With a league-high 37 players not taking part in the action, the New England Patriots have lost their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-24. The Patriots’ young players were competitive at times but overall unable to outpace a solidly playing Jaguars team (that rested 10 players, for comparison).
But even though the team came up short in the end, some solid performances were on display. Analytics website Pro Football Focus highlighted the following six Patriots in its postgame analysis:
TE Jacob Hollister, 87.3 overall grade
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 86.5 overall grade
WR Austin Carr, 81.2 overall grade
S Damarius Travis, 79.5 overall grade
G Jamil Douglas, 79.1 overall grade
LB Harvey Langi, 77.9 overall grade
Unsurprisingly, Hollister and Garoppolo were the two top-graded players during Thursday's game; the rookie catching seven passes for 116 yards and the quarterback completing 22 of 28 attempts for 235 yards and a pair of scores. And while Garoppolo, who was near perfect of throws under 20-yards (18 of 21), is a lock to make the Patriots' roster, Hollister is not.
The Wyoming product is part of a four-man fight for a potential third tight end spot on the team or, more realistically, a spot on the practice squad. Carr, Travis, Douglas and Langi are also fighting for spots on New England's payroll. All four appear to have decent chances but despite their solid preseason debut are still long-shots to make the 53-man roster; the practice squad appears to be their destiny as of right now.
PFF’s grades are not the be-all and end-all of football analysis. That being said, seeing the six players above pointed out by the website reflects how well they have performed during Thursday’s game – and how they are players to watch in the upcoming weaks heading into roster cutdowns and the formation of the Patritos' practice squad.