NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
It was tough to gleam much of anything from Wednesday night’s lacklaster final preseason game.
So, I’ll make this one brief, because I think we’re all sick of thinking about the preseason in general and especially that boring 6-3 game.
I’ll also have my final roster projection, secondary charting and a couple Alfonzo Dennard play breakdowns after the jump.
-I’ll start out with the secondary. Overall, I thought they played well. Here’s what I found while charting their targets:
Koutouvides – 1/1 5 yds
Wilson – 1/3 3 yds
Moore – 3/4 28 yds
Dowling – 2/3 18 yds
Tarpinian – 1/1 9 yds
Dennard – 2/5 40 yds 1 deflection
Carpenter – 1/1 13 yds
Cunningham – 1/1 9 yds
Ihedigbo – 1/2 16 yds
Rivera – 1/4 8 yds
Francis – 0/1
I think Sterling Moore has struggled overall this preseason and it showed early against Victor Cruz. He was dreadfully out of position in the one target he had that wasn’t caught. He hasn’t looked at all like the player we saw last preseason.
Dennard made one very boneheaded play. Belichick always pleads to “Do your job.” On this given play, Dennard tried to do more than his job.
He was lined up split out against Jerrel Jernigan:
Started the play correctly by tailing him:
Saw David Carr start to scramble/look up field and come off his man, even though at that point Carpenter, Francis and Cunningham had better position to come up and drill Carr.
Realized his mistake that he had come off his man coverage:
Got beat for 25 yards:
This is Bill screaming, “IT WAS F***ING MAN TO MAN!”
This is Bill talking to Dennard at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Fortunately three snaps later Dennard forced a fumble on defense, and then made this play later in the game:
Dennard was lined up covering split out wide, Moore was on the slot. Dennard broke as soon as he saw Carr start to pass.
And broke extremely fast to the WR, getting there before Moore could.
And sent both players flying.
I think Dennard will be fine, as long as he remembers to stay in man.
Other than Dennard and Moore, I thought that Mike Rivera looked a lot better in coverage than last game. He was doing a nice job sticking with his guys, especially when he was covering TEs. Rivera wound up with 12 tackles and could be a surprise addition to the roster. He definitely had a nice final showing.
-I thought Bolden looked fine out there, though I’d like to see a little more burst out of him and less hesitation to go up the middle. That’s the type of back he’s going to need to be if he wants to make this team. I thought Demps looked good, he’ll be a weapon by the end of the season.
-The Pats offense was otherwise too vanilla to take anything away, the offensive line looked better in general, though Marcus Cannon still had his struggles. Jeremiah Warren and Dennis Dixon also struggled up the middle and won’t be long for this roster.
-Jermaine Cunningham was a man possessed out there again. Maybe he just ups his game against the NFC East. Between Belichick praising him for his work in the offseason and him being the most impressive pass rusher on the team this preseason, I see no way he misses the 53 man roster. Justin Francis and Trevor Scott looked good at DE too. The DE I’ve been the least impressed with has been Jake Bequette, but given that he was a third round pick, it would be tough to cut him.
-The Pats run defense continues to be impressive. I know that Belichick has been building his defense to stop the run recently, but they’re still impressing me greatly this preseason. They could have a very solid rotation at DT with Wilfork, Love, Brace and Deaderick all great run defenders. Cunningham was doing some damage in pass rush from DT.
-The Pats did a nice job of limiting mistakes with just four penalties and (EDIT) two turnovers. Of course, they still lost, but I’ll chalk that up to a lack of an offensive game plan. Neither Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer have looked spectacular through four preseason games. Though Mallett’s looked better.
Now, here’s my final roster prediction before last cuts:
QB: Brady, Hoyer, Mallett
RB: Ridley, Woodhead, Vereen, Demps, Bolden
WR: Lloyd, Welker, Edelman, Slater, Branch
TE: Gronkowski, Hernandez, Fells
OL: Solder, Mankins, Wendell, Connolly, Vollmer, Cannon, Koppen, McDonald, Thomas
DT: Wilfork, Love, Brace, Deaderick
DE: Jones, Ninkovich, Cunningham, Scott, Bequette, Francis
LB: Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Carpenter, Koutouvides
CB: McCourty, Arrington, Dowling, Moore, Dennard, Cole
S: Chung, Gregory, Wilson, Ebner
ST: Gostkowski, Mesko, Aiken
I predict that Gaffney will be back before the season starts and that either Francis or Bolden will be slipped through waivers onto the practice squad after every other team’s practice squad is full.