FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The first of two scrimmages between the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints is in the books. It was a good opportunity for both teams to practice against someone else leading into Thursday's preseason game at Gillette Stadium.
Here are several observations:
It was a disappointing scrimmage for the Patriots' offense. Quarterback Tom Brady and Co. did not look sharp in team drills. Brady was off and missed at least four throws he usually makes. He was picked off twice by Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Malcolm Jenkins, respectively. Brady also overthrew receiver Brandon Lloyd on a pair of deep bombs that could have been big plays. Brady also missed Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski over the middle. You could tell in Brady’s body language that he wasn’t happy with Tuesday’s practice.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ offense had more success against New England’s defense. New Orleans’ quarterback Drew Brees was the sharper quarterback of the two and made nice connections to receiver Joseph Morgan, Lance Moore and Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. Brees’ only glaring mistake was an interception over the middle to Patriots safety Steve Gregory.
It was a tough day for cornerback Kyle Arrington. New England’s interception leader in 2011 was beat on a pair of big gains to Moore and Graham. Arrington is getting a lot of work in the slot but still needs to work on his technique playing the position.
Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones flashed on Tuesday. He had a nice play against Brees where he provided good pressure and batted the ball down. Due to injuries and opportunities, Jones and Hightower are getting some important reps with the first team this week, which the Patriots hope will speed up their development.
Brian Hoyer probably had the best day of New England's quarterbacks. Hoyer wasn’t perfect, but he did make some very good and accurate passes in team drills, a couple of which thread the needle between defenders. Hoyer is battling with fellow backup Ryan Mallett for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind Brady.