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Three Up, Three Down For the Patriots in their Final Preseason Game

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
6 years ago at 6:46 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Three Up, Three Down For the Patriots in their Final Preseason GameStew Milne - USA TODAY Sports

Game play overshadowed by news of the Brady decision

The Patriots and Giants sat most of their skill position players, as was expected on Thursday night. The Giants came away with a 12-9 victory when they stripped sack Ryan Lindley at their ten yard line with under a minute to go.

The game itself was overshadowed for New England by the news earlier in the day that QB Tom Brady had his suspension vacated by Judge Berman in court. And like it says in the CIA’s HQs in Langley, Virgina….”The truth will set you free”.

But back to the game, Thursday’s contest was a chance for some players to showcase their talents one final time before the final cuts to the 53-man roster are done on Saturday. Some were trying to land on the Patriots roster, others such as Ryan Lindley are auditioning for backup jobs elsewhere.

Three Up:

Rufus Johnson: No surprises here, Johnson the big, long unheralded prospect from Tarelton State has had a very impressive summer. Johnson flashed all during training camp and in the preseason games. He more than held his own against 1st round draft pick Erich Flowers on the edge, getting a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks as well as in the running game.

The Patriots, short of keeping 10 defensive linemen will have a hard time sliding him thru waivers after the summer he’s had. WEEI’s Chris Price and I were joking during the game about Johnson ending up on IR with an injury of some sort…the dreaded “Foxboro Flu”.

Johnson and Trey Flowers were both outstanding on the edge on Thursday night. With guys like Jones, Ninkovich and Sheard taking the night off, this is further proof positive that this front seven from the edge will be much improved this season.

Ryan Wendell: It was good to see Wendell finally back out on the field this week as he came off of PUP and got the start at center for the game. Wendell’s versatility allows him to play both at center or guard and with the concussion to Bryan Stork, if he is not cleared to play in Thursday night’s opener; Wendell could slide right in to his old position.

With him starting at center for the first quarter, it allowed the rookie guards Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason to get some more starting reps this preseason. Wendell looked pretty good out there, which is a good sign moving forward. If Stork is ready to go, Wendell will probably start at the left guard spot with Jackson on the right.

Reggie Wayne: While his stat line for the 1st half isn’t going to wow anyone, (2 receptions for 24 yards), Wayne was doing the things that an established veteran WR is supposed to do on the field. He caught a six yard pass where he alertly came back to the QB when Lindley was scrambling to stay upright. And he also made a nice play on an 18 yard play down the sideline. Lindley lofted a perfectly thrown ball down the right seam and Wayne waited until the final moment to raise his hands and haul the pass in. That gave the defender no time to react. A savvy veteran move. Wayne also drew a penalty on a defender on a key fourth down play.

Wayne’s totals would have been higher had Brady been under center as he was open on a few more occasions but Lindley’s timing with him was not there. Again, there was nothing eye-popping there, but Wayne isn’t expected to be the #1 target here. It was a baby-steps kind of performance as he’s trying to acclimate himself into the Patriots offense. And it was a positive step forward.

Three Down:

Aaron Dobson: Tough to place Dobson here as he was tied for the team lead with four receptions for the game for a team leading total of 56 yards. And he could have had a touchdown on a deep go-route in the first half with a better thrown ball by Lindley.

But for a guy who is still on the bubble in his third season, we were expecting to see more from him. Although I still believe that Dobson will make the roster, he’s still not out of the woods yet. I’m still not feeling the confidence with him in this offense.  And if you don’t have the confidence of #12, you’re not going to see a ton of passes.

Logan Ryan: For a guy who was supposed to be a starter this fall, the sight of Ryan playing deep into the game was not one you want to see. With Butler, Brown and Fletcher basically given the night off, this signifies Ryan is far down the depth chart, a far cry from where he should be in his third season like Dobson.

While he will also probably make the 53-man roster, it wouldn’t be a shocker if he didn’t at this point either.

Ryan Lindley: Lindley’s performance wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. He was basically auditioning for other team’s backup jobs as it is doubtful the Patriots will keep three QBs at this point.

He did show good pocket awareness and was able to slide in the pocket and step up in the face of pressure. But his timing and accuracy were not great and the team definitely left some points on the table.

Stay tuned to and we’ll keep you informed on the latest roster moves this weekend as the Patriots trim the team to the 53-man limit and put together their practice squad for 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Preseason 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Chandler Jones Jabaal Sheard Jonas Gray Jordan Richards Josh Boyce Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler NFL Patriots edge rushers Patriots Training Camp Photos Rob Ninkovich Roger Goodell Shaq Mason Tom Brady Tre' Jackson Trey Flowers

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