1. Keion White
By the time Week 1 came to a close, a good chunk of Patriots supporters were talking about one player in particular: rookie defensive lineman Keion White.
After all, how could we not? The 2022 second-round selection gave hell to the Eagles’ offensive line, displaying his non-stop motor at every given opportunity. Even though he didn’t record any sacks or tackles, White made his presence felt to the tune of 4 pressures and 4 hurries on 13 pass-rush attempts.
Even more impressive is how the 24-year-old defender handled Philadelphia offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Most seasoned defenders have issues getting by Johnson, who was named All-Pro in 2021 and 2022), whereas White didn’t look intimidated whatsoever.
Nevertheless, White is capable of more, and his debut might end up looking like nothing compared to a potential breakout showing this week. After all, he only played 34.9% of defensive snaps — good for 15th-most on the team.
While the Dolphins did a good job at protecting QB Tua Tagovailoa last week, the offensive line wasn’t challenged too often. The Chargers’ pass rush isn’t anything special, highlighted by their bottom-10 ranking last year in hurries (35, tied for sixth-fewest), QB knockdowns (38, tied for sixth-fewest) and pressures (113, seventh-fewest).
Tagovailoa won’t have as much time to breathe this week after New England just tallied 12 hurries (No. 4) and 17 pressures (T-No. 5) with 16 blitzes (No. 5). The Eagles’ frontline is one of the best in the league, so I fully expect White & Co. to have a field day against the Dolphins’ O-line in Week 2.
If the Patriots reward White for his Week 1 effort with even more playing time, prepare for a performance to remember under the bright SNF lights.
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