Going against Jarrett Stidham and the Raiders backups, the Patriots defense didn’t have many answers, with Stidham leading two scoring drives and hurting the Pats downfield, with two big passing plays of 30 and 25 yards, while third-stringer Chase Garbers launched a 45-yarder against the Pats’ second-teamers when he got in the game on the third series.
Busted coverages and mistakes littered the Patriots early defensive performance as the sloppiness was not an encouraging sign from the starters. They’re in for another level of competition against the Dolphins with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in just over two weeks and similar busted coverages are going to quickly end up with long-range scores.
The defense has actually been pretty solid this summer despite their performance early on against the Raiders. Led by a potent pass rush, they disrupted both their own offense and the Panthers’ and Raiders’ during joint practices, but in their final preseason test they had too many mistakes and too little pressure from the pass rush, the one thing that had been close to a consistent strength. That’s a little disconcerting and the backups did make some noise with their pass rush later on, but the body of work still stands from the summer. Given how the offense has looked the defense has a lot on its shoulders out of the gate.