By: Ian Logue
Tonight will be the Patriots final exhibition game down at the new Meadowlands against the New York Giants, and it should be fairly intense considering that with the final cutdowns approaching there should be some guys who are going all out tonight as they hope to earn a role with this football team.
Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes that there are plenty of players on edge right now awaiting head coach Bill Belichick’s decision on who’s going to make this roster, and who will be looking for work after the team cuts down to the 53 man limit on Saturday.
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle also writes that this is the last chance for some of these guys to make an impression, with head coach Bill Belichik aware of the mental state of these guys – but decisions still need to be made.
“There’s anxiousness or apprehension with players at this point of the season relative to a lot of things,” Belichick said. “We are all a little unsettled on something, whether it’s coaching decisions or whether it’s players being on the team, what their role is, what their playing time looks like to them, and so forth.
“Once there is a deadline for certain decisions, at least something is determined after that,” he said. “Maybe not everything, but something’s determined.”
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe also points out there are plenty of nervous guys who will be fighting for a job tonight, and has comments from some of the players about what a nerve-wracking process it is.
Usually it’s the third exhibition game that is the “dress rehearsal” for the starters heading into the season, and that generally means they receive very little (if any) playing time in the final one. Young also feels that tonight they may actually need to play, and hopefully should they be out there they’ll execute better than last week.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes that should they play tonight, the Patriots starters have no problem with that and all want to play.
Russell Goldman takes a look at tonight’s final exhibition contest and has five things to look for in tonight’s game, which will likely feature plenty from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. Goldman writes that Hoyer looked good when he played in last year’s season finale against Houston and hopes we continue to see him take the next step in his development. Although like many fans he hopes tonight will be the last time we see him play this year.
Rich Garven of the Worecester Telegram also has six things to keep your eye on, including Sergio Brown who he feels that since the Patriots have a tendancy to sign at least one undrafted free agent – Brown could be that guy this season.
Rapoport also has five things of his own to watch tonight, including whether or not James Sanders will earn himself a spot on the team after tonight’s game.
Christopher Price of WEEI.com also has his things to keep your eye on tonight, and wonders how last week’s dreadful performance will effect how the team approaches tonight’s game.
Garven also writes that while tonight may be a “bogus game” in terms of who we’ll see play, there are still real jobs on the line which could end up having an effect on what happens in two weeks when the Patriots take on the Bengals.
For all the technology guys (and girls) out there we recently mentioned the fact that tonight’s game against the Giants will be broadcast in 3D for Verizon Fios customers, but CNET actually has a good article about the technology and the frustration over the fact that these exclusive deals are making what’s already a small audience even smaller.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald takes a look at the fact that with veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden sidelined with an injury, the pressure falls now on the young group of defensive backs, who will need to dig in and take their game to the next level.
Brandon Spikes is already dealing with the embarrassment of the release of an explicit video that had surfaced online that had up to yesterday only cost him his dignity. Instead it’s also ended up costing him money after the Boston Globe reported that an endorsement deal by Reebok has been pulled off the table following the news of that video getting out. One published report claims it cost the rookie $60,000 – although at this point Spikes is likely just looking forward to this whole thing going away.
Tom Curran of NECN recently sat down with Jonathan Kraft to discuss a variety of topics including Logan Mankins, whose comments about owner Robert Kraft appear to have not sat well inside the organization.
“Robert’s never spoken to Logan about his contract. Ever. … Logan, in my opinion, seriously misspoke when he said that about Robert because Robert has not spoken with Logan about his contract.”
“Sometimes when credibility is called into question you have to address it but Logan’s not here, Logan’s not in the building, Logan’s not under contract right now.
Needless to say for anyone wondering where the two sides stand on potentially finding some sort of common ground, it appears that this one remains in a stalemate.
FoxSports analyst and former NFL head coach Brian Billick spoke to WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan this morning and talked about several Patriots topics, along with the fact he felt that there was no downside for doing HBO’s Hard Knocks considering the amount of attention it brings to your organization on a national level.
In what was somewhat of an interesting article, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy feels that WBZ has “sold their soul” to the Patriots, after last week’s coverage of the Patriots last week included the on air guys wearing shirts with the team’s logo on it.
And finally Albert Breer of the Boston Globe has an interesting look at some of the bigger issues surrounding this football team heading into the season, and calls Tom Brady’s contract negotiation “the most important contract negotiation in the history of the franchise”.
That’s it for this morning. Hope everyone has a good day, and be sure to join us in our Patriots Message Board tonight during the game for live discussion and reactions.