What we learned Thursday night
FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hit takeaways from Thursday night's preseason Patriots loss to the Jaguars, 31-24.
THE QB WE REMEMBER
What Jimmy Garoppolo did in the two-minute drill to end the first half -- going 7-for-7 with long-shots to make the roster at receiver and backups on the offensive line in front of him -- was stellar. "A great communicator on the field and very composed," rookie wideout Austin Carr said after the game of his quarterback. Garoppolo's throw to Jacob Hollister down the seam, which was open after Garoppolo pump-faked to the opposite side of the field, was one of a handful of his impressive plays on the night.
After making contested catches throughout camp, Carr continued that trend Thursday. His touchdown catch in the back of the end zone at the end of the first half was the highlight of the night for the Patriots offense. But don't forget about his 20-yard, toe-tapping grab that helped set up the touchdown moments earlier. It's a deep receiver group in New England, but Carr did nothing but help himself should a spot open up for him by the end of the summer.
Jacob Hollister is making a play for the No. 3 tight-end role on the Patriots roster behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen. He consistently found himself open in the middle of the field and made athletic catches on passes that forced him to make last-minute adjustments. Hollister was also able to hold onto the football despite taking some big hits -- something that will go a long way in terms of earning the trust of his quarterbacks.
HIGH AND HARD
Jacoby Brissett went 8-for-13 for 88 yards in just over a quarter of work. He had multiple incompletions that sailed on him -- not including his Hail Mary at the end of the game that flew out of the back of the end zone -- which has been a trend during camp. Asked if those were at all due to too much adrenaline, Brissett answered, "You know, I just go back to my mechanics and work on that. Next time that opportunity comes, just make sure I hit it."
The Patriots continue to give Harvey Langi all kinds of opportunities to show what he can do. Langi was on the kickoff, punt and kick-return units, and he saw a significant amount of time on the left edge. One play that stood out was his ability to chase down from behind a Jaguars run that was strung out to the right side of the defensive formation. That's the type of effort play that could help his cause as he pushes for a roster spot.
The Jaguars completed two long passes (97 and 42 yards) in Cyrus Jones' direction that ended up going for touchdowns. The first was completed after Jones turned to find the football and appeared to lose a step or two. The second occurred while the Patriots were in what looked like a zone coverage. Jordan Richards was the safety on Jones' side of the field, and he appeared to get to the play late. Jones was used extensively as a return man and saw time at safety toward the end of the game. Bill Belichick noted that the team did not have enough safeties to finish the game, forcing Jones into that role.
BIG-PLAY BREAKDOWN PART TWO
Richards was also involved on a long Jaguars touchdown run when he took a bad angle that resulted in the Patriots losing their last line of defense. Elandon Roberts seemed to get lost near the line of scrimmage on the same play. That was something that appeared to happen to Roberts on a handful of occasions over the course of the night. He's shown up in a positive way from time to time this camp due to his aggressiveness in the run game, but when that borders on over-aggressiveness it has led to big plays.
LEFT TACKLE LETDOWN
LaAdrian Waddle allowed a sack of Garoppolo to Yannick Ngakoue when his cut-block wasn't enough to slow down the second-year man from Maryland. "You give up a sack? O-line, man. One bad play is one too many," Waddle said after. Cameron Fleming didn't seem to fare much better during his reps at left tackle, but he was able to get out in front of a screen pass to KJ Maye down by the goal line in the third quarter that led to a touchdown. It was interesting to hear Waddle's name called as the eligible tight end Thursday night when that has been a role Fleming has manned for the Patriots many times over the last few seasons.
Kony Ealy saw action early on in New England's second group of defensive ends. He was placed on the right edge while rookie Derek Rivers took on the left side. Ealy was quiet, not getting much in the way of push whether he was aligned to the outside or working on the interior. He said after the game that he was still trying to pick up the techniques he's been taught in New England, but he feels as though he's headed in the right direction. If he can't start to become more of an impactful player this preseason, however, his roster spot could be in jeopardy.
Deatrich Wise -- who has been the team's top rookie in camp and one of its best defensive linemen to this point -- left the game with a head injury in the second quarter. That's a tough blow to player who has been among the team's fastest risers, but it's also a blow to a position group that is looking to replace Rob Ninkovich and has little in the way of known commodities outside of Trey Flowers.
BALL SECURITY . . . JOB SECURITY
DJ Foster's three-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter showed his speed to get to the edge, but his fumble in the third quarter will leave a sour taste in his mouth. In a crowded Patriots backfield, Foster will need to do the little things to earn real consideration for a roster spot.
FLAG ON THE PLAY
Conor McDermott's false start and Jason Thompson's pass interference gave the Jaguars free yardage, but the penalty that may be especially bothersome to Belichick might be the one that came with 13 seconds left in the first half when it looked like there was some confusion between Adam Butler and Woodrow Hamilton as to which player should be on the field for what was eventually just a kneel-down. The play had no impact on the outcome, but those kinds of substitution miscues are the types of avoidable errors the Patriots are always trying to eliminate.