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Preseason Week 3 Takeaways: Patriots Offense Is IN BIG TROUBLE With Shaky Mac Jones

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    AP Photo/John Locher

    With training camps now in the rear-view mirror and the preseason winding down, decisions should be made.

    All 32 teams must cut their active rosters to 53 by Tuesday, Aug. 30. Choices and compromises are forthcoming, and Friday’s action can help in those matters.

    The Carolina Panthers apparently made the smart choice by naming Baker Mayfield their starting quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, turn to have a straightforward decision on the hands between Geno Smith and Drew Lock.

    Elsewhere, changes appear necessary.

    THE BRAND NEW England Patriots must discover a way to obtain their stagnant offense on the right track. The NEVADA Raiders have lots to take into account regarding last year’s first-round pick, Alex Leatherwood. THE BRAND NEW Orleans Saints could be in a negative spot making use of their left tackle, Trevor Penning.

    Another preseason came and went for 12 of the league’s 32 teams. Friday’s action isn’t the finish of the procedure, though. It became an indicator of what may be .

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    On Monday, the Carolina Panthers named Baker Mayfield because the team’s days later. Four days later, the fifth-year veteran certainly looked the part.

    “Whenever we started the procedure, we said we were considering three things,” head coach Matt Rhule told reporters earlier this week. “No. 1, mastery of the offense; No. 2, situational football excellence; no. 3, moving the ball and getting guys involved.

    “Baker has made lots of improvement, lots of growth in every three areas in a brief timeframe.”

    That version of Mayfield arrived Friday contrary to the Buffalo Bills, albeit contrary to the AFC favorite’s second-team defense.

    Granted, the Panthers went three-and-out throughout their initial offense series. All three were short, simple out patterns and first-round rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam sat on the third-down play to avoid Rashard Higgins from catching the ball.

    From there, the Panthers scored touchdowns on the next two drives before Mayfield was done for the night time. During those series, the quarterback showed he could thread the needle and work off his initial read to get the open backside route for a 19-yard touchdown to Shi Smith. They are important flashes following the quarterback struggled with post-snap reads and accuracy on his throws during an injury-plagued 2021 campaign.

    Ultimately, Mayfield finished 9-of-15 passingwhich included a set of drops by running back Chuba Hubbardfor 89 yards, two touchdown passes and a 116.4 quarterback rating.

    A personal injury to Sam Darnold during Friday’s 21-0 victory on the Buffalo Bills further cemented Mayfield’s newfound status. In accordance with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Darnold is thought to have suffered a high-ankle sprain.

    A promising start, albeit in the preseason against backups, should help settle the complete Panthers organization. The 2018 No. 1 overall pick may be facing an uphill battle to end up being the franchise’s long-term starter but, at this time, he’s the correct guy for the work.

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    AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

    Geno Smith won the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback for Week 1 automagically.

    The 31-year-old veteran started all three preseason games and didn’t start the ball. He’s the type of steady presence Pete Carroll likely wants at the positioning because the Seahawks transition from Russell Wilson.

    “He’s earned it. He won the work,” Carroll told reporters after Friday’s 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys

    The team’s previous backup quarterback completed 59 percent of his passes during his three appearances and held down the fort while Drew Lock wasn’t available.

    Lock returned to apply Sunday after missing several days due to a positive COVID-19 test. The condition cost him the chance to start out Seattle’s second preseason game and perhaps the work.

    Clearly, more upside exists within Drew Lock’s expertise. He’s only 25 yrs . old with ample arm talent. But his performance Friday shows why he’s nearly the proper guy for the work at this stage with time.

    The 2019 second-round draft pick entered the lineup and immediately threw an incompletion and an interception, that was late and too much outside. Lock responded with a lovely 35-yard touchdown pass to Penny Hart on the next series. Late in the initial half, he completely misread the Dallas Cowboys defense and threw a pass to a broad open Dallas Cowboys defender create with underneath coverage. A third happened well in to the third quarter.

    These mistakes enhance the earlier one Lock made during Seattle’s first preseason contest contrary to the Pittsburgh Steelers when he lost a fumble.

    The potential within Lock’s game is tantalizing. The mistakes aren’t easily forgivable, though. The Seahawks’ offense can start more if Lock could prove himself to become a more reliable and consistent passer. But he hasn’t. The valleys are simply as low, or even lower, compared to the highs of the peaks within his play.

    Smith did sufficient never to lose the work.

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    AP Photo/John Locher

    THE BRAND NEW England Patriots have already been given the advantage of the doubt for such a long time that everyone just assumes they’ll transform it around with Bill Belichick at the forefront.

    The dynasty is performed. Tom Brady is fully gone. The organization is really a shell of itself, particularly on offense.

    Needless to say, the team would have a step back after losing among the game’s best offensive play-callers. The thought of going for a defensive-minded coach in Matt Patricia and longtime special teams assistant in Joe Judge and expecting them to displace Josh McDaniels, who left his post at offensive coordinator to teach the NEVADA Raiders, reeks of hubris.

