NFL Preseason Week 3 Game Notes: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions

New England Offense vs. Detroit Defense

  • New England opened in 12 personnel, tight formation, with 2 TEs flexed off the line of scrimmage
  • The 2 starting TEs are Ballard and Sudfeld. Hoomanawanui is the 3rd TE.
  • TE Ballard fills a similar role that Gronkowski did last year while Sudfeld plays the Hernandez role. When Gronkowski comes back from injury, I would expect Ballard’s playing time to take a hit more than Sudfeld.
  • DET DL is winning nearly every snap, especially in the run game.
  • RB Ridley is quick and decisive. Shows a good ability to cut while maintaining forward momentum which allows him to eat up yards quickly and efficiently.
  • WR Thompkins understands the option route concept that the Patriots rely on. He’s very active off the LOS and uses his hands well to release clean.
  • 13:43 in 1st – CB Slay gets no bump on Thompkins in press coverage. Thompkins runs right by Slay, putting him in a trail position immediately. A good throw by Brady hits Thompkins in stride while also keeping the safety in the middle of the field from becoming a factor in the play.
  • LT Solder is having problems with DE Ansah the entire first drive.
  • TE Ballard is struggling blocking DET’s DEs.
  • S Glover Quin put a good hit on TE Sudfeld to force the fumble. Sudfeld should carry the ball higher but the fumble is more a good play by Quin than a bad play by Sudfeld.
  • NE using DET’s aggressiveness against them with screens and quick passes. This is something that Lions will see a lot this season.
  • DET’s DL is fast and pursues well. The quick passes and screens are going for less than they should because the DL is so fast.
  • Backup DE Young is playing well. The way he’s playing right now makes me think he would be a starter on many other teams.
  • WR Dobson seems to catch anything he gets his hands on. His routes can be a little cleaner. Doesn’t seem to eat up ground on CBs like I thought he should.
  • Brady INT – WR Dobson gets picked by interior CB (accidentally and legally) while ball is in the air. Dobson doesn’t get to the spot or get his hands up in time. Good play by the CB to hang on to a ball that hit him unwittingly in the gut.
  • NE has one of the better offensive lines in the NFL and they are having a hard time controlling the LOS vs. the DET DL.
  • WR Thompkins wins off the LOS with his feet as well as his hands. Uses subtle footwork to setup the CB and allow him to stem his route in the direction he wants while putting the CB in a bad position to defend his route.
  • DE Jones had a phenomenal game. Big impact vs. both the run and pass. Seemed to be involved on every play.
  • DET safeties play in the box a lot. With below average CBs this is dangerous. They are leaving their CBs on an island and they are getting beat consistently even with heavy pressure on Brady.
  • Why would DET play more cover 2 to hide and protect a back 7 that is pretty poor in coverage? I would rather give up more in the run game to protect against the big play in the air.

Detroit Offense vs. New England Defense

  • LB Collins started at SLB.
  • QB Stafford still has poor mechanics which hinder his consistency – throwing off back foot, front elbow flying out away from body, and he steps off line of his target, especially when throwing to his left.
  • QB Stafford still has one of the most impressive arms I’ve ever seen. Even with bad mechanics he can throw lasers with little effort and apparent ease.
  • DE Ninkovich is incredibly savvy in how he sheds blockers. He reacts well to blocker’s technique and slips by or powers through based on how the blocker sets up.
  • TE Pettigrew is a strong blocker and a large target. His isn’t super athletic but can use his body to shield defenders from the ball.
  • DT Kelly is an upgrade over Kyle Love and Brandon Deadrick who left this offseason.
  • DE Chandler Jones didn’t have a great game but he showed some great ability.
  • DE Jones comes off the line quickly but hesitates to setup his blocker for a move. I want to see him attack more often. Bull rush and rip immediately after firing off the LOS.
  • LB Mayo didn’t play particularly well but flies all over the field. He’s fast and hit with force. He’s a great tool against the power run game and is solid in coverage as well.
  • NE defense looks like it’s playing reserved and cautions, not at full speed.
  • QB Stafford doesn’t change velocity on his ball adequately.
  • LT Reiff had a solid game. He showed good movement and anchoring. He had strong hands vs. DE Jones who is one of the best at keeping an OT’s hands off him.
  • S Adrian Wilson is essentially an extra LB in sub packages at this point.
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