The second and final joint practice session with the Philadelphia Eagles is in the books, and the New England Patriots are now officially on to the two teams’ preseason meeting on Thursday night. Before starting to focus on that contest, however, it is time to take a look back at the standout performers from that joint session at the Eagles’ NovaCare Complex.
Who were the standouts? And who had bad days compared to their peers? Let’s find out.
Winners: QB Cam Newton & QB Mac Jones
The Patriots quarterbacks had their ups and downs during Monday’s practice, but both Cam Newton and Mac Jones looked very good on Tuesday. Granted, the situations did favor them from a statistical perspective — the offensive and defensive drills focused exclusively on red area work, with most of it coming in a 7-on-7 setting — but they still performed well.
Newton completed 13 of his 15 pass attempts in team drills, and looked more comfortable than he did during the first session versus Philadelphia’s defense. He also was able to let go of the ball more quickly compared to joint practice No. 1.
Jones, meanwhile, went 13-for-14 with one interception. He saw plenty of action with the first-team skill position group around him, throwing passes to the likes of Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, N’Keal Harry, James White, Devin Asiasi and Brandon Bolden. Other than the pick intended for Asiasi, he too was very good in what was a favorable setting.
Loser: WR Kristian Wilkerson
After dropping two passes on Monday, Wilkerson added another drop during Tuesday’s practice. The drop came on his only team-drill target of the day, with Newton trying to hit him in the back of the end zone in a 7-on-7 situation.
The second-year wide receiver, who appeared to build some momentum heading into the preseason opener, now has six dropped balls to his name this summer — clearly the most on the team. Needless to say that the ice under his feet keeps getting thinner and thinner with every additional pass that goes through his hands.
Winner: OT Trent Brown
The Patriots’ big-bodied right tackle did not see a lot of action during full-team drills given how practice was set up, but he looked very good whenever he had the opportunity. He won both of his 1-on-1 reps against Brandon Graham and Genard Avery, and later joined forces with guard Shaq Mason to pave the way for a Rhamondre Stevenson run during 11-on-11s.
Losers: CB J.C. Jackson & S Kyle Dugger
The Patriots’ secondary had its ups and downs for the second straight day, with J.C. Jackson and Kyle Dugger both standing out for the wrong reasons. Jackson was beaten for red zone touchdowns by Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins during 1-on-1s, while he also was unable to hang with DeVonta Smith on a play that ended with a Zach Ertz touchdown.
Dugger, meanwhile, continues to show weaknesses in coverage. Tuesday was more of the same, with him getting beaten by Ertz for a score and also being unable to hang with Dallas Goedert on another occasion. The second-year man appears to be more comfortable when playing downhill than dropping back, and his struggles when asked to play coverage were obvious yet again against the Eagles’ talented tight ends.
Winner: WR Jakobi Meyers
You may have heard this one before, but Jakobi Meyers is a pretty good pass catcher. The third-year man, who appears to be locked into a starting role this year, is as clean a route runner as New England has on its roster and also made plenty of plays on Tuesday: Meyers caught all five passes thrown his way during team drills, including three that went for touchdowns. He was pretty good.
Winner: CB Joejuan Williams
Joejuan Williams did not necessarily stand out on Tuesday, but the former second-round draft pick still had a good practice based on one simple fact: the Patriots gave him considerable opportunities with the starting defense again. Jalen Mills moved inside into a position that seems more natural to him, opening up the starting outside cornerback spot opposite J.C. Jackson.
Williams’ starter-level status will depend on Stephon Gilmore’s return — the nominal CB1 is still on the physically unable to perform list — but for now he is getting his chances. He had one pass breakup on Tuesday during an 11-on-11 drill and also gave up one score. All in all, though, he now seems to have the inside track for a roster spot.