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Patriots 2017 preseason: RB D.J. Foster, LB Harvey Langi among statistical standouts through two games

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Let’s take a look at New England's statistics two weeks into preseason.

Last Saturday, the New England Patriots played their second preseason game. Not only does this mean that the 2017 preseason has reached the halfway point, we also get a clearer picture of how the team uses its personnel and which players are getting most closely looked at.

With that in mind, let’s do our own looking, namely at who the team’s statistical standouts have been through the first two weeks of the season (pressure and coverage stats via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe).

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo: 99 snaps, 37 of 51 (72.5%), 380 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Jacoby Brissett: 43 snaps, 13 of 23 (56.6%), 124 yards

Tom Brady: 16 snaps, 6 of 9 (66.7%), 67 yards, 1 TD

Entering the last year of his rookie contract, Jimmy Garoppolo has seen the most action of the Patriots’ quarterbacks, playing more snaps than Jacoby Brissett and Tom Brady combined. The team’s number two has mostly looked solid despite playing with less than sufficient talent around him; his only blemish being an interception on an intended throwaway against the Texans.

Brissett, as reflected by his stats, has had an inconsistent preseason thus far. While he appeared to make some solid decisions with the football, his pass placement and accuracy have been an issue. Tom Brady, in the meantime, has looked good in minimal snaps – his snap number is expected to rise against the Detroit Lions this week.

Running backs

D.J. Foster: 55 snaps; 10 carries for 30 yards, 1 TD; 7 catches for 85 yards, 1 TD

Dion Lewis: 39 snaps; 14 carries for 66 yards; 5 catches for 32 yards

Brandon Bolden: 33 snaps; 13 carries for 66 yards; 2 catches for 24 yards

Glenn Gronkowski: 29 snaps; 1 catch for 10 yards

LeShun Daniels: 18 snaps; 11 carries for 39 yards

Rex Burkhead: 13 snaps; 7 carries for 20 yards; 3 catches for 50 yards

James Develin: 9 snaps

James White: 3 snaps

Second-year man D.J. Foster has been the most heavily used Patriots running back – and he has generally looked good as a pass catcher and runner. Given his standing on the roster bubble, seeing the team use him in as many situations as possible is not a surprise. What can be considered a slight surprise is Dion Lewis’ 39 snaps; a high workload for a player considered to be a roster lock.

Wide receivers

Austin Carr: 129 snaps; 8 catches for 75 yards, 1 TD

Devin Lucien: 95 snaps; 3 catches for 32 yards

K.J. Maye: 58 snaps; 6 catches for 34 yards, 1 TD

Tony Washington: 41 snaps; 1 catch for 9 yards

Brandin Cooks: 16 snaps; 1 catch for 7 yards

Malcolm Mitchell: 15 snaps; 2 catches for 13 yards

Julian Edelman: 13 snaps

Chris Hogan: 5 snaps

Danny Amendola: 2 snaps; 1 catch for 6 yards

A total of 16 players have caught passes through the Patriots’ first two preseason games, seven of which wide receivers. Undrafted rookie Austin Carr leads the list in catches, yards and touchdowns while playing the most snaps. And while it would still be a surprise to see him make the roster, the 23-year old should become a priority practice squad signing once roster cuts have started.

Of the wide receivers projected to be on the 53-man roster come opening day, Malcolm Mitchell, Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola have caught passes. Mitchell saw two receptions, while Cooks and Amendola caught one pass apiece. Fellow roster locks Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan were active for the second preseason game but failed to register any stats.

Tight ends

Jacob Hollister: 76 snaps; 8 catches for 120 yards

Sam Cotton: 43 snaps; 2 catches for 29 yards

James O’Shaughnessy: 34 snaps; 5 catches for 41 yards

Dwayne Allen: 17 snaps

Rob Gronkowski: 14 snaps

As is the case with the wide receiver, the tight ends are also led by an undrafted rookie: Jacob Hollister, who leads the Patriots with 120 receiving yards and is tied with Austin Carr for the team-lead in catches. Like Carr, Hollister is fighting for a spot on the roster but should be considered a priority practice squad signing.

The two roster locks at the position, Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, did not register any stats through the first two weeks of preseason but were both on the field on Saturday against the Texans: Gronkowski played 14 snaps, Allen played 17. It will be interesting to see how New England uses the duo on Friday against the Detroit Lions.

Offensive linemen

OT Cole Croston: 128 snaps; 2 sacks, 3 hurries allowed

OG Ted Karras: 108 snaps

OT Conor McDermott: 105 snaps; 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 3 hurries allowed

OC James Ferentz: 102 snaps; 2 hurries allowed

OG Jamil Douglas: 101 snaps; 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 2 hurries allowed

OT Cameron Fleming: 69 snaps; 2 hurries allowed

OT LaAdrian Waddle: 47 snaps; 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 hurry allowed

OG Jason King: 27 snaps

OT Max Rich: 21 snaps

OG Shaq Mason: 17 snaps

OC David Andrews: 16 snaps

OG Joe Thuney: 16 snaps

OT Marcus Cannon: 16 snaps

New England’s starting offensive line saw minimal action so far this preseason: The starters – sans injured left tackle Nate Solder – only saw the field in week two against the Texans. With all five spots at the top settled, the race for the backup roles has taken the center stage. So far, Ted Karras and Cameron Fleming appear to have the best odds of making the 53-man roster.

