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Five things to watch tonight

September 1, 2011

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1. If the starters play a lot, it’s a sign that Bill Belichick really wasn’t happy with what happened in Detroit Saturday night. If the starters get the usual one-and-done (or less), then the big man is content with the course the team is on.

2. With Dan Connolly injuring his right foot against the Lions, right guard has become an even bigger question mark. Can Rich Ohrnberger show he can start multiple games if the need arises? Will 6-foot-8-inch rookie Nate Solder get some reps there? Or will the team move longtime left tackle Matt Light to right guard and make way for Solder at left tackle?

3. With the release of veteran safety James Sanders, the Patriots have three players set at the safety position: Patrick Chung, Brandon Meriweather, and Sergio Brown. Josh Barrett and James Ihedigbo are battling it out for the final spot, unless the Patriots make a trade or claim someone. Game on.

4. Some veterans will be trying to show one last time that they deserve a spot on this team. Defensive end Mark Anderson had three hurries and a quarterback hit in the preseason opener against Jacksonville, but has had just two hurries and a hit since. Tracy White seems to have an edge on Niko Koutouvides and Ricky Brown for the final linebacker/special teams spot.

5. Former Boston College linebacker (and cancer survivor) Mark Herzlich is trying to make the Giants after signing as an undrafted free agent. He has made his mark on special teams but likely will have to do more because they have some rising young linebackers who were drafted (Adrian Tracy, Phillip Dillard, Greg Jones).

GREG A. BEDARD

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