By: Ian Logue
The Patriots will take on the New York Giants in their final exhibition game of the year tonight at Gillette Stadium beginning at 7:30pm, and there’s obviously plenty going on this morning so let’s get right to the headlines.
The Boston Globe reports this morning that the Foxborough selectmen and women held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the license for tonight’s game and whether it should be pulled because of public safety concerns. According to the article, the board voted, 5-0, in favor of keeping the license in place. Most of the power is restored on Route one, so lighting is no longer an issue.
Courtney Jansson of the Foxboro Patch has more on yesterday’s emergency meeting, which discusses more of the personnel and logistical issuessurrounding tonight’s game.
ESPNBoston.com writes that tonight’s game will feature a 9/11 tribute, and reminds fans of the tribute paid to former Patriot Joe Andruzzi’s brothers – who are both New York City firefighters.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has his “Five Things to Watch For” for tonight, and wonders who will take James Sanders place at safety.
Rapoport also takes a look at the impact of special teams now that the kickoff rules have changed, and how it could potentially the final roster cutdowns.
Rapoport also writes that it’s expected to be a “starless” night tonight at Gillette Stadium, with few starters expected to see action for New England tonight.
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe feels the opposite could happen, pointing out that after losing to Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams in embarrassing fashion last year, half the starters took the field for the early part of the fourth game – and she thinks the same could potentially happen tonight against the Giants.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com has an article on tonight’s contest, and feels that it’s a pivotal game for guys like Brandon Tate, who could see a lot of playing time while trying to prove he belongs here.
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram also previews tonight’s game, and wonders if we’ll finally get to see what Shane Vereen is all about against the Giants.
Tom Curran of CSNNE.com just posted an entry a few minutes ago on “What to Look For in Tonight’s Game,” including the fact he feels it’s important for linebacker Brandon Spikes – who missed most of camp with an undisclosed injury – to prove he’s in game shape.
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com looks at the battle between James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett as one of the reasons to watch tonight.
The Boston Globe has “Five Things to Watch For” tonight – which doesn’t include a byline as to who wrote it. One aspect to keep an eye on that was mentioned will be the right guard position, which lost Dan Connolly to a foot injury last week against the Lions.
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle writes that tonight’s game will be the final auditions for quite a few players. Farinella also points out thatdespite the fact they’ve had a shortened preseason, Bill Belichick refuses to use that as an excuse since now that September is here, the same process as every season still applies.
“We’re almost at the beginning of September now,” he said Tuesday. “This is what the beginning of September is. This year is no different than any other year in terms of making the final roster cuts, dealing with the opener, trying to figure out what your roster is, looking at what other teams are doing, so that part of it is really pretty much the same.”
Our own Russ Goldman looks at the state of New England’s offensive line, and feels that fans are overreacting a bit after the team had one bad outing last week in Detroit.
Speaking of the offensive line, Ian Rapoport writes that there are some players who can work out in the offseason, walk onto the football field and it’s as though they never left, but Matt Light is apparently not one of them. Rapoport writes that repetition is something that Light needs as he tries to get back into the groove at left tackle.
“Regardless of how many times you’ve done it, repetition is really what gives you that confidence,” Light said. “It gives you the ability to go out there and do what you do. Some guys can go out there and probably walk through it and it just happens for them. Others, like myself, I need the reps. It was good to be back out.”
Mike Reiss has a video report on tonight’s final game, and wonders if it’s possible for fans to give Chad Ochocinco a little more time before fans bury him.
Christopher Price of WEEI has 10 players on the bubble, including offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, who was tormented by Suh last week out in Detroit after Connolly went down.
Reiss also has some leftover quotes from yesterday’s conference call with the Monday Night Football crew, including some thoughts on rookie left tackle Nate Solder.
Hector Longo of the Lawrence Eagle Tribune writes that tonight’s game is forBuddy Farnham, who will have one final shot at making the roster.
Christopher Price of WEEI spoke with NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger, who offered some great insight on the current state of some of the guys on the roster following last week’s loss, including the fact that even Logan Mankins had problems last week against Ndamukong Suh.
An interesting column this morning from Bill Reynolds of the Providence Journal, who writes that there’s not much left for quarterback Tom Brady to prove, and writes that this season is just “gravy” for a guy who’s already reached ‘football immortality’.
The Patriots made a roster move yesterday, with the team putting offensive lineman Marcus Cannon on the reserve/non-football injury list, and also claimed cornerback Antwaun Molden off waivers from the Texans. Belichick said earlier this week that Cannon just isn’t ready as he continues recovering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“He does have some limitations,” said Belichick. “When those limitations are lifted then we’ll be able to evaluate him like everybody else and see what he can do without any limitations. Right now, we’re just not at the point yet. But I think he’s doing well and we’re getting closer, but we’re still not there yet.”
And finally, former Patriots runningback Laurence Maroney was acquitted of a misdemeanor marijuana charge in St. Louis on Wednesday. The interesting part about his case is rather than plead and take whatever penalty there was, Maroney held his ground and insisted he was innocent and opted to go to trial and let the jury decide. According to the Associated Press he was found to be not guilty because prosecutors failed to meet the burden of proof in the case. As a result, Maroney finds himself in a better position as he looks to try and catch on with another team.
That’s it for this morning. I’ll have a couple of additional entries in a bit, including a look at this morning’s reports out of New York, along with an entry on Kevin Faulk, who – if history is any indication – may end up being quite an asset to have waiting in the wings this season.