Aug 29, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) at the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots concluded their 2013 preseason with a 28-20 win over the New York Giants. Most of the starters on both sides of the ball for the Pats were held out of this game, so most of the focus was on the second and third string players. There were a number of guys”on the bubble” in terms of making the Pats final 53 man roster, and this game was their last opportunity to showcase their talent to the Patriots coaching staff.
Here are five rapid reaction takeaways from this game.
1. Tebow Will Be Cut
As I mentioned above, this was the last chance for players to prove that they deserve a spot on this roster, and quarterback Tim Tebow did not do much to improve his case. Tebow’s trademark inaccuracy and horrible decision making were on display once again in the Pats win. Tebow made a few nice throws, but it wasn’t nearly enough to dig himself out of the giant hole he has dug himself into throughout the offseason.
2. Mallett Up And Down
At certain points tonight, Mallett looked like a guy that is worthy of being a starting quarterback in this league, then at other times he looked like the backup quarterback that he is. It has become apparent that Mallett’s biggest achilles heel is his ability to make “touch” throws. We know that he has a cannon for an arm, but he struggles when he is asked to take something off of it, and make a more precise toss. Mallett missed running back Leon Washington on a wide open wheel route early in this game, that would have gone for an easy touchdown. He later severely underthrew Aaron Dobson in the end-zone that should have resulted in an interception. However he rebounded with a a perfect 40 yard bomb to rookie Josh Boyce in the second quarter. Mallett has the talent, but he has to learn to do the little things to improve his game, and possibly land a starting job in the NFL.
3. Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette Impress
This may be a ‘too little too late’ type of thing, but I thought that Michael Buchanan and Jake Bequette both had a terrific performance in this game. Buchanan was explosive off the edge, as he finished the contest with 2.5 sacks and he was constantly disrupting the Giants backfield. I believe that Buchanan has a very good chance of making the final 53 man roster, and his performance in this game only enhances this belief. As for Bequette, he didn’t show up on the stat sheet quite like Buchanan did (only one tackle), but he was still very productive. He set the edge like a defensive end is supposed to do, and he found himself in the offensive backfield on more than a few occasions. Bequette has been a big disappointment within the Patriots organization, but this game showed that he still has some of the talent that grabbed the Patriots attention when Bequette was drafted.
4. Adrian Wilson, Aaron Dobson
Wilson was among the second and third stringers on the defensive side of the ball thoughout this game, and that is never a good sign for a veteran like Wilson. He came into this game already on the bubble, and I don’t think that he did anything to secure himself a roster spot. I am very disappointed in this signing, because I thought it would put the Pats defense over the top. Sadly, it looks like he may not even make the final roster in New England. Another big disappointment of this offseason has been rookie receiver Aaron Dobson. Dobson is an athletic guy, with a ton of upside, but he hasn’t been able to generate any separation from his defender, and that will really hinder his ability to produce in the regular season.
5. Preseason Is Finally Over
Easily the biggest thing to take away from this game is the fact that the regular season is nearly upon us. The Patriots have worked their butts off through the preseason, trying to knock off all the rust from last season, as well as trying to work all the new guys into their system. At times they have looked like a team that could go all the way to the Super Bowl, and at times they look like a team that needs a lot of work. But the regular season is only a short 10 days away, and I am sure that every single member of the New England Patriots is now focused on the Buffalo Bills.