Pick Six:  Observations from Preseason Game Four

New England finished the preseason by outscoring the Giants 17-12 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The fourth preseason game traditionally features many players who will be cut before the start of the regular season. While the starters took the night off, some of the backups caught this observer’s eye.

Six Observations from Preseason Game Four

1. Both starting rookie quarterbacks looked pretty bad throwing the ball. The Patriots’ seventh-round draft pick Danny Etling threw a high pass to tight end Will Tye before getting involved in a busted handoff attempt to running back Ralph Webb in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd, Etling was intercepted by New York’s Donte Deayon up the left sideline and nearly threw a pick to the same cornerback on the following drive. The rookie QB did bring a spark with his legs, as he rushed for 14 yards and a first down in the 2nd quarter, 13 yards and a first in the 3rd, and then faked out the entire Giants’ defense with a play action left before running around right end for an 86-yard touchdown run near the end of the game.

2. Etling’s second interception to Donte Deayon came near the end of the 2nd quarter when the New York defensive back undercut New England receiver Devin Lucien. That was the second time on that drive that Lucien was unable to get any separation from the defense. It was notable that Patriots’ veteran tight end Dwayne Allen couldn’t get out of his break fast enough to catch a third down attempt late in the 3rd quarter.

3. New England’s starting right tackle, Matt Tobin, gave up a 1st quarter sack when he allowed outside linebacker Olivier Vernon to push him too deep in the pocket, opening up an inside path to the quarterback. A few minutes later, Tobin was involved in a chop block with Jason King. Later, King was beaten for a sack by defensive tackle Robert Thomas near the end of the 3rd quarter.

4. The undrafted J.C. Jackson intercepted two poorly thrown balls from the Giants’ rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta. On the downside, the young cornerback was beaten badly by New York receiver Kalif Raymond on an underthrown ball in the 2nd quarter and he got caught in the wash on receiver Amba Etta-Tawo’s crossing route, catch-run-and-score in the 3rd. Fellow rookie corner Keion Crossen had close third-down coverage on an incompletion to Kalif Raymond in the 1st but gave up a “go” route when he missed the jam on Raymond at the line of scrimmage in the 2nd.

5. New England defensive lineman Keionta Davis fought through a double team on the right side and force quarterback Kyle Lauletta into a scramble and incompletion in the 1st quarter. Two plays later, defensive tackle Adam Butler zipped around center John Greco to force a third down incompletion. Patriots’ defensive end Eric Lee got around offensive linemen Chad Wheeler and Evan Brown for a sack in the 2nd quarter. The Giants’ Wheeler was again involved in a sack in the 3rd when defensive lineman Trent Harris worked off him to catch the quarterback as he attempted to roll outside the pocket.

6. Patriots’ defensive end Derek Rivers beat left tackle Chad Wheeler to force a short gain on a run early in the 1st quarter. Rivers was not fast enough to track down Wayne Gallman from the backside on the running back’s 10 yard sweep to the right later in the quarter. In the 2nd quarter, linebacker Nicholas Grigsby made a nice tackle in coverage in the right flat a few plays before reacting late and allowing receiver Travis Rudolph to catch the ball in his zone and run for what turned out to be a 22-yard gain. Undrafted rookie defensive tackle John Atkins worked off the center to tackle running back Robert Martin for a loss to start the 3rd.

Originally posted on PatsPulpit.com

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