Here are our winners and losers from the Patriots 19-17 victory over the Panthers.
Winner: QB Tom Brady. Sure, he went 3 for 9, but they went for 76 yards and a touchdown. He had a few drops- by both the Patriots and Panthers- but three of his drives led to scoring opportunities. You can’t ask for more.
Loser: DT Terrance Knighton. While Alan Branch didn’t play, Knighton still didn’t see the field. He was passed by Vincent Valentine and Markus Kuhn and undrafted rookie Woodrow Hamilton. No way to get around it- he’s on the hot seat.
Winner: ED Trey Flowers.
Winner: ED Chris Long. Flowers and Long were the starting bookends because Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich were out with injuries. Both looked dominant against the Panthers starting offensive tackles, which shows that the Patriots depth at the position is fantastic. Both players were stout in the run game and were active in the passing game.
Loser: ED Geneo Grissom. While his fellow 2015 draftee Trey Flowers stood out, Grissom looked out of control and unpolished. The acquisition of Barkevious Mingo will make an edge defender expendable, and Grissom has to be more than a “work in progress” if he’s going to make the team.
Winner: CB Cyrus Jones. Jones saw time with the first team defense and he looked like he belonged. He was active and he was competitive. He also had this incredible punt return and will be a star special teamer for years to come.
Loser: WR Aaron Dobson. There’s still a chance he makes the team, but Dobson has been given every single opportunity in the world to have an impact and he just doesn’t seem to play with energy. He collected 49 yards on two receptions and he threw some nice blocks, but he needed to do a lot more in order to make the team and his only chance is if Danny Amendola is on the Physically Unable to Perform list when the season starts.
Winner: WR Chris Hogan. Hogan collected 62 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions and looks to be an active part of the Patriots offense for the upcoming season. He looks more athletic than Brandon LaFell and could be a 1,000-yard receiver if he stays healthy.
Loser: S Jordan Richards. Richards has consistently struggled all preseason when asked to drop into coverage. He’s a step late all the time and he allowed a last second touchdown pass to the Panthers. He has a lot to work on.
Winner: RB D.J. Foster. It was great to see Foster on the field, but more importantly he looked good. He was quick, he lowered his shoulder, he shook defenders in the open field, and he moved the chains. He collected 42 yards on 5 touches and earned more time on the field.