Patriots inventory watch: Who’s rising and falling after preseason finale?


A number of gamers on the roster bubble impressed Friday towards the Titans, particularly on protection.

New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) plays against the Tennessee Titans during an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
Bailey Zappe struggled throughout his heavy reps towards the Titans on Friday. (AP Picture/John Amis)

The Patriots’ preseason slate has lastly come to an in depth, with New England’s subsequent matchup set for the Sept. 10 season opener towards the Eagles at Gillette Stadium.

However there’s nonetheless loads of work to be executed in Foxborough, with Invoice Belichick and his workers already within the technique of chopping New England’s roster right down to its 53-man grouping for the common season.

Because the Patriots’ player-personnel workers begin to whittle down the roster, right here’s our newest roster inventory watch after final week’s practices and preseason finale towards the Titans.


WR Kayshon Boutte

It might sound curious to provide Boutte a “rising” inventory designation, contemplating he barely logged any snaps on Friday towards the Titans.

However given his standing for many of this preseason as a roster-bubble participant, these restricted reps in New England’s remaining preseason sport would possibly sign that the previous LSU wideout has proven sufficient to Belichick and Co. to warrant a roster spot.

After a sluggish begin in minicamp and the beginning of coaching camp, Boutte has made the many of the reps handed to him, growing into a gentle possession receiver with some explosiveness.

The previous five-star receiver impressed throughout New England’s preseason reps towards the Packers on Aug. 19, turning a seemingly innocent inside slant right into a 42-yard landing after turning on the afterburners towards Inexperienced Bay’s protection.

He then adopted it up by catching 9 passes off of 9 targets throughout New England’s practices final Tuesday and Wednesday, together with two red-zone touchdowns off of throws from Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.

Belichick was complimentary of Boutte’s displaying throughout camp when requested on Saturday morning.

“As camp went on, appeared to get stronger and extra productive each in observe and video games,” Belichick stated. “Actually in all of the areas that he labored into, in order that was very encouraging. He confirmed an explosive capacity on the sector when he performed.

“So he’s had a great camp. We’ll check out all the things right here as we put issues collectively right here over the weekend and heading into the common season, however yeah, Kayshon has had a powerful camp.”

LB Calvin Munson

No participant might need helped his case extra for a spot on the 53-man roster than Munson on Friday evening.

Although Munson is projected to be extra of a special-teams asset as soon as the common season begins, the 28-year-old linebacker was handed a ton of reps at linebacker through the preseason finale.

He made essentially the most of his alternative, recording 10 tackles (one being a four-yard sort out for loss) whereas additionally choosing off Titans QB Malik Willis.

With Mack Wilson struggling towards the run throughout his restricted preseason reps at linebacker, Munson has an opportunity to leapfrog him on the 53-man roster.

Already a stable protection possibility on particular groups, Munson confirmed that he can add some worthwhile depth at a linebacker spot that will get fairly skinny behind Ja’Whaun Bentley.

LB Ronnie Perkins

Drafted within the third spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma, Perkins’ potential as a pass-rushing asset up within the NFL ranks has by no means been in query.

However the 23-year-old linebacker’s capacity to stay on the sector has been his major hurdle coming into his third season in Foxborough.

After an undisclosed damage prompted Perkins to overlook extra parts of this summer season’s camp and preseason contests, Perkins was in a position to log regular reps towards Tennessee on Friday.

He was a drive all through the evening, touchdown a quarterback hit and recording each 4 hurries and three stops in New England’s loss. He additionally will seemingly get featured in New England’s movie evaluate after puking proper earlier than a defensive snap — and subsequently making a sort out simply seconds later.

On condition that Perkins’ solely true limitation has been his well being, Friday’s displaying stands as a step in the suitable route for a promising participant nonetheless trying to log his first snaps in an NFL regular-season sport.

DL Sam Roberts

After an undisciplined displaying towards the Packers that included a expensive 15-yard penalty off a late hit towards Inexperienced Bay QB Jordan Love, Roberts appeared like a possible roster-cut casualty going into the ultimate week of preseason play.

However the 2022 sixth-round pick of Northwest Missouri State rebounded in spectacular vogue towards the Titans, recording a run stuff, two tackles for loss, and a sack.

Even for his dimension (6-foot-5, 300 kilos), Roberts has a excessive motor throughout pass-rush conditions whereas additionally bringing the thump towards the run sport. With Carl Davis standing as the primary of many cuts for New England within the coming days, Roberts ought to have a roster spot locked up.

