Undrafted rookies Jacob Hollister, Austin Carr shine in preseason debuts

Undrafted rookies Jacob Hollister, Austin Carr shine in preseason debuts

FOXBORO -- Why would you want to see Rob Gronkowski when you could see Jacob Hollister? Why would you want to see Brandin Cooks when you could see Austin Carr?


For a lucky 66,829, they dodged having to sit through a boring rerun of established stars and instead saw a couple of undrafted rookies with various chances of making the team do the damn thing in Thursday’s preseason opener. 

Hollister, who was signed after the draft along with twin brother Cody, led the Pats with 116 receiving yards on seven receptions. The tight end was utilized heavily by Jimmy Garoppolo, who connected with him five times. The Wyoming product is pushing for a roster spot behind Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen. His competition includes James O’Shaughnessy, for whom the Pats traded during the draft. 

In addition to showing he could catch the ball, Hollister showed he could hold onto it. Hollister elevated to make a 16-yard catch over the middle as he was getting hit, but that was one of several big hits he took on the night. 

“I think it was good,” Hollister said. “I think I needed those couple of hits to get me going, those first big hits of the year. I got riled up a couple of times, but no big deal.”

Speaking of elevating, Carr made a nice snag in the back of the end zone to cap an impressive second-quarter drive in which he also made a great catch along the sidelines. He finished the game with five catches for 44 yards on seven targets. 

“I was talking with the guys and I just wanted to get my first catch, my first hit, my first tackle and it’s all done now,” Carr said. “I twas tons of fun. I love this game.” 

The firsts may be out of the way, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to get any easier for the well-rounded Carr. He remains an extreme longshot to make the Pats given that New England already has (deep breath) Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Matthew Slater, but the Northwestern product is used to forcing his way onto teams given that he was a walk-on in college. 

Carr’s certainly got a tougher road ahead of him than Hollister, but both should feel good about their preseason debuts. With so many guys in camp, all undrafted rookies can do is is try and run with any opportunity given to them. Hollister and Carr did that Thursday. 

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?


BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

0:43 - Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley talk about Bill Belichick saying it’s “incomprehensible” that people expect the Patriots to be on the same level as last year at this point in the season.

11:55 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss J.R. Smith’s comments about the Celtics not being a threat to the Cavaliers.

15:38 - Abby Chin, Chris Mannix, and A. Sherrod Blakely join BST from Cleveland to talk about Marcus Smart and the Celtics failing to agree to a contract extension, making him a restricted free agent in July. They also preview Tuesday’s Celtics-Cavaliers season opener.

19:25 - Reports say Alex Cora is the frontrunner for the Red Sox managerial position, but Brad Ausmus interviewed for the position on Monday. Who is the right man for the job? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans end 11-game skid to Colts with 36-22 win


MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans end 11-game skid to Colts with 36-22 win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Marcus Mariota threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor with 5:29 left , and the Tennessee Titans beat the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 on Monday night to snap an 11-game skid tied for the NFL's longest active losing streak against one team.

Mariota didn't move around much on a cool night after missing a game with a strained left hamstring, but still managed to throw for a season-high 306 yards. He completed each of his three passes on the drive that ended with Taylor's tiebreaking score.

The Titans (3-3) also snapped a two-game skid with the win.

Jacoby Brissett tried to rally the Colts (2-4) to a second straight overtime. But Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard forced Brissett out of bounds shy of the first down marker on fourth-and-inches with 2:19 left. Coach Chuck Pagano lost his challenge.

Derrick Henry then clinched the win for Tennessee with a 72-yard TD run with 47 seconds left. Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, finished with a career-high 131 yards on 19 carries. DeMarco Murray also scored.

The Titans looked like the NFL's worst scoring defense in the first half instead of Indianapolis, with Brissett directing the Colts to a 13-9 halftime lead. John Simon then intercepted Mariota's first pass of the third quarter and returned it 26 yards for a TD.

But the Titans forced the Colts to go three-and-out on three of their first four drives of the second half, and Avery Williamson stripped tight end Jack Doyle of the ball after a catch.