New England Patriots Preseason Finale Winners and Losers

New England Patriots preseason finale winners and losers
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The preseason is finally over after the New England Patriots pulled off a 17-12 victory over the New York Giants. While most of the roster locks didn’t see the field, the Patriots still had a few players make their final case for the roster. Some players answered the call, while others all but punched their ticket out of Foxboro. Here are the New England Patriots preseason finale winners and losers.

Instant Analysis – New England Patriots Preseason Finale Winners and Losers

Winners

J.C. Jackson

The Patriots always have an undrafted free agent make the team, and it looks like J.C. Jackson will earn the honors this year. The rookie had perhaps the best day of anyone, recording two interceptions and making several big plays. Granted, he was going against backups, but he looked like a true NFL cornerback.

While most of his plays were good, he had one doozy of a bad play in the first half. Lined up in man coverage, Jackson lost his man on a short route over the middle. This short gain turned into a 41-yard touchdown when Jackson whiffed on the tackle. While this was a bad play, he had enough good plays to ensure himself a spot on the roster.

Jackson left the game midway through the third quarter with what the team is calling a dehydration issue. Even though he was carted off, this shouldn’t affect his status for Week One. The rookie had a (mostly) good game and should make the final cut.

K.J. Maye

With the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart so uncertain, one former Patriot made a case to stick around. K.J. Maye, a member of the Patriots during the 2017 preseason, had a fantastic game in his 2018 debut. Signed just under a week ago, Maye was clearly the best active receiver on the team. He showed great lateral quickness as well as the speed and acceleration to get open deep. He finished his night with five receptions for 71 yards. Those numbers could have been even better were it not for some disastrous quarterback play. Speaking of which…

The Losers

Danny Etling

Yes, Danny Etling had an amazing 86-yard touchdown run. That was a fantastic play, and clearly the highlight of the game. However, as great as that play was, it was just one play. Etling struggled throughout the grand majority of the night, especially in the passing game.

The Patriots drafted Danny Etling knowing it would be a few years before he was ready for NFL action. After seeing little to no playing time in the first three weeks, Etling warned the start and went the distance in the preseason finale. While Brian Hoyer has underwhelmed in the preseason, Etling showed he is nowhere close to taking the backup quarterback position.

Etling was wild and erratic all night. His footwork was a mess, he threw into double and triple coverage multiple times, and sailed several easy passes. All in all, Etling finished his night completing just 18 of 32 passes for 157 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Etling certainly justifies a spot on the practice squad, but he’s not ready for the active roster quite yet.

Jason McCourty

It’s never a good thing when the coaches ask a ten-year veteran to learn a completely new position two weeks before the regular season. It’s an even worse thing when that ten-year veteran is seeing snaps during the second half of the fourth preseason game.

Jason McCourty started the game off on a bad note. On the Giants first offensive play of the game, McCourty allowed a big completion over the middle of the field. He played the first two drives at safety before taking to the bench in the second quarter. Normally, this would be a sign that McCourty is a roster lock.

However, the coaches sent McCourty back out to start the second half. He didn’t see much action in the second half, but the fact he was out there at all is troubling. In a perfect world, players bound for the 53-man roster don’t play the second half of the fourth preseason game. This shows his roster spot is anything but secure.

Seeing as McCourty is a seasoned veteran, his salary becomes guaranteed if he makes the Week One roster. Don’t be surprised to see the Patriots cut McCourty and sign him after the Week One matchup against the Houston Texans.

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