Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Saturday, August 16, 2014
Second-quarter review: Garoppolo time

By Mike Reiss

Picked-up pieces from second-quarter film review of the New England Patriots' 42-35 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles :

Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo had a couple of impressive throws in the second quarter.
1. The two throws that stood out from Jimmy Garoppolo were the 25-yard deep out to receiver Brandon LaFell and the 4-yard touchdown pass to LaFell. The Eagles blitzed on both plays, it was picked up well, and Garoppolo stayed poised while allowing the long-developing routes to unfold. Overall, it was impressive composure, confidence and execution by Garoppolo. One downer for Garoppolo was the inability to get anything started in the two-minute offense, as the Patriots had a good situation to work with -- 35 seconds left in the quarter, two timeouts remaining, ball on their own 29 -- but went three-and-out.

2. One drill that the Patriots run in practice is 2-on-2 combinations in the pass rush, as defenders work together to create stress on two blockers, with one sometimes initiating contact with an offensive lineman engaged with another rusher. That came to life on the game field, as Joe Vellano and Chandler Jones had textbook teamwork against left tackle Jason Peters and left guard Evan Mathis to pressure Nick Foles and force an incompletion on a second-and-4 play. Vellano was credited with a quarterback hit as Jones looped behind him and Vellano kept his motor going after creating disruption by charging into Peters as Mathis was engaged with him.

3. Running back Brandon Bolden still had to make cornerback Brandon Boykin miss to get his 18-yard run started, but it was hard to miss a crunching block from LaFell on safety Earl Wolff to make life a little easier for Bolden. LaFell is a bigger receiver at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, and he is a willing blocker. He initiated contact on the play, teaming with fullback James Develin to bulldoze Wolff. Whether it's blocking or being a bigger target in the red zone (as he was on his TD catch), LaFell offers a bigger presence at the position that nicely complements "pygmies" Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

4. This isn’t a game-planning type of situation, but it was hard to miss how the Patriots struggled to cover Eagles tight ends at times, whether it was safety Patrick Chung (on Zach Ertz's touchdown) or linebacker Steve Beauharnais (on an Ertz 20-yard catch), among other examples.

5. Not a good night for the punt team, with a block in this quarter, and later punter Ryan Allen failing to handle a snap. On the block, the pressure came up the middle and it appeared every rusher was accounted for in the 4-on-4 situation, as it was just a matter of holding the block, which snapper Tyler Ott didn’t do against Arrelious Benn.  It probably wasn’t a coincidence that Danny Aiken was on to snap on the next punt, but we also wondered if personal protector Nate Ebner possibly could have helped a bit before accounting for rusher Chris Maragos.