BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots close out their preseason Thursday night at Gillette against the New York Giants in what has become a bit of an annual tradition.
While the fourth preseason game is usually for bubble players fighting for a job, there will be plenty to focus on in this one. Here are some items to watch for as the Patriots close out their preseason:
– First and foremost is the health. You want the Pats to have a very positive showing, but at the end of the day let Tom Brady, Danny Amendola, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Stevan Ridley, Aqib Talib and all of the players the Patriots need for the season end the game on the sidelines, relaxing and chillin’. This is not the time to get an injury that will impact their season.
– No turnovers will surely be the theme after last week’s mess against the Lions. After emphasizing it this week in practice, the Pats will practice ball security as they one last tune-up for the regular season. Also expect the defense to get after the ball and work on their takeaways.
– Bubble guys, this is your last chance so show us something. Leon Washington, Jermaine Cunningham, Danilel Fells, Michael Hoomanawauni and possibly Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson fall under this category. The Pats can only keep 53 players and that decision will be made by Saturday 6 p.m.. If you’re a player who feels like you’re on the bubble, play your heart out tonight.
What To Watch For: Tom’s Final Tune-Up; Tebow’s Last Chance
– Tim Tebow, I feel, has already made this team. I’ve gone back and forth with this but they gave Chad Ochocinco a year to learn the system before cutting him, so Tebow deserves that. Plus, he’ll work harder to learn what he has to learn. Tonight, he should get a chance and he needs to impress just to show he’s making progress in some way. If he has a bad showing like he did against Tampa, his world in New England will be rocky. Everyone, including his supporters, will have to question where he stands.
Tebow has great football skills but could be a player without a position. He needs to show the staff that he can run a football team. That’s different than just playing quarterback.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid
Tune in to the Patriots preseason finale Thursday night against the New York Giants on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on 98.5 FM, and at 7.p.m. on WBZ with a special edition of Patriots GameDay. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., which a full post game show on 98.5 and a special Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV!