FOXBOROUGH – The preseason has finally come to a close and the Patriots can now make their final decisions on the 53-man roster.
After beating the New York Giants 28-20, jobs were both secured and lost. In these takeaways, we keep the upcoming roster cuts in mind.
1. Are we looking too deeply into Adrian Wilson’s extended play? — Through the third quarter of Thursday night’s game, safety Adrian Wilson was prominent on the field, an aberration considering the snaps played by other suspected starters. His extensive play versus, say, Steve Gregory’s lack of snaps, could lend to the idea that Wilson’s job is on the line. We’ll know with certainty on Saturday.
2. Leon Washington’s mixed performance — On the one hand, Washington’s 43-yard punt return was electrifying. On the other, his fumble was anticlimactic. As a player trying to prove his worth as a specialist, the last thing he needed was a turnover. And while Washington was prominently featured in Thursday’s game with the second, third and fourth string, direct competitors LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden were withheld from the game, a sign that they need to be protected for the season.
3. Jake Bequette on the bubble — Despite getting the start, Jake Bequette was on his way to yet another unremarkable outing. And then, in the dead of a miserable fourth quarter, he blew up a running play in the backfield, recording a tackle for a loss. He had three combined tackles. Despite being a third-round draft pick in 2012, Bequette is still on the bubble. It didn’t help that this year’s seventh round draft pick, Michael Buchanan, outplayed him with 2.5 sacks and forced fumble Thursday.
4. Tavon Wilson showed improvement — It was a quiet night for Tavon Wilson, which is saying something considering his porous preseason. He had five combined tackles and, most importantly, kept plays in front of him. There weren’t the egregious mental mistakes that we had become used to and there wasn’t the obvious miscommunication that had become the norm. Instead, it was a relatively smooth outing for the second-year player. I can’t help but think that’s a boost for his stock on the team.
5. Tim Tebow, Quentin Sims make one last push — Tim Tebow, finishing 6 of 11 passing with two touchdowns and an interception, completed three of his passes to Quentin Sims for 72 yards, including both of his touchdowns. They both showed chemistry in the team’s final preseason. Obviously Tebow is trying to make the 53-man roster. But for Sims, this was his last audition for a possible slot on the team’s practice squad. The team has usually kept at least one wide receiver the practice squad, making this game more pivotal for Sims probably than Tebow.
“It was our last chance to show the coaches that we could do something and just try and go out and perform,” Sims said. “I felt like I did pretty well.”
Zuri Berry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.