The Patriots played their first preseason game on Thursday night. The game marked the first professional game action of quarterback Mac Jones and the debut of several big name free agent acquisitions. Below are five players that stood out.
Judon was the most expensive free agent signing the Patriots made in 2021 and in the early going of training camp he has looked worth the investment. That continued against Washington. In limited action, Judon flashed off the edge including a third down run stop in the first quarter.
Smith only played in the first quarter and had only one catch for 16 yards. That catch, however, was a glimpse at what Patriots fans can expect to see this season. He caught a short crosser, broke away from a defender and ended up with 16 yards. His athleticism is unique for the tight end position and it showed up on that catch.
Jones came in to start the third series and played until the fourth quarter. He finished 13/19 for 87 yards and led the Patriots to 6 points. Notably, Jones got playing time with the Patriots starting offensive linemen. Jones looked comfortable and the Patriots offense was able to sustain a rhythm with Jones in at quarterback. Jones was far from perfect- he took a coverage sack instead of throwing the ball away and overthrew Gunner Olszewski on a deep pass on a 3rd and 24. Cam Newton is still the starter, but Jones continued to gain ground on Thursday.
Rookie kicker Quinn Nordin has made a charge to be the Patriots kicker since Nick Folk got injured. On Thursday, Nordin made three field goals including a 50-yarder in the second quarter. He did miss one of two extra point attempts.
Perkins was the Patriots 4th round draft pick in 2021 as a defensive end. Playing with backups in his first preseason game, Perkins was still able to generate some pressure, including pushing the right tackle into the pocket on Joejuan Williams’ interception. He will likely be a depth option/ spot player this year due to New England’s front seven depth, but his development is worth monitoring.