    Granted, preseason play isn’t enough time to obtain hysterical in regards to a team not performing well. Obviously, coaching staffs aren’t rolling out their entire scheme for regular-season opponents to choose apart. Yet plenty of signs are pointing toward a hard year for the Patriots offense, you start with quarterback Mac Jones.

    As Sharp Football’s Warren Sharp noted, Jones posted a negative-0.33 EPA and a 35 percent success rate during his two preseason appearances. The second-year quarterback isn’t pushing the ball down the field or setting it up right into a position for his receivers to generate following the catch, with 3.3 air yards of completion typically and 3.0 yards after catch typically.

    Jones outperformed all the rookie quarterbacks last season and also earned an expert Bowl nod. But he’s not seeing the field particularly well, and he’s clearly frustrated. He is able to only achieve this much, though.

    “Finished . with Mac Jones is that he’ll function as same player,” an NFC personnel executive told Heavy’s Matt Lombardo. “He’s exactly the same guy he was this past year, and he’ll function as same guy 10 years from now.”

    The brand new offensive scheme is really a work happening, the wide receivers remain unsettled and the offensive line is really a growing concern.

    We have to involve some better fundamental execution that is likely to happen, unfortunately, in this league,” center David Andrews told reporters after Friday’s 23-6 loss to the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. “You need to flush it and move ahead.

    In accordance with NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, both offensive tackle spots are a concern. Along with the unit understanding how to be considered a heavier zone-blocking group in a fresh system, Isaiah Wynn has been the main topic of trade talk, and Trent Brown’s pass protection was not around snuff throughout training camp.

    Maybe the Patriots have something up their sleeve for the standard season, or Belichick could galvanize his team because the weeks progress. In any case could be, New England hasn’t helped itself through the preseason and appears like the third-best squad in the AFC East.

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    AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

    THE BRAND NEW Orleans Saints felt these were a few pieces from remaining a playoff squad in the weaker NFC. They still may be missing one for quite a while.

    Ahead of April’s draft, the Saints swung a cope with the Eagles where they sent Philadelphia first, third, and seventh-round draft picks this season, a 2023 first-round selection and a ’24 second-round pick in trade because of this year’s 16th, 19th and 194th overall picks.

    In the 19th hole, New Orleans chose Trevor Penning as a long-term alternative to Terron Armstead, who signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency.

    Unfortunately, Penning suffered a toe injury during Friday’s 27-10 victory on the LA Chargers at the Caesars Superdome. Initially, the tackle visited the team’s injury tent before being carted to the locker room, in accordance with ESPN’s Mike Triplett.

    The severe nature of the injury isn’t yet known. But Penning have been establishing himself as a tone-setter along New Orleans’ offensive front. The rookie plays with an awful streak. He wants to instigate and bury defenders.

    “It’s like, once you think he’s done, he’s not done,” teammate Cesar Ruiz told reporters three weeks hence. “He definitely has that finishing mentality you like within an offensive lineman.”

    Penning is really a work happening, and his technique still needs significant development. Any missed time will set him back again to some extent.

    Fortunately, the Saints have a skilled veteran alternative in James Hurst, who is able to protect Jameis Winston’s blind side until Penning is healthy and prepared to take over the location. Hurst can be coping with a foot injury, but he’s expected back “eventually,” per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell.

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    AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

    Few offensive linemen were beneath the spotlight that Alex Leatherwood had to endure throughout training camp and the preseason. By enough time the NEVADA Raiders played the brand new England Patriots on Friday, that spotlight bordered on glaring.

    In accordance with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, teams round the league had their eye on Leatherwood’s performance with the theory he might be traded as well as released.

    Leatherwood’s struggles aren’t a secret.

    Last season, the Raiders initially played the rookie 17th overall pick at right tackle and then move him quickly to protect. The brand new regime placed him back at right tackle, and the problems have continued.

    “[Leatherwood’s] biggest mechanical problem is he punches too low,” longtime NFL right tackle Mitchell Schwartz told The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen. “Once the defender does anything to his right arm, he’s got no leverage no pressure going upwards. It creates him top-heavy, and he’s vunerable to falling on his face.”

    Balance can be an integral part to playing in space being an offensive tackle. It’s hard to state one preseason game could make or break a recently available first-round pick, yet getting pushed back straight into the quarterback certainly doesn’t help matters.

    The truth is, Leatherwood may have won the majority of his snaps, also it might not have mattered. He’s clearly uncomfortable playing right tackle and is apparently better suited at guard. By releasing the lineman, the Raiders would eat a supplementary $4.6 million of his contract this season, in accordance with On the Cap. A trade is a lot more feasible in case a suitor thinks its offensive line coach can correct Leatherwood’s technical deficiencies.

    The truth that Leatherwood came off the bench while Jermaine Eluemunor started at right tackle could be all that must be said concerning the situation. In case a trade doesn’t materialize, the Raiders should once more shift Leatherwood back again to guard.

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