There wasn’t much positive to take away from Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins. There was no Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis and Bill Belichick say most of his starters, but the results of the game was still disappointing. After dominating the Redskins in practice, the Patriots struggled on all sides of the ball in a 23-6 loss behind starter Ryan Mallett.
It was good to see big Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly back on the field, but the defense barely showed up in the first few possessions. The Redskins were able to run the ball down the field and the pass rush was nonexistent even with backup quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy in the game. Veteran newcomers Brandon Browner, Will Smith and James Anderson got significant snaps in the game, but overall the team didn’t show much energy, which could be attributed to their intense practice schedule and also due to the fact that it was just the first game of the preseason.
Offensively, the team didn’t do much till the second half. Mallett got an opportunity to show what he could do, but inconsistent play by the offensive line along with a few sporadic throws in the dirt paved the way for a frustrating night for Mallett. Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins had a couple nice catches and fullback James Devlin had a nice catch and run out of the backfield. Otherwise, there was not much flow to the offense. The Patriots only score of the game came on a nice touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to wide receiver Brian Tyms. On a night where the team struggled, there were a few bright spots.
Jimmy Garoppolo: The rookie second-round pick outshined Mallett. The offense really didn’t get moving until he entered the game. He almost connected with Tyms in the third quarter on a nice pattern down the field. He did, however, connect with Tyms on a few occasions, including the team’s lone score. Overall, Garoppolo displayed a quick release and an ability to escape the pocket. He looks much better in the game than he has during practice.
Brian Tyms: The wide receiver shined on a night where there wasn’t much else working for the Patriots offense. Tyms, who signed with the team last month, has had an impressive camp so far. He continued to impress during the game with the touchdown pass from Garoppolo and appeared to be robbed on a deep pass from the rookie quarterback. Tyms made a circus-type catch in the end zone that was ruled incomplete. A few more performances like this and he could work his way on the team. He finished with 5 catches for 119 yards.
Malcolm Butler: The undrafted free-agent rookie cornerback displayed a knack for finding the football. He did have a couple of bad plays, including drawing a flag for a late hit out of bounds, but overall he was aggressive and made a nice play on a ball that he could’ve easily intercepted. Butler is a player who could find his way on the practice squad.