By: Derek Havens
The New England Patriots closed out the preseason Thursday night against the New York Giants.
Thursday night’s game gave fans and analysts the chance to get a more in-depth look at some of these players as final cuts will occur on Aug. 31.
Here are five memorable moments from the game. —
One Step Forward, One Step Back for Washington: Leon Washington had an up-and-down game Thursday. In the second quarter, Washington’s 43-yard return was what Pats fans have ben waiting to see from the veteran returner. His vision and explosiveness on returns has been shown in camp, but not as much in games to this point.
Washington appears to be on the bubble, but I believe he makes the team. Not just for his special teams ability, but also because he has a similar skill set to backup Shane Vereen.
On the flip side, later in the game Washington tried to catch a punt off a bounce and fumbled. Clearly Washington was trying to make a play, but the mistake showed the good and bad we have seen from the veteran in his time here. To his credit, though, he is not known for turning the ball over. It will be interesting to see if the team decides he is valuable enough on special teams to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Ryan Continues to Ascend: Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan has made consistent improvements throughout the offseason. To start training camp, he was struggling and did not look like the same player he was at Rutgers. From training camp and into the preseason, however, we have seen Ryan steadily ascend and it’s great to see.
Patriots rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce displayed his blazing speed Thursday night. (FILE:USPresswire)
Ryan had a tremendous game Thursday night against the Giants, getting involved in a few breakups. Perhaps his improvement is why the Patriots felt so confident releasing Ras-I Dowling before final cuts? Regardless, Ryan should work his way into the mix this season.
Boyce Goes Deep: Throughout preseason, Josh Boyce has been over-shadowed by the other two rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Boyce showed his blazing speed in the second quarter, blowing past the Giants secondary and hauling in a Ryan Mallett pass for a touchdown.
Boyce also received a few end-around carries, which he should have similar play calls throughout the year. I don’t expect him to make the same type of impact as Thompkins or Dobson, but he could add a dynamic presence when given the opportunity.
Buchanan Makes An Impact: The Patriots defense swarmed throughout the night, consistently getting after New York’s signal-callers. I was really impressed with rookie defensive end Michael Buchanan. The seventh-round pick had a batted pass, forced fumbled, 2.5 sacks and seemed to cement his spot of the 53-man roster.
Buchanan’s length and size are impressive, but he is still pretty thin. If he can add 10-20 pounds, while keeping his athleticism, he could be an impact player moving forward.
I would also like to add Marcus Benard, Jake Bequette and Dane Fletcher as players who stepped up in the front seven Thursday for the Patriots.
Tebow And Sims Connect: Tim Tebow’s favorite target this off-season was Quentin Sims. The duo showed a strong connection in the preseason finale with a two touchdown performance.
Tebow needed a strong outing in order to solidify his stance with the team. If he had put together another one-for-seven for negative one yard passing performance, I am not sold he would have made the team. It wasn’t all pretty, but the backup offensive line struggled a lot outside of Marcus Cannon.
For Sims, his performance — three receptions, 72 yards and two touchdowns — should be enough to earn a role on the practice squad.
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