10 Patriots takeaways after Saturday’s preseason sport in opposition to the Packers


Mac Jones and quite a lot of Patriots starters made their 2023 preseason debuts on Saturday.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 19: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Mac Jones accomplished six of his 9 move makes an attempt on Saturday night time. Patrick McDermott/Getty Photographs


The Patriots and Packers’ preseason sport at Lambeau Subject on Saturday ended with 10:29 left within the fourth quarter following a scary damage involving rookie nook Isaiah Bolden. 

The Patriots have been main, 21-17, on the time of Bolden’s damage.

Listed here are 10 takeaways from New England’s second preseason matchup of the 2023 season.

1. Bolden’s well being stands on the forefront 

Crucial end result on Saturday has little to do with the good points made by Mac Jones or miscues dedicated throughout different areas of the roster.

On an evening the place each the Patriots and Packers opted to finish their preseason sport following a daunting and emotional sequence involving a promising rookie nook, all the focus postgame revolved across the well being of Bolden.

“The final scenario form of, within the greater image, overrode the sport,” Invoice Belichick mentioned. “All saying a prayer for Isaiah. … Appreciated the way in which the league dealt with it. I feel that was the precise factor to do. … Form of regroup and discuss concerning the sport later. However that’s form of the place issues are for proper now.”

After saying after the sport’s early conclusion that Bolden was taken to an area hospital for remark and had feeling in his extremities, the Patriots launched one other replace simply after 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The assertion learn: “Patriots cornerback Isaiah Bolden can be held in a single day at an area hospital in Inexperienced Bay for remark. To set expectations, we plan to supply an replace on his situation by 8 a.m. on Sunday.”

“He’s been a pleasure to be round,” Slater mentioned of Bolden. “He’s a younger man with lots of expertise, however he’s a younger man that’s at all times received a smile on his face, is at all times optimistic, is at all times bringing nice vitality, nice effort to apply. And he’s been like a sponge.

“I imply, we’ve requested him to do lots for our soccer crew and he’s been keen and excited to do it. Clearly I’m biased — he’s a JSU Tiger. So I like having a HBCU man right here, particularly one which went to my dad or mum’s college. Yeah, he’s been nice. All the blokes love him. He’s match into our locker room seamlessly.”

2. First-team offense begins sturdy …

Saturday marked the primary preseason reps for Mac Jones and a number of other anticipated starters on offense, and the early returns have been optimistic.

A fumble on the Packers’ first drive of the sport gave Jones and Co. favorable subject place on their first drive, with Jones finishing two passes to Kendrick Bourne earlier than Rhamondre Stevenson punched his method into the tip zone for an early lead.

It was a optimistic begin for the Invoice O’Brien-led offense, with New England gaining a primary down off of an RPO slant from Bourne. The one miscue on the preliminary drive was a false begin on Trent Brown that sapped some early momentum.

3. … till O-zone woes sprout up 

As optimistic as New England’s begin was, the following two drives led by Jones have been utterly undone by porous play on the offensive line.

With Cole Unusual and Michael Onwenu nonetheless sidelined, the Patriots needed to reshuffle issues on their O-line as soon as once more on Saturday, with youthful gamers like Andrew Stueber, Sidy Sow, and Atonio Mafi handed prolonged reps.

It didn’t result in optimistic outcomes for the Patriots.

New England was compelled to punt on their second drive after Sow was pushed apart by Kingsley Enagbare en path to a nine-yard sack in opposition to Jones. Through the subsequent drive, Stueber was crushed clear — resulting in a strip sack in opposition to Jones and a turnover for New England.

Sure, the fortitude of New England’s O-line can’t be utterly judged till impression starters like Unusual and Onwenu are again on the sphere.

However with veteran tackles like Conor McDermott and Calvin Anderson additionally sidelined — and the early returns not precisely optimistic for New England’s subsequent crop of linemen — the Patriots’ depth on the sort out place stands as a possible Achilles heel for this roster.

And if Brown goes down with an damage? Look out.

4. Strong exhibiting from Jones

After that strip sack, Jones was pulled from the sport after three whole drives.

New England’s QB1 accomplished six of his 9 move makes an attempt for 52 yards, finishing passes to Bourne (three catches), Demario Douglas (two catches), and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Together with two third-down conversions on his closing drive, Jones uncorked a deep ball to DeVante Parker that the wideout neatly reeled in for a serious acquire.

Recognizing stress has continued to be a problem for Jones, but it surely was nonetheless a optimistic exhibiting from the Patriots QB, who had little time to throw given the O-line in entrance of him.

So far as different first-team regulars on offense, Bourne reeled in three catches for 34 yards and in addition doled out a block that sprung Stevenson for a 23-yard pickup.

