Leading up to their Week 17 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots made some personnel moves involving their rookie players. Rhamondre Stevenson returned off the Covid-19 reserve list on Wednesday, while defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe was sent to injured reserve one day later.
As a result, only four first-year players were on New England’s active roster heading into Sunday. Three of them saw the field.
Let’s take a look at how they fared, starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 59 of 72 (82%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Coming off two disappointing games, the Patriots’ first-round selection had a very good outing against a bad opponent. Granted, the Jaguars field arguably the worst team in the league but Jones still did what he was supposed to do: he played some dominant football.
Jones finished the game going 22-for-30 for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He also gained a combined 12 yards and two first downs on his two rushing attempts before being given the rest of the day off in the fourth quarter.
Playing behind a superb offensive line, the rookie fired some pin-point passes. His touchdown to Jakobi Meyers was perfectly executed, while possibly his best throw of the day — a 40-plus yard strike — was dropped by practice squad elevatee Kristian Wilkerson. Jones and Wilkerson did connect on two touchdowns, however, showing off some solid chemistry throughout the day.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Defensive snaps: 40 of 72 (56%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Coming off a five-day stint on the NFL’s Coronavirus reserve list, Stevenson had the most productive game of his career against Jacksonville. Serving as the Patriots’ RB2 behind Damien Harris, the fourth-round selection took over as New England’s lead back after Harris’ departure in the second half.
Stevenson finished the game with a career-best 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. The Oklahoma product did not appear to be hampered by his time on the Covid-19 list, showing the same physicality and contact balance he regularly displayed before his trip to the reserve list.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 23 of 47 (49%)
- Special teams snaps: 2 of 27 (7%)
Once again leading all of the Patriots’ defensive tackles in snaps played, Christian Barmore had another quality outing. The second-round selection, who was acquired following a trade-up with the Cincinnati Bengals, was on the field for 23 snaps and once again proved his disruptive power.
On the day, he finished with three quarterback pressures: Barmore had his first full sack of the year in the second quarter — an 11-yard takedown of Trevor Lawrence — and added two more hurries. He was also credited with three combined tackles, one of which against the run.
Barmore also played two snaps in the kicking game as a member of the place kick blocking unit.
CB Shaun Wade
For a second straight week, the Patriots decided to elevate practice squad cornerback D’Angelo Ross rather than make Shaun Wade active for a third time this season. Ross’ versatility — he ended up playing nine snaps on defense and 13 on special teams — might very well have played a role in the decision. As a result, Wade spent yet another game on the sidelines.