These Patriots players stood out in preseason opener vs. Giants

These Patriots players stood out in preseason opener vs. Giants

Sure, it’s only preseason, but the New England Patriots’ return to action against the New York Giants gave us plenty to chew on.

The Patriots dropped the preseason opener 23-21 as Giants kicker Graham Gano drilled the game-winning field goal as time expired. Despite the result, there were some positive takeaways from New England’s performance. With most of the starters getting the night off, some rookies and players competing for roster spots took advantage of their opportunities.

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So, which Patriots players stood out most? Tom E. Curran and Ted Johnson shared who caught their eye on NBC Sports Boston’s Postgame Live.

“I’ll start on the back end of the defense. I thought (rookie cornerback) Jack Jones was around the ball constantly, and that’s exactly as he was built to be,” Curran said.

“I thought (linebacker) Cam McGrone also around the ball played with great speed. (Linebacker) Josh Uche, who’s a personal favorite of mine because I think he brings something that they lack, I thought he was outstanding inside.

“And by the end of the game, you can’t not talk about (wide receiver) Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who [had] six catches, 62 yards and really productive.”

 

A pair of rookies along the defensive line impressed Johnson during the preseason opener.

“I thought there were some really nice individual performances tonight,” Johnson said. “I’ll go defensive line. If anybody saw number 96 named Sam Roberts, he played most of the game, haven’t heard much about this kid but he was all over the field. He had one of the best preseason games I’ve seen a defensive lineman have.

“A lot of people are talking about this undrafted free agent out of Alabama, (defensive tackle) LaBryan Ray, number 74. He made a lot of plays in the backfield which was great to see. And then also, (linebacker) Anfernee Jennings, you saw him getting into the backfield wreaking havoc out there.”

Johnson agrees with Curran’s assessment of Josh Uche, but there’s one area of the third-year LB’s game he hopes he’ll clean up.

“You mentioned Josh Uche, he had some nice plays as well. I will say this, there’s one thing that worries me a little bit about Josh Uche,” Johnson said. “Although he had a nice sack and he was getting into the backfield, there was a reverse run to his side and he completely missed it, and there was a big gain on his side.

“You wonder if those are the plays that are what keeps him out of these games. He might be a great pass-rusher, great athlete, you. can see him wreaking havoc in the backfield, but if you can’t trust him to contain on plays like that, it’s going to be hard to find a role for him consistently.”

The Patriots will host the Carolina Panthers for their second preseason matchup next Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Hear everything Curran and Johnson had to say about the preseason opener in the video above, or watch the full segment below:


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