Stevenson completed with 27 yards and a dashing rating on the bottom off of simply 4 makes an attempt.

5. First-team protection has ups and downs

On an evening when New England’s protection rolled out most of its starters, the outcomes have been decidedly blended.

The Patriots pounced on Jordan Love’s expensive fumble on their first drive, resulting in a restoration by Josh Uche and an eventual landing by Stevenson.

However Love later picked aside New England’s protection on Inexperienced Bay’s third drive, with the Packers’ new QB1 ending with 84 passing yards off of 5 completions with a landing.

Inexperienced Bay’s subsequent drive wasn’t all that a lot better for New England’s protection, with an eight-play, 57-yard sequence from the Packers ending with Uche dropping the sting on a Patrick Taylor landing run.

Within the first quarter alone, Inexperienced Bay averaged 4.7 yards per keep on the bottom.

A really uneven begin from a protection that figures to be the muse of no matter success New England achieves this season.

6. Bailey Zappe uneven, however conducts two scoring drives

After Jones exited the sport following his three drives, Bailey Zappe earned the remainder of New England’s snaps beneath heart. 

Regardless of solely finishing 10 of twenty-two passesthe Patriots’ main backup did account for 2 touchdowns on Saturday. After hitting Kayshon Boutte for a 42-yard landing within the second quarter, Zappe ended a 17-play, 83-yard drive by dashing into the tip zone on a 4th-and-2 play. 

J.J. Taylor (56 whole yards) served as a gentle supply of offense, particularly on that 17-play drive. He’s preventing for reps in opposition to second-year backs like Kevin Harris at this level within the preseason.

7. Malik Cunningham sees extra time at wideout 

After serving as one of many few vibrant spots on offense throughout final week’s preseason opener, Malik Cunningham continued to earn loads of offensive snaps on Saturday … simply not beneath heart.

Cunningham was primarily utilized as a large receiver as a part of New England’s second-team offense, with Zappe making a concerted effort to get him the ball throughout the second half.

Cunningham finally completed with zero catches in opposition to 5 targets, but in addition noticed a while on particular groups — particularly as a gunner and a kick returner. He didn’t see any snaps at quarterback, though it’s unclear if he would have shifted beneath heart had the sport continued. 

8. Rookie wideouts make some noise 

Demario Douglas as soon as once more noticed restricted snaps on Saturday, however nonetheless responded with two catches for 17 yards. Positive looks like he’s already made the crew at this level, particularly if the Patriots are making a concerted effort to restrict simply how a lot tape groups can get on the speedster.

Kayshon Boutte has continued to enhance from his sluggish begin in late July, with the rookie turning on the jets throughout his 42-yard landing rating within the second quarter. Positive feels just like the Patriots are going to need to maintain six receivers on this roster as soon as the preseason wraps.

9. Different absences and accidents

A number of starters on each offense and protection made their preseason debuts on Saturday, however New England was nonetheless lacking fairly a number of key contributors.

A couple of of the gamers not in uniform included Ty Montgomery, Jonathan Jones, Pierre Robust, Ronnie Perkins, Kody Russey, Cole Unusual, Conor McDermott, and Mike Gesicki. Mike Onwenu stays on the PUP checklist with Cody Davis and Trey Flowers, whereas Calvin Anderson remains to be on the NFI checklist.

Ezekiel Elliott was lively throughout Thursday’s joint apply in Inexperienced Bay, however he didn’t play on Saturday night time. Rookies Marte Mapu and Keion White additionally didn’t play.

Tyquan Thornton was additionally dominated out after showing to injure his shoulder earlier this week after hauling in a 45-yard catch from Jones throughout joint practices. According to Chris Price of The Boston Globe, Thornton is now in a “week-to-week” scenario. 

Huge receiver Tre Nixon needed to depart the sport within the first half after showing to considerably injure his shoulder. He was instantly dominated out of the competition by the crew shortly after making his method off the sphere. Not signal.  

10. Odds and ends 

A tricky little bit of luck for Christian Gonzalez, who recorded 4 tackles and performed a fairly bodily sport in his second preseason outing with the Patriots. The 2023 first-round choose had a pleasant restoration on a move break-up that ought to have led to a Patriots interception, but it surely was referred to as again on a fairly comfortable name in opposition to Gonzalez.

exhibiting from rookie punter Bryce Baringer after a fairly so-so efficiency throughout joint practices. Baringer’s first two punts went for 120 whole yards, with the 2023 sixth-round choose showcasing his highly effective boot as he tries to win a beginning gig in opposition to veteran Corliss Waitman.

Not one of the best sport from second-year defensive finish Sam Roberts, who drew an unnecessary-roughness penalty after falling atop Love after the Packers QB was already within the midst of a slide.