Grades for Patriots-Panthers

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Panthers-Patriots preseason game.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Grades for Patriots-Panthers

Here are the top takeaways, and the top 5 grades for each team, from the preseason encounter between the Panthers and the Patriots from Friday night:


–The numbers may not be striking for Cam Newton (+5.3) but the Panthers’ signal-caller was on point with some terrific throws in this game and had some big plays taken away in a trio of drops. Arguably Newton’s best two throws of the night were dropped: by Greg Olsen on a post in the first quarter, and by Philly Brown on a stop-and-go late in the second quarter.

–Missing almost their entire starting defensive line, the Panthers needed a backup to stand up and be counted against the Patriots, and second-year defensive end Kony Ealy (+2.6) produced another strong display as a pass-rusher. After a disappointing rookie season, Ealy collected a sack for the second week in a row and racked up three pressures on his 16 pass rushes.

–The absence of starters in front of him didn’t stop LB Luke Kuechly (+2.4) from turning in a strong display. In 26 snaps, Kuechly registered three stops while earning a positive grade as a run defender, in coverage and as a pass-rusher.

Top 5 graded players:

QB Cam Newton (+5.3)

DE Mario Addison (+3.7)

DT Dwan Edwards (+3.0)

DE Kony Ealy (+2.6)

LB Luke Kuechly (+2.4)


–The Patriots’ 2014 first-round pick had a minimal impact as a rookie, but based upon his fine preseason form his second season is going to be a different story. Once again Dominique Easley (+2.8) put in a strong showing, earning five pressures (1 sack, 1 hit, 3 hurries) as a pass-rusher along with continued solid run defense.

–After a disastrous first pass that should have been intercepted for a touchdown, Jimmy Garoppolo (+0.6) rebounded with a solid performance for the Patriots’ backups. The majority of Garoppolo’s passing attempts came between the numbers, as he completed 11 of 13 pass attempts for 75 yards and his 1 touchdown on throws aimed over the middle.

–Protecting the blind side was a problem for the Patriots all game long. Starter Nate Solder (-2.3) struggled to control Kony Ealy, surrendering a hit and four hurries in 17 snaps in pass protection, while backup Chris Martin (-5.5) surrendered four hurries also in his 19 snaps in pass protection.

Top 5 graded players:

DB Dax Swanson (+3.0)

DT Dominique Easley (+2.8)

OLB Chandler Jones (+2.8)

LB James Morris (+2.0)

OT Sebastian Vollmer (+1.6)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • King Pelé

    Easley is poised for a great season, Malcom Brown otherwise is a work in progress. I was expecting him to be the immediate replacement for Vince Wilfork but now after what i’m seeing in this pre season i’m not expecting much contribution from him in his rookie season. I guess Siliga, not Brown, will be our main run stopper in the interior d-line, not saying this is a bad thing though, especially considering the potential he has shown on his first seasons.

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