6 Keys To The Patriots’ First Preseason Game of 2023


The Patriots kicked off their 2023 preseason on Thursday night against the Houston Texans, defeated by a score of 20-9 with mostly reserves on the field. Jalen Mills intercepted rookie C.J. Stroud on the opening possession of the contest, one of the defence’s two first-half takeaways.

The second-year quarterback, Bailey Zappe, played the entirety of the first half and one possession into the second half Unluckily, the offense was unable to gain many yards or points due to an offensive line that struggled to protect its players and create holes.

But it is still early in the season, so wins, losses, and production are currently meaningless. What is important is that many young players gained experience. For example, teenagers Christian Gonzalez and Keion White had good starts, which should be one reason to be hopeful.

Here are the other major takeaways from the first of three exhibition games this summer.  Patriots

The Patriots defense can almost always be counted on to take the ball away, and Jalen Mills got the club started by intercepting a Houston pass on the Texans’ first possession. Mills has been playing safety in training camp since he switched from cornerback. He dropped down as a robber and picked off a bad pass by C.J. Stroud, the second-overall pick as a rookie.

Unfortunately, the offense was unable to capitalize on the turnover, rather losing a yard in three plays and settling for a 44-yard field goal from Nick Folk in the type of non-complementary play that plagued 2022.

However, this highlighted the defense’s overall excellent start, which included Daniel Ekuale’s sack and some solid pressure from Anfernee Jennings and youngster Keion White. Later in the second quarter, Jennings was again called for a hold, and White was able to interrupt a botched handoff, allowing Calvin Munson to recover the ball.

Christian Gonzalez and Jack Jones started at cornerback, with the rookie first-rounder getting some experience. In his debut NFL game, he caused a fumble that sadly rolled out of bounds, but he immediately showed some playmaking potential. Gonzalez also contributed to the kickoff team, but his night ended halfway through the second quarter.

While Mills made the first notable play, it was the top two draft picks in April who kept the ball disruption continuing. Gonzalez and White made a good debut in the NFL.

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