USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - SPORTS -

Sto­ry­line of the week

Mixed pass-rush re­sults: After the win over the Eagles in Week 2 of the pre­sea­son, there was chat­ter of a rein­vig­o­rated pass rush in New Eng­land. The Patriots fin­ished with eight sacks and 11 quar­ter­back hits in that game. But the Patriots pass rush­ers fell back to earth in Week 3 against the Pan­thers when New Eng­land had zero sacks and one quar­ter­back hit. The Patriots de­fense, fresh off al­low­ing 41 points to the Eagles in the Su­per Bowl, re­mains a work in progress, even after adding free agent DE Adrian Clay­born and get­ting sec­ond-year DE Derek Rivers back from an in­jury.

Rookie watch

QB Danny Etling, a sev­enth-round draft pick out of LSU, could get a ma­jor work­load in the fi­nal pre­sea­son game. Like the rest of the league, the Patriots tend to hold out their starters and give op­por­tu­ni­ties to younger and less ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in Week 4. Etling is prob­a­bly a long shot to make New Eng­land’s ros­ter but could show enough prom­ise to land on a ros­ter else­where.

Henry McKenna, Patriots Wire

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