Defensive linemen

DE Kony Ealy: 67 snaps; 2 hurries

DT Adam Butler: 48 snaps; 2 tackles; 1 QB hit

DT Darius Kilgo: 42 snaps; 6 tackles

DT Josh Augusta: 41 snaps; 7 tackles

DE Caleb Kidder: 41 snaps; 3 tackles; 1 hurry

DT Woodrow Hamilton: 38 snaps; 4 tackles

DT Vincent Valentine: 33 snaps; 3 tackles

DE Geneo Grissom: 32 snaps; 4 tackles

DT Alan Branch: 24 snaps; 3 tackles; 1 pass breakup

DT Malcom Brown: 24 snaps; 4 tackles

DT Lawrence Guy: 20 snaps; 2 tackles; 1 sack, 1 QB hit

DE Deatrich Wise Jr.: 10 snaps

As has been the case at other positions, the Patriots also used their starters along the defensive line sparingly. The team’s number one edge defender, Trey Flowers, has yet to see the field, for example. Of those who did see the field, offseason acquisitions Kony Ealy and Lawrence Guy. Easy, because of his high snap count and Guy because of his productivity in limited playing time – both could play prominent roles for the Patriots defense this upcoming season.

Linebackers

Harvey Langi: 73 snaps; 7 tackles; 1 QB hit

Trevor Bates: 62 snaps; 7 tackles

Elandon Roberts: 52 snaps; 7 tackles

Jonathan Freeny: 47 snaps; 7 tackles

Brooks Ellis: 25 snaps

Davis Harris: 24 snaps; 4 tackles

Kyle Van Noy: 22 snaps; 1 tackle

As is the case at wide receiver, tight end and along the offensive line, an undrafted rookie also leads the way at linebacker: Harvey Langi, who appears to be on his way to the Patriots’ 53-man roster, played a 73 snaps and registered seven tackles in the process – both positions-highs. Another standout was Trevor Bates, who played the second-most linebacker snaps. The 23-year old even carried the communication device in his helmet late during Saturday’s game.

Defensive backs

CB Cyrus Jones: 94 snaps; 4 tackles

CB Justin Coleman: 74 snaps; 5 tackles; 2 pass breakups

SS Jordan Richards: 72 snaps; 9 tackles

SS Damarius Travis; 49 snaps; 5 tackles

FS Jason Thompson: 47 snaps; 3 tackles

CB Kenny Moore II: 33 snaps; 1 tackle

FS David Jones: 26 snaps; 2 tackles

FS Devin McCourty: 25 snaps; 3 tackles

CB Stephon Gilmore: 25 snaps; 1 pass breakup

CB Eric Rowe; 24 snaps; 1 tackle

CB Malcolm Butler: 21 snaps; 3 tackles

FS Duron Harmon: 20 snaps

CB Jonathan Jones: 19 snaps; 1 tackle

SS Patrick Chung: 15 snaps; 2 tackles; 1 pass breakup

CB D.J. Killings: 13 snaps

FS Nate Ebner: 1 snap

CB Will Likely: 1 snap

New England employed a lot of defensive backs over the last two weeks. And while the starters were exclusively used in Houston, the players fighting for backup spots saw extensive action in both games. At cornerback, Cyrus Jones and Justin Coleman were among the standouts, while the battle for the safety spots appears to come down to Jordan Richards, Damarius Travis and Jason Thompson. It projects to be a close one.

Kick returners

Cyrus Jones: 7 kickoff returns for 134 yards; 5 punt returns for 58 yards

Dion Lewis: 1 kickoff return for 29 yards

The Patriots have given Cyrus Jones plenty of opportunities to get into a rhythm as a return man. And while he was relatively unproductive in week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones looked very good against the Texans – taking risks but, most importantly, taking care of the ball all while gaining considerable yardage.

Special teamers

New England used a lot of players in the kicking game. The top five options were as follows:

Harvey Langi: 44 snaps; 1 tackle

Kenny Moore II: 41 snaps

Jordan Richards: 40 snaps; 1 tackle

Jonathan Freeny: 37 snaps

Justin Coleman: 32 snaps

Besides playing a lot of defensive snaps, Harvey Langi and Jordan Richards are also among the most active special teamers on New England’s current roster.

Specialists

K Stephen Gostkowski: 4 of 5 field goals; 5 of 5 extra points

P Ryan Allen: 8 punts for 369 yards; 1 tackle

LS Joe Cardona: 1 tackle

Stephen Gostkowksi did miss one field goal attempt (a 56-yarder) but overall looked solid in terms of ball placement while being his usual stellar self in the kickoff game. Ryan Allen and Joe Cardona have also been very good so far this preseason – with both registering one special teams takedown apiece. All in all, the Patriots’ kicking operation appears to be in good hands.