|What to watch for in Thursday’s Patriots-Giants preseason finale||08.28.14 at 7:30 am ET|
Here are seven things we’ll be looking for Thursday night when the Patriots meet the Giants in the preseason finale for both teams.
WHO DOESN’T PLAY
When it comes to the preseason finale, it’s just as important to figure out who doesn’t play as opposed to who does play. As we detailed here, if you’re a starter — or even a veteran — and you find yourself on the field for anything more than 10-15 snaps on Thursday night, it’s a bad sign. (The only area where this might be an exception is along the interior of the offensive line, for reasons we will address shortly.) Based on the work the Patriots were able to put in last week against the Panthers when they looked mostly razor sharp on both sides of the ball, don’t expect many of the starters to see the field against the Giants, despite the fact that we know New York is going to roll out its starters for between 15-18 snaps.
A good chunk of this relates back to the first point — we know quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to start and get the bulk of the snaps. But given the fact that history tells us those who don’t play are likely to have a secure roster spot, we’ll be keeping an eye on a few first-year players and monitoring their playing time. Cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back James White have been among the rookies who have played well enough to land a roster spot over the course of the summer — if they end up sitting Thursday night, it’s a good bet they’ve made the roster.
Thursday will be the first professional start for Garoppolo, and he’ll get a chance to show what he can do against a No. 1 defense for the first time in the preseason. The New England coaching staff will be interested in seeing him in as many different situations as possible: two-minute, end-of-half, under pressure from a steady rush, as well as a potential four-minute offense situation. Everything is on the table when it comes to evaluating Garoppolo. From this viewpoint, Ryan Mallett still is the No. 2 quarterback on the roster, but the rookie will get his opportunity to show what he can do come Thursday evening in North Jersey.
|Cowboys claim DB Jemea Thomas off waivers from Patriots||08.27.14 at 5:37 pm ET|
The Cowboys have claimed defensive back Jemea Thomas off of waivers from the Patriots. Thomas, who was a sixth-round pick of New England this past spring, is a Georgia Tech product who was cut loose by the Patriots this past weekend.
The 5-foot-9, 192-pound Thomas played all four years at Tech as a defensive back, starting the final 28 games of his career on defense. As a junior, he finished second on the team with 86 tackles and four interceptions. In 2013, he started all 13 games as a senior, and led the team in solo tackles (73), total tackles (88) and pass break-ups (8). He had 9 interceptions in his last three seasons as a collegian.
|Report: Ex-Pats DT Tommy Kelly signs with Cardinals||08.27.14 at 3:31 pm ET|
Former Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The 33-year-old Kelly started five games for the Patriots last season before his season ended because of a torn ACL. The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder had 2 1/2 sacks for New England in 2013. He was released over the weekend.
|Why all six players cut by Patriots on Tuesday could eventually end up back in Foxboro||08.27.14 at 7:30 am ET|
Just because a player is cut by the Patriots doesn’t mean they still can’t have a career in New England.
All six of the players who were released by the Patriots on Tuesday have practice squad eligibility: defensive lineman Ben Bass, defensive back Travis Hawkins, wide receiver Derrick Johnson, linebacker Deontae Skinner, defensive back Jemea Thomas and wide receiver Wilson Van Hooser were all cut loose by New England on Tuesday. However, they can all be added to the p-squad following the final series of cuts later this month, provided they pass through waivers.
Chances are better this year than in years’ past that players who are released by the team could find their way back via the practice squad, as the practice squad rosters have been expanded from eight to 10 for the 2014 season.
The two players they placed on injured reserve — running back Tyler Gaffney and linebacker Cameron Gordon — do not have practice squad eligibility, as they were placed on IR.
|Patriots unveil series of roster moves to get down to 75-man limit||08.26.14 at 4:57 pm ET|
The Patriots announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday to meet the mandatory NFL cutdown to a 75-man roster.
They released six players: defensive lineman Ben Bass, defensive back Travis Hawkins, wide receiver Derrick Johnson, linebacker Deontae Skinner, defensive back Jemea Thomas and wide receiver Wilson Van Hooser. They also placed running back Tyler Gaffney and linebacker Cameron Gordon on injured reserve.
Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:
Bass, 24, was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for DB Justin Green on August 15, 2014. He originally joined the Cowboys in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder spent most of the 2012 season on the Cowboys’ practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 13, 2013. Bass appeared in two games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1, 2012. He went to training camp with the Cowboys in 2013 but was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season.
Hawkins, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Delaware on May 12, 2014. Hawkins transferred to Delaware after two seasons at Maryland. The 5-10, 195-pounder, had 66 total tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed last season and was named first-team all-conference in 2013.
Johnson, 22, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Maine on May 19, 2014. He was released by the Patriots on June 9, 2014, and then re-signed on July 18, 2014. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder tied for the team lead with 60 receptions for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. Johnson finished his college career with 116 receptions for 1,165 yards and four touchdowns.
Skinner, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State on May 12, 2014. He was a three-year starter at Mississippi State. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder first earned a starting position at linebacker as a sophomore in 2011.
|Bill Belichick: ‘Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player’||08.26.14 at 3:56 pm ET|
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player. It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made — and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make — but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Buccaneers confirm trade: Patriots deal Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay for TE Tim Wright, draft pick||08.26.14 at 1:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s official. The Logan Mankins era is over in New England.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports was the first to report the deal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the draft pick coming to New England is a fourth-rounder.
The 32-year-old Mankins, a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2005, has played his entire career in New England. A six-time Pro Bowler, he will go to Tampa Bay in exchange for Wright, a 24-year-old out of Rutgers who had 54 catches for 571 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie year last season with the Bucs.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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