ReFo: Panthers @ Patriots, Preseason Week 3
Penalties have been the story of the preseason so far, making the relative lack of flags in last night’s game a welcome development. With just 15 accepted penalties, the flow of the game was greatly improved.
New England thrashed the Panthers in this one. After being forced to punt on their first two drives, the Patriots scored on their next six, and kept Carolina off the scoreboard until after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.
Carolina Panthers — Performances of Note
Starting Offensive Line, -7.3 Run Blocking Grade
Breakdown: Neither team ran the ball well, but New England’s front seven really had their way with the Panthers’ starters on the offensive line. RT Garry Williams was the worst offender (-2.9), but starting tight ends Ed Dickson (-1.7) and Greg Olsen (-2.3) did not do their running backs any favors either.
Signature Stat: After removing rushing yardage from QB scrambles, Carolina totaled just 37 yards on 16 rushes, and the longest run by a Panthers HB was 5 yards.
Antoine Cason, LCB, -3.1
Breakdown: Cason, the presumed starter at left cornerback, recorded a game-worst -3.3 coverage grade, his second game of the preseason with a coverage grade in the red.
Signature Plays: Cason had trouble with former Panther Brandon LaFell on consecutive plays in the first quarter. After being called for pass interference at 3:48, Cason was beaten again by LaFell on a 9 (go) route down the right sideline, but was bailed out by an overthrown pass by Patriots QB Ryan Mallett.
Joe Webb, QB, +2.3
Breakdown: Webb earned the highest overall grade of any Panther on offense, and he did it in just four snaps. After entering the game at the 2:00 minute warning in the fourth quarter, Webb quickly led the team to its only scoring drive of the game. Webb has impressed this preseason, earning green grades in every game for a cumulative +5.9 overall grade.
Signature Plays: After an incompletion on his first pass of the night, Webb completed a pair of beautiful 30+ yard passes on his next two throws. His back-shoulder throw to WR Toney Clemons at 1:31 in the fourth quarter was located perfectly, beating CB Brandon Browner’s tight coverage near the sideline.
New England Patriots — Performances of Note
Chandler Jones, OLB, +3.8
Breakdown: Jones earned a +3.3 run defense grade and a +1.4 pass rushing grade after recording two sacks and five run stops in just over one half of work. However, Jones’ -1.0 coverage grade shows that he still has some development to do if the Patriots plan on using him as a 3-4 OLB on a full-time basis.
Signature Play: On a 3rd-and-2 at 6:07 in the first quarter, Jones beat Panthers’ LT Byron Bell to the inside for his second sack of the game. Bell was flagged for an illegal hands to the face penalty on the play, but Jones was still able to get Newton to the ground less than three seconds after the ball was snapped.
Logan Mankins, LG, +4.5
Breakdown: Mankins did not allow a single pressure in pass protection, but it was his work in the run game that earns him a spot here. The veteran appears to be in midseason form already.
Signature Stat: Mankins recorded a game-best +3.2 run blocking grade.
Patrick Chung, SS, -1.6
Breakdown: Chung started at strong safety for the second time this preseason, and while he is a solid run defender and probably the hardest hitter in the New England secondary, he still has trouble in coverage. The former Duck’s coverage grade was in the red for the second straight week (-1.7), and his cumulative preseason coverage grade now stands at -3.3.
Signature Play: At 13:51 in the 3rd quarter, Chung lined up in man coverage across from TE Greg Olsen in the slot. Olsen beat Chung on a go route down the seam, only to be overthrown by Newton. While this play will not show up on the stat sheet, a better throw likely would have resulted in a 72-yard touchdown pass.
PFF Game Ball
Chandler Jones was the most dominant player on the field for either team last night, earning a +3.8 grade in just 29 snaps.