The primary Patriots preseason recreation didn’t inform us a complete lot, however there nonetheless have been some hints


Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Patriots operating again Pierre Robust Jr. stiff-armed a Texan on a first-quarter carry. Barry Chin/Globe Employees

I’ll admit it. I feel the protection of NFL preseason — video games and particularly practices — is somewhat a lot. Typically a lot a lot.

This development in recent times of monitoring the passing stats of quarterbacks in (Allen Iverson voice) follow is the bridge means too far for me. Too typically context will get misplaced whereas we feed the content material machine. Bailey Zappe isn’t threatening, not to mention taking, Mac Jones’s job as a result of he went 12 for 15 sooner or later and Jones was 11 for 17 with a decide, you recognize?

Anyway, now that I’ve chased most of you practice-stat-spewing whippersnappers off my garden, I’ll acknowledge this: It was satisfying to see the 2023 Patriots take the sector Thursday night time of their preseason debut, even when the sport itself — a 20-9 loss to the Texans through which many of the Patriots’ core gamers have been sideline bystanders — was one thing of a snoozer.

The Patriots revealed some issues and reminded us of others. There aren’t any grand conclusions to be drawn, not but, not till the total varsity participates.

(For instance: Daniel Ekuale and Anfernee Jennings have been in every single place within the first half. I’m undecided meaning something apart from they have been two Patriots defenders who may be happy with how their preseason started.)

Nonetheless, of their very first soccer recreation since their season-ending 35-22 loss to the Payments on Jan. 8, there have been loads of clues, hints, and even confirmations relating to who these Patriots at the moment are and what they could turn into.

Listed below are three observations, with the primary being the one I’m most sure about:

· Keion White goes to be an issue: Even when you’re one who tries to mood enthusiasm on what you see in preseason, it’s not possible to not come away from Thursday’s recreation with speedy excessive hopes for the huge rookie defensive finish out of Georgia Tech.

The second-round decide popped in a Jamie Collins how-can-someone-so-big-be-so-athletic? means, whether or not he was operating down Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (the No. 2 total decide) from behind on a third-and-4 play within the first quarter, or burying operating again Dare Ogunbowale within the second quarter whereas he was making an attempt to get better a dropped pitch.

I perceive now why the Patriots have been stated to be contemplating him with their first-round decide, and it seems like they hit the jackpot within the second spherical. Can’t wait to see how Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick deploy him.

· The rookie class total is super-athletic: OK, so perhaps we’ll depart kicker Chad Ryland and punter Brice Baringer out of our conclusion right here, if solely due to the positions they play. But it surely’s obvious that the Patriots prioritized their total athleticism within the draft.

Christian Gonzalez, a no brainer of a decide when he fell to the Patriots within the first spherical, seemed the a part of Day 1 beginning cornerback. He did take a pop from Texans receiver Steven Sims on the primary play from scrimmage, however later knocked the ball away from Sims after a catch over the center. Had the free ball stayed inbounds, it might need resulted in a turnover.

Gonzalez goes to have his ups and downs simply based mostly on the place he performs and the standard of receivers he’ll face (Sauce Gardner varieties at cornerback come round as soon as a technology) however he seems to be precisely what the Patriots wanted.

Who else? Nicely, Isaiah Bolden almost took again the second-half kickoff for a landing. Perhaps he did study a couple of tips of the return recreation enjoying for Deion Sanders at Jackson State.

I hoped to see extra from late-round receivers Demario Douglas (a dazzler in camp) and Kayshon Boutte. A well-known custom of coaching camp is getting connected to an unheralded receiver, however for each David Givens or Julian Edelman, there are a dozen Bam Childresses, Brian Tymses, and Shockmain Davises. I’m nonetheless shopping for inventory in Douglas, although.

And keep in mind this: Linebacker/security Marte Mapu, who stands out as the most athletic of all the newcomers, didn’t even play.

· The Patriots want one other operating again: Rhamondre Stevenson’s workload final season as far and away the Patriots’ finest offensive participant wasn’t overwhelming: He had 210 carries and 69 receptions whereas enjoying in 17 video games. However the unimaginative offense and a line that struggled to run-block conspired to ensure that so a lot of Stevenson’s yards have been hard-earned. He took means too many lumps.

With Damien Harris, whom the Patriots ought to have stored, matriculating on an inexpensive deal to the Payments, second-year backs Kevin Harris and Pierre Robust have an opportunity to tackle a much bigger position. However even when they enhance, the dropoff from Stevenson could be large.

The Patriots could be higher off bringing in a much bigger title to help Stevenson, with essentially the most notable possibility being former Dallas star Ezekiel Elliott. Let’s get that accomplished earlier than the following preseason recreation, we could, Invoice?