FOXBORO — As the New England Patriots attempt to digest their 23-21 loss to the New York Giants, they continue to take stock into their performance on both sides of the ball.
Heading into a week in which the Pats will participate in joint practices with the Carolina Panthers (culminating with their preseason matchup at Gillette Stadium on Fri. Aug. 19), there are plenty of areas in which they will seek improvement. While game-film analysis will be the main focus, a look at playing time may assist the Pats in helping devise effective strategies moving forward.
Here is a look at the Patriots defensive snap counts, along with some possible insight on New England’s future game-planning.
On defense, the Pats overall snap count was 86.
Perhaps the surprise of the night was safety Jalen Elliott leading the team by playing on 75 defensive snaps on Thursday. A late addition to training camp, the former Detroit Lions defensive back led all Patriots with eight tackles. Despite facing strong competition at the position, Elliott is turning some heads with his ability to quickly cover his ground, as well as being competitive at the catch-point.
In the first installment of ‘A Tale of Two Joneses’ (of the rookie-cornerback variety) Jack Jones saw the field for 73 percent of New England’s defensive snaps, providing the team with a significant sample size in his first pro-level game setting. Conversely, fellow rookie Marcus Jones did not play, leading to some speculation that Jones may have shown enough promise during training camp to earn a starting spot. Though his absence could be related to his continued recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, Jones has yet to be limited in any of the team’s practices.
Linebacker Anfernee Jennings took 35 defensive snaps, showcasing his toughness and tenacity. Jennings once again demonstrated his abilities as an impact player in the middle of their defense who can provide the type of sideline-to-sideline coverage needed to neutralize the high-speed receivers, running backs and quarterbacks within their Division.
Despite taking only 15 snaps in the Patriots defensive backfield, cornerback Myles Bryant showcased his punt return duties. Bryant returned two punts for 46 yards, his longest being a 30-yard return. The Washington product was productive in both tracking and catching the ball while demonstrating his quickness and sound decision-making ability. Bryant has his share of competition at the position. Yet, his versatility may be enough to secure him a spot on the team in September.