- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Picked-up pieces from reviewing the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 30-7 preseason win over the Panthers:
1. A sack by rookie defensive lineman Zach Moore (sixth round, 198th overall) was negated by a defensive holding penalty on rookie linebacker James Morris, but Moore’s rush was notable to me because it came against backup guard Andrew Norwell. We know about Moore’s small-school roots (Concordia-St. Paul), while Norwell played at big-time Ohio State so a one-on-one situation like that provides a nice contrast to analyze. On the play, the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Moore powered Norwell (6-6, 310) back into the pocket, extending his long arms a bit in the process, as some of the raw skills came to the forefront.
2. Morris’ quickness showed up as he dropped running back Fozzy Whittaker for a 7-yard loss on a short pass late in the quarter. Morris received a lot of playing time in the game, and despite being closest in coverage on Carolina's lone touchdown, he showed some flashes as a developmental prospect who likely lands on the practice squad. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Morris was playing fast in this game and also had the green dot on his helmet as a primary communicator.
3. Defensive lineman Jerel Worthy’s best rush came with 1:56 remaining when he aligned head-up on center Brian Folkerts (second year, Washburn) and used good hand technique to knock him out of his stance and pressure quarterback Joe Webb up the middle. That effort showed some short-area quickness as we continue to become more familiar with his style of play.
4. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s mechanics and poise in the pocket seem to be more advanced than one would expect from a rookie. He’s particularly smooth when throwing on the run (e.g. 4-yard pass to Taylor McCuller) when rolling right out of the pocket, and the ball comes out quickly. One of the few mistakes we’ve seen Garoppolo make came on second-and-8 when he faced pressure and probably should have eaten the football but instead attempted a pass while a defender wrapped up his leg. It was nearly intercepted. But overall, the accuracy and decision-making have mostly checked out well.
5. The offensive line on the Garoppolo-led 12-play, 82-yard touchdown drive was (left to right) Jordan Devey, Josh Kline, Braxston Cave, Chris Barker and Cameron Fleming. With sixth-round pick Jon Halapio unable to crack that group, it signals his place on the depth chart, as he only played two snaps (final 2 kneel-downs).