Patriots to Watch Tonight vs. Saints
Tonight the Patriots finally hit the Gillette Stadium game field as they take on the New Orleans Saints in the first of their preseason games. The starters will be on and off the field pretty quick, but there are still plenty of players to keep an eye on throughout the game. Here are a few to watch tonight:
- WR Donté Stallworth- The veteran wide receiver needs to show something in these preseason games to cement a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. With top options Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker likely to be out of the game pretty quick, Stallworth needs to take advantage of his reps.
- RB Shane Vereen- Vereen needs to show competence in his pass-blocking and look comfortable in the Patriot offense when they spread things out. Rookie tailback Brandon Bolden has been getting a lot of attention and reps recently; Vereen needs to make people remember why he was a second-round pick a year ago.
- RB Brandon Bolden- As mentioned, Bolden has been getting a little bit of run in training camp recently, it will be interesting to see if he can impress in actual game situations, even though he will be on the field against backups.
- FS Tavon Wilson- Wilson has been scrutinized ever since Bill Belichick took a flyer on him with a second-round pick in April. He has had some good reviews on the field in camp, but he needs to show some play-making ability and sure tackling in-game, and against the Saints passing attack he may see some dangerous players coming at him.
- CB Devin McCourty- McCourty could not have looked much worse last season. If he gets any reps tonight vs. the Saints No. 1 offense, he needs to regain some confidence and not get beaten right off the line like he was known for a year ago. If he does not get anything going soon, he just may lose his job before the regular season.
- CB Sterling Moore- Moore ended the post-season last year playing arguably as well as any corner on the team. With McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Ras-I Dowling projected ahead of him currently, he needs to make a play or two as a reminder that he should be in the conversation for playing time this season.
- LB Bobby Carpenter- After a disappointing start to his career, Carpenter has looked like a possibility to make the team backup linebacker. He needs to show some physicality in his play when the real hitting comes to the field tonight.
- QBs Brian Hoyer & Ryan Mallett- The Patriots backups will obviously get a lot of run tonight after Tom Brady exits and it is always interesting to see the development of the backup quarterbacks. Mallett will be the man to really keep an eye on to see if he makes a good leap forward in his second-year in the system.