Patriots vs. Panthers: Tom Brady stats, highlights from preseason debut

Patriots vs. Panthers: Tom Brady stats, highlights from preseason debut

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got his first game action of the preseason Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, and the results were pretty mixed against the Carolina Panthers defense.

It was a sloppy start for the Patriots offense as a whole with three penalties during the first two drives. 

Rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers had a particularly bad opening two series with a drop, a penalty and a weird deep route where he stopped running. Brady's first four completions all went to wideout Phillip Dorsett for a total of 35 yards.

The Patriots found the end zone on their third drive for the game's first touchdown. Patriots running back James Develin ended the 15-play, 85-yard march with a one-yard TD run. Brady even converted a third-down with a 3-yard scramble earlier in the drive. The 42-year-old quarterback's night was over after that series. Rookie Jarrett Stidham was next up at quarterback.

Most starters typically don't play in the fourth and final preseason game, so we probably won't see Brady in action again until Week 1 of the regular season when the Patriots host the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 8.

Here's a recap of Brady's performance against the Panthers.

75 (8-for-12) completion percentage
75 yards
0/0 TD/INT
0 sacks
3 rush yards

There weren't a lot of notable highlights from Brady, but here's his longest completion of the night.

Brady's final completion went to tight end Ryan Izzo.

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Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

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Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.

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Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.