Pats 3rd quarter review: Focus on Fleming

August, 8, 2014
8/08/14
3:30
PM ET
Picked-up pieces from film review of the third quarter of the Patriots’ 23-6 loss to the Redskins in the preseason opener:

1. Third-year linebacker Darius Fleming seemed to help his case for a roster spot in getting extended repetitions as an end-of-the-line player. But he also proved to be an error-repeater, getting sucked in on play-action in the second half after something similar happened in the first half. Fullback Stephen Campbell took advantage on a 7-yard catch-and-run, as Fleming chased play-action to the left instead of staying disciplined on the back side, which allowed Campbell to release out of the backfield to his side and gain leverage outside. From a first-impression standpoint, Fleming caught the eye as an edge-setter who has some good movement skills.

2. Undrafted cornerback Malcolm Butler not only contributed with a strong defensive performance, but that was him also making the tackle on the opening kickoff of the half. If Butler is going to make the final roster, his ability to be competitive on special teams will also be part of the consideration.

3. Second-year linebacker Steve Beauharnais showed the ability to stack and shed while playing downhill in the running game. He attacked fullback Campbell, disengaged, and wrapped up running back Silas Redd on a gain of two yards. Beauharnais seemed most effective attacking the line of scrimmage in this game, almost in a Brandon Spikes type of role. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, he gives up a lot in the tale of the tape when compared to Spikes (6-2, 255), but some of the same coverage struggles we previously saw with Spikes showed up with Beauharnais as well.

4. Sure looked like rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had connected with receiver Brian Tyms on a 38-yard touchdown, with Tyms gathering in the beautiful pass on his helmet. Not sure why officials didn’t elect to go to the instant replay for that, assuming they were calling the game the way they would in the regular season.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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