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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron Garrity

The Morning After: Is it time to worry about the Patriots?

Last night, the New England Patriots played their final preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, where they struggled mightily against second stringers in a 23-6 loss.

It is worth noting that Josh McDaniels’ Raiders have had more time to prepare for the season because he is considered a first-year head coach. The Raiders also played in the Hall of Fame game, meaning they had one extra game for their team to get up to game speed.

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It’s time for “The Morning After” and my reaction to what we saw, after getting some much-needed sleep.

Who will fill the James White role if Ty Montgomery is down for an extended period of time?

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The third-down running back role is an extremely important one across the league but especially for the New England Patriots and their second year quarterback. Ty Montgomery was carted off the sideline last night with an apparent ankle injury, and the severity is unknown.

With that being said, Rhamondre Stevenson and JJ Taylor saw increased workloads in third-down scenarios and looked fairly competent. Stevenson especially looked very good, and if Montgomery is down for an extended period of time, he should fill in just fine. With this injury, JJ Taylor and Kevin Harris have the chance of making the initial 53-man roster.

The Offense. Not a great look

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The Patriots offense struggled all night, failing to find the end zone and putting any type of drive together. Although it looks rough, we saw more work from the ones than we have seen all preseason long.  The blocking schemes are coming together, but it still looks like there are some communication and consistency issues, specifically with Isaiah Wynn, who looked pretty rough against backups last night.

Mac Jones had a bad interception. We get that. But his mobility in the pocket looks a lot better than last season and should keep some teams honest if they decided to go man-to-man. The receivers are getting more separation than years prior, but there just isn’t enough time for Mac Jones to allow things to shake out, which is making it difficult for the Patriots to move down the field.

Another issue is that Jakobi Meyers went to the medical tent and didn’t return. There is no word on Ty Montgomery or Jakobi Meyers as of now, but it would be a huge blow to the offense if Montgomery, Damien Harris, Meyers, and Thornton are all injured to begin the season, especially considering the struggles they have been going through when fully healthy.

Although it doesn’t look great, I am not worried and have faith for this season, as the defense should keep them in most games.

The Defensive Jones'

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, and Jonathan Jones all had fairly good games. Jack Jones was a ball hawk all night long and should compete for some snaps with Terrance Mitchell for boundary corner reps. I also see some deep safety upside in Jack Jones, and he could eventually become the heir apparent to Devin McCourty when he decides to hang it up.

Marcus Jones looked great in nickel packages, especially in the slot. He was extremely athletic and made great reads all night. The rookie third-round draft pick was one of the more electric players in the past draft class and has flashed his upside as a returner and corner. He should make the roster, and I believe he will ultimately become the starting slot corner and punt returner.

Sam Roberts isn't getting enough praise

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This dude was a beast on Friday night, constantly driving back the middle of the line with ease. He does a lot that doesn’t show up on the box score, but I thought Sam Roberts was constantly blowing up plays and forcing Las Vegas to roll out and improvise. Mix this with special teams upside, and he should ultimately be on this roster come Week 1. I like LaBryan Ray and Damarcus Mitchell, too. So it will be a tough call come Tuesday, but I think Mitchell, Ray and Roberts will at least be on the practice squad this season.

Matt Sokol; TE3?

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Sokol played a lot last night and looked good in pass protection, run blocking, receiving, and was extremely hungry on special teams. I think Sokol is the more complete tight end compared to Devin Asiasi, and I ultimately think that he will be on this roster over Asiasi. Jalen Wydermyer also had some solid reps and seems like a project for the Patriots they can stash on the practice squad, but I think Asiasi’s time is done here. He isn’t terrible, but he cannot stay on the field to show it.

Sokol has familiarity with Patricia and has the most prototypical Tight end build besides Hunter Henry. A willing special-teamer and blocker should earn a spot on this roster.

Brenden Schooler is a BEAST.

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Brenden Schooler should be on this roster as the heir to Matthew Slater. I’m not saying he is identical to the special teams NFL Hall of Famer of the future, but he has a high motor and seems to be in on every play. He played decently when he was tasked to handle safety duties and should provide some versatility there for the season. Schooler is making his case each week, and I don’t think he would make it past waivers if released.

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