The New England Patriots’ preseason is in the books, and it ended with the team playing a hard-fought game against the visiting New York Giants — one that ended with the team losing 31-29 on a last-second touchdown pass. The result is secondary, of course, as the players’ performances are what is most important at this stage in the process and with the start of roster cutdowns just a few hours away.
With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the snap count numbers from the game to get an impression of how the Patriots used the players that actually participated in the contest.
Total snaps: 65
OC James Ferentz (65; 100%), OG Tyler Gauthier (65; 100%), OT Tyree St. Louis (65; 100%), QB Jarrett Stidham (65; 100%), RB Nick Brossette (64; 98%), OT Cedrick Lang (51; 78%), WR Jakobi Meyers (51; 78%), OT Dan Skipper (44; 68%), TE Stephen Anderson (42; 65%), TE Eric Saubert (34; 52%), WR Demaryius Thomas (24; 37%), WR Gunner Olszewski (23; 35%), WR Josh Gordon (22; 34%), OT Martez Ivey (21; 32%), FB Jakob Johnson (20; 31%), TE Andrew Beck (14; 22%), WR Damoun Patterson (14; 22%), OG Hjalte Froholdt (14; 22%), WR Braxton Berrios (10; 15%), WR Julian Edelman (5; 8%), WR Ryan Davis (2; 3%)
The biggest story coming out of the Patriots’ preseason finale was the usage of three of the team’s top wide receivers: Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas saw considerable action, with Julian Edelman also getting a handful of snaps before leaving the game with what appeared to be a minor hand injury. While Edelman was targeted once before his exit, Gordon and Thomas saw more action and looked good in their return to the field.
Speaking of wide receivers, the usage of New England’s youngsters also caught the eye. Despite appearing to be close to a roster lock, Jakobi Meyers played deep into the game and finished with one 28-yard reception. Gunner Olszewski, meanwhile, played 23 snaps on offense but was targeted just twice by Jarrett Stidham — which is still more action than what Braxton Berrios saw: the second-year man played only 10 snaps and was not targeted even once.
Other than that, the Patriots used a steady lineup with four players going wire-to-wire and others seeing plenty of action as well. Most of the players listed above will likely be released over the next two days, however, with some being options for the practice squad. A notable exception could be interior linemen James Ferentz and Tyler Gauthier, who could be the benefactors of Hjalte Froholdt’s injury.
Total snaps: 90
LB Calvin Munson (90; 100%), CB Joejuan Williams (90; 100%), CB Keion Crossen (86; 96%), LB Ufomba Kamalu (86; 96%), CB Duke Dawson Jr. (81; 90%), CB Ken Webster (79; 88%), LB Terez Hall (77; 86%), DE Nick Thurman (67; 74%), DT David Parry (66; 73%), LB Christian Sam (55; 61%), DT Byron Cowart (55; 61%), SS Malik Gant (54; 60%), LB Scooby Wright III (49; 54%), WR/CB Gunner Olszewski (29; 32%), FB/LB Jakob Johnson (14; 16%), Deatrich Wise Jr. (12; 13%)
The Patriots did little rotating on the defensive side of the ball, as thirteen of the sixteen players used played more than half of the defensive snaps. The other three men, however, are worth taking a look at: wide receiver Gunner Olszewski and fullback Jakob Johnson both saw action at cornerback and outside linebacker, respectively. Meanwhile, Deatrich Wise Jr. played deep into the game even though his standing on the roster was considered safe entering preseason. His fate will be an interesting one to watch this weekend.
The battle for what is potentially the final cornerback spot on the roster also picked up steam yesterday: Keion Crossen, Duke Dawson and Ken Webster played 88+% of defensive snaps — plenty of tape for the coaching staff to evaluate before making a decision on who to keep and who to let go. Realistically, only one member of the trio will be able to survive cutdown day with Crossen’s special teams contributions speaking for him and Dawson’s upside as a former second-round draft pick being his best argument.
Total snaps: 28
FB Jakob Johnson (25; 89%), SS Malik Gant (21; 75%), TE Andrew Beck (19; 68%), LB Calvin Munson (19; 68%), CB Duke Dawson Jr. (19; 68%), CB Joejuan Williams (17; 61%), CB Ken Webster (17; 61%), WR Gunner Olszewski (16; 57%), LB Scooby Wright III (16; 57%), TE Eric Saubert (13; 46%), LB Christian Sam (13; 46%), WR Damoun Patterson (12; 43%), LB Terez Hall (12; 43%), K Stephen Gostkowski (11; 39%), P Jake Bailey (10; 36%), LS Joe Cardona (9; 32%), DT David Parry (8; 29%), CB Keion Crossen (7; 25%), TE Stephen Anderson (6; 21%), WR Ryan Davis (6; 21%), OC James Ferentz (5; 18%), OG Tyler Gauthier (5; 18%), OT Cedrick Lang (5; 18%), OT Dan Skipper (5; 18%), OT Tyree St. Louis (4; 14%), LB Ufomba Kamalu (3; 11%), DE Nick Thurman (3; 11%), RB Nick Brossette (1; 4%), OG Hjalte Froholdt (1; 4%)
Jakob Johnson and Gunner Olszewski did not just see action on offense and defense, they were also used in the third phase of the game. Johnson, who will be on the Patriots’ practice squad this year as an exempt eleventh player due to his international status, looked solid — as did Olszewski: serving as New England’s return specialist, he ran back one punt (for 7 yards) and three kickoffs (for an average of 25.7 yards). The undrafted rookie is certainly not going down without a fight.
WR Cameron Meredith, QB Brian Hoyer, LB Jamie Collins Sr, WR N’Keal Harry, QB Tom Brady, WR Phillip Dorsett, WR Matthew Slater, FS Duron Harmon, SS Obi Melifonwu, SS Patrick Chung, CB Stephon Gilmore, SS Terrence Brooks, RB Sony Michel, CB J.C. Jackson, RB James White, CB Jason McCourty, CB Jonathan Jones, FS Devin McCourty, RB Rex Burkhead, RB Damien Harris, RB Brandon Bolden, FS A.J. Howard, SS Nate Ebner, DE Trent Harris, FB James Develin, DE Chase Winovich, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB Elandon Roberts, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Dont’a Hightower, DE John Simon, OC David Andrews, OT Marcus Cannon, OG Joe Thuney, OT Korey Cunningham, OT Yodny Cajuste, OG Shaq Mason, DT Adam Butler, DT Danny Shelton, OG Jermaine Eluemunor, OT Cole Croston, OC Ted Karras, OT Isaiah Wynn, DT Michael Bennett, TE Lance Kendricks, TE Matt LaCosse, TE Benjamin Watson, TE Ryan Izzo, DE Shilique Calhoun, DT Lawrence Guy, DE Derek Rivers
Most of the Patriots’ roster locks did not see any action on Thursday, as they can be considered the core of the team’s 2019 roster. Three names still stand out, though:
- TE Ryan Izzo: The second-year tight end did not play despite being on the roster bubble. Could his inactive status against the Giants be a sign that the team plans on keeping him around through roster cuts and on the 53-man squad until Benjamin Watson returns from his four-game suspension?
- SS Obi Melifonwu & SS Terrence Brooks: New England is deep in the secondary, and can keep only so many players. Seeing both Melifonwu and Brooks inactive for Thursday’s game is therefore interesting. Could both make the team as depth options at safety and on special teams, especially with Brandon King out for the season?
It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do with those three men over the next 48 hours.