By: Russ Goldman
The New England Patriots will be playing the New York Giants at the new Meadowlands Stadium Thursday night, in what will be their final exhibition game of the year. I am on record as saying that the fourth pre-season game is a complete waste of time. Most of your starters will barely play, and I actually think they should eliminate the game.
However, I know fans will still be watching this game including myself, so I am going to do do my best to give you areas to focus on in this game. Here are my “Five Reasons To Watch The Patriots Pre-Season Game Against The Giants.”
Hopefully tonight is the final time we see back-up QB Brian Hoyer (PHOTO: Icon/SMI)
1.This game will be a chance to focus on back-up quarterback Brian Hoyer. I think Hoyer is on his way to becoming a solid back-up to Brady. That being said, hopefully this will be the last time he plays this season.
He showed me something in the final game of the season last year against the Texans when he came into the game in relief of Brady and finished 8-of-12 for 71 yards and looked fairly sharp. So far this pre-season he looks very comfortable in the Patriots offense, and I would like to see how far he has come from last year to this season. He will probably be playing the majority of the game, so we should get an opportunity to see if he has progressed.
2.How will Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley play in this game? With Leigh Bodden going on injured reserve, these two cornerbacks will be counted on to contribute this season. I want to see if either player has made progress. Both players have been incredibly inconsistent in their careers with the Pats, and they’re both guys I will be watching Thursday Night.
3. How will Benjarvus Green-Ellis play Thursday Night? It is not a foregone conclusion that this running back will make the team. If he wants to be a member of the Patriots, he needs to shine.
This is his last chance to make a positive impression. He is not a flashy running back, but he can still get the yards. I honestly think the running game will be an important part of the Patriots offense this season. Many of the Pats running backs are older, and have had a tendency to get hurt. Can he fill in for the other backs this season? Needless to say I will be focusing on Green-Ellis in this game.
4. Will wide receivers Taylor Price and Brandon Tate show us improvement from the beginning of the pre-season? In this game these players could see a good amount of action. Brandon Tate has already flashed several times this pre-season. We should get a heavy dose of him at wide receiver.
Plus, we should see Tate again on kick-offs. He has already returned a kick back for a touchdown, and he has been impressive on special teams. I will be watching him again on Thursday.
Taylor Price has not been as effective so far this pre-season, and this might be his last chance to prove himself before the season begins. I would like to see him catch a few balls Thursday night and show some progress.
5. I want to see if Ron Brace can make an impact Thursday Night. I still believe in this player. He has played decent this pre-season since he has gotten on the field, including a sack and was involved in causing a fumble. I still think he has great potential.
I really want to see if he continues to show improvement. There may be some who disagree, but I believe it is not time to give up on Brace yet. He is still a young player, and I think his best is yet to come. Thursday night I certainly will be focusing on him.
In conclusion, I know this game is going to be tough to watch. But, I hope I’ve given some good reasons for you to tune in. It may be a meaningless game, but I still like watching football, and I’ll certainly be watching this one.