Honorable Mentions: Marte Mapu, Riley Reiff, Anfernee Jennings, Bryce Baringer


QB Bailey Zappe

With Mac Jones and most of New England’s starters getting the evening off on Friday in Tennessee, many of the reps beneath heart went to the Patriots’ anticipated backup QB Bailey Zappe.

It didn’t go so effectively.

Sure, Zappe wasn’t helped out by one more porous offensive line in entrance of him. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old QB struggled to execute on an evening the place New England generated simply 79 whole internet yards on offense.

Zappe completed the sport 8-for-15 for 57 yards with zero touchdowns and nil interceptions. He was sacked 4 occasions and fumbled thrice — certainly one of which led to the Titans gaining possession. 

“It’s soccer. Stuff goes to occur. Persons are going to be switching out and in,” Zappe stated postgame. “It’s my job, the QB’s job, to exit and play soccer. And right now, there was some good, some dangerous. I positively might have executed higher with a few of these issues. However, it doesn’t matter who’s on the market. It’s a matter of execution. That straight displays on us as quarterbacks.”

It’s been a tough preseason and camp up to now for Zappe, who has struggled to stack optimistic observe days collectively whereas working primarily with New England’s second-team offense.

It certain appears like a very long time in the past that we had been discussing a possible QB competitors at first of camp.

QB Malik Cunningham

There’s nonetheless rather a lot to love about what Cunningham can provide the Patriots as a possible gadget participant, particularly if given reps at QB throughout sure conditions. 

His athleticism was on full show throughout his standout fourth-quarter efficiency towards the Texans in New England’s preseason opener. However a few of that momentum has dissipated over the previous few weeks, particularly as Cunningham’s reps at QB have began to dry up.

After not taking any snaps beneath heart on Aug. 19 towards the Packers, he solely took half in two sequence within the third and fourth quarters towards the Titans. As QB, Cunningham went 0-for-2 on the throws, whereas additionally gaining one yard on the bottom.

The Patriots have utilized Cunningham in a number of different spots throughout the depth chart. However his uncooked play at large receiver and lack of manufacturing at that place makes it arduous to justify his spot on a New England roster which may already carry six wideouts.

Finally, the Patriots might attempt to sneak Cunningham onto the group’s observe squad, the place he must be helpful as a scout-team QB and will likely be given extra alternatives to hone his versatile skillset.

Nonetheless, that fourth-quarter displaying towards Houston might immediate one of many different 31 NFL groups to assert Cunningham off waivers earlier than he makes it to the observe squad.

“There’s a number of stuff that I nonetheless must work on, however I really feel like I put sufficient good things on movie to let the coaches make that call,” Cunningham stated postgame on Friday. “It’s not my resolution. I can solely management what I can management. Simply hold my head down and hold working.”

OT Andrew Stueber and Patriots offensive line

It was one more tough evening for second-year sort out Andrew Stueber and a patchwork offensive line on Friday evening.

In whole, the Titans racked up six sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and three compelled fumbles towards New England, with Stueber specifically struggling at left sort out.

Every week after Packers LB Kingsley Enagbare beat him clear en path to a strip sack towards Mac Jones, Stueber labored towards the Titans go rush — permitting one more strip sack on the primary play of New England’s second offensive drive on Friday.

Later within the first quarter, Stueber was knocked for one more sack after Rashad Weaver slipped previous him, stalling one other drive and forcing New England to punt.

CB Jack Jones

It’s been an fascinating preseason for Jack Jones, and that’s wanting past his ongoing authorized points.

All issues thought-about, the second-year nook has had a powerful camp as one of many group’s most utilized boundary choices. In accordance with Mark Daniels of, Jones led all Patriots gamers throughout 18 coaching camp and preseason practices with 11 go breakups.

Jones has the ability set and on-field consciousness to be a difference-maker as a ball hawk in New England’s secondary.

However Friday’s preseason finale was a sport to neglect for Jones. Regardless of some robust performs towards the run within the early going, Jones was burned a number of occasions in protection — coughing up a 30-yard reception and getting flagged for a 32-yard defensive go interference on what was an under-thrown ball by Willis.

He was additionally hit by a nasty stiff arm from Titans RB Tyjae Spears that ultimately resulted in a 19-yard achieve.

One factor price noting was that Jones noticed a ton of reps towards the Titans, an odd distinction provided that a number of different anticipated contributors on New England’s protection got the evening off.

If the NFL opts to levy a suspension or different self-discipline towards Jones for his weapons cost earlier this summer season, it is sensible that New England wished to provide Jones an prolonged look in his newest preseason outing.

(Dis)honorable Mentions: James Ferentz, Matt Sokol, Kevin Harris, Sidy Sow