To be honest I’d really rather not watch any of this last preseason game against the Giants. It’s just too soon. At least the uniforms will be switched around so it won’t give me any immediate flashbacks to that game in February.
It’s just frustrating to have to see the Giants again, but not get a legitimate shot at them. Instead they’ll just stand there on the sidelines, probably all wearing their Super Bowl rings, with satisfied smirks plastered on their faces.
Anyway, enough about that. The regular season is upon us and we really need to be looking ahead.
Despite the fact that we probably won’t see very many of the Pats starters, if any at all, there’s still some final slots still there for the taking (as far as we know). Here are positions that I think could still be up for grab, and guys who need a big game.
1. Offensive Line - Of course Brian Waters could be back in the mix by the weekend, but if he’s not it will have an effect on who the Pats keep from their o-line group. As Greg Bedard pointed out, the fact that Koppen didn’t get released this week probably means he’s going to make the team. I can’t complain about keeping Koppen, he might be a one-trick pony but he’ll bring some veteran stability that I think could be needed this year.
The question as I see it is do they feel comfortable with just Vollmer, Solder and Cannon as their tackles? Could Weems sneak on? What about Nick McDonald, he’s played every position on the line. Should be some tough choices to make.
2. Secondary - Will Allen going to IR throws a wrench in my most recent projections. I liked his veteran presence and versatility. So now you’ve got Sterling Moore and probably Marquice Cole as locks, leaving maybe one more spot for Alfonzo Dennard, James Ihedigbo and possibly Sergio Brown. None of them have shown much this summer, so perhaps all three could be on the way out, but I consider Ihedigbo to have the inside track, though a strong showing from Dennard could really help his cause.
3. Running Back - The backfield has only gotten more convoluted lately with the addition of Jeff Demps. Stevan Ridley looks like he’s the starter, then after that is a collection of three backs who are all somewhat similar, albeit each with some unique traits, and Brandon Bolden as the only real short yardage bull and that has to be a big plus for him.
So how does Vereen/Woodhead/Demps play out? Could Eric Kettani even sneak on? We should get a good dose of Bolden and Demps against the Giants, and if we’re seeing a lot of Woodhead too it could be a sign his job hasn’t been locked up yet. This should be one of the most interesting positions to watch during cuts.
4. Defensive Line - It’s pretty clear who the defensive tackles will be barring a surprise (Wilfork, Love, Brace, Deaderick) but can one of the less heralded guys make the cut? Justin Francis might be a little more of a defensive end, but he’s flashed some burst when used inside. Marcus Forston has been up and down, but has some potential as well. Or maybe even Marcus Harrison could be a dark horse.
Between Trevor Scott, Jermaine Cunningham and Jake Bequette there’s a little bit of a log jam for back up defensive end and all three are somewhat similar players. Could that open the door for one of the young d-tackles who bring a little something different to the party? It’s possible.
5.Jeremy Ebert - With the release of both Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney it’s possible a window of opportunity has opened for rookie Jeremy Ebert. He hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp or in the games but has looked generally solid. He still might be a long shot, but he’ll play a lot against the Giants and could make a statement with a strong performance.