. Glad to see that the NFL worked hard this offseason to unmuddy the DPI waters.
- On the plus side, if they decide to stop calling Pass Interference on DBs who neglect to turn their head around, that should drastically reduce the number of penalties the Patriots see.
- Ive recently learned to calm down and not get all worked up over preseason games, and every time I've watched one this August I have gotten a brief glimpse of how wonderful it is to be a non-certifiably insane Patriots fan. Just hanging out, having a few beers, watching the game, enjoying it for what it is, happy when the Patriots score, not upset in the slightest when they give up a TD. No sweating, no cursing, no uncontrollable nerves...just a football game. I wonder if it's possible to get back to that, or if I'm just too far gone at this point. I feel like my life would be more manageable if I could take a preseason attitude to the regular season.
- Every time I look at Eli Manning and watch him desperately struggle to comprehend where he is, what's going on, and why the shoes he has on aren't velcro, I die a little inside over what he was able to do to our team when it mattered most.
- Would love to see more onside kicks in the preseason. With most kickoffs ending up as touchbacks anyway, it seems like preseason is a great time to practice a football situation you really can't duplicate in training camp.
- When the Giants have a Patriots QB wrapped up, he miraculously scrambles out of it, closes his eyes, and hucks it in the air, it goes out of bounds. I remember something a little different happening when the tables were turned.
- I'm rooting hard for Jeremy Gallon to make the squad - a good friend of mine is a Michigan fanatic and insists that there is a lot to like about him and he would be a perfect fit in the New England system - but I just don't think that there has been enough from him to warrant keeping him around. Hopefully we can stash him on the practice squad.
- It's a real longshot, but I really hope that Daxton Swanson makes the team, if for no other reason than the Dumb and Dumber references:
- Swimswammi...slippy...slappy...Simmons, Sommons, Swanson - Swanson? Samsonite! I was way off!
- Zach Moore made the most of every single snap he was given this preseason. I say he sticks around. If his name was Zack Morris, he'd likely be a lock to start every week and end up dating the most attractive woman in the history of the world, but sometimes, those few letters end up making all the difference.
- I've never heard so much bitching over the lack of flags late in a game as I heard from the Giants in-stadium announcing team last night. Guys, it's the 2nd half of the last preseason game, the NFL equivalent of 4 PM on a Friday. Everybody has mailed it in except for you.
- Thanks for one of the most enjoyable preseasons I've experienced in a long time, Jimmy G. Now may I never see you on the field again. Well, at least until next preseason.
- Now that the preaeason is over, let's all take one final minute to remember that insane bobbling circus catch by Brian Tyms off a beautiful Jimmy G bomb that would have been a touchdown if Belichick had cared enough to challenge it. I still say we won't see a better play this year.
On to Miami. This time next week, the NFL season will officially be underway, and we can all begin neglecting our friends and family again.