Christopher Price tells us ten things we learned Wednesday.
THE PATRIOTS ARE READY FOR THE REAL THING
Sure, the rookies got their reps, a few guys got dinged up (we still don’t know about the long-term health of Shane Vereen), the veterans got back into the swing of things and the coaches have a chance to look at an awful lot of bubble candidates between now and Friday, when they have to cut the roster to 53.
But when it comes to the most important stuff we learned about the Patriots Wednesday, it’s simple: after four fairly vanilla preseason games where they offered next-to-nothing in terms of scouting nuggets for their regular-season opponents, everyone is relatively healthy and ready for the real thing, which starts a week from Sunday in Tennessee.
In the end, the stats in this one don’t really matter — Ryan Mallett played most of the game at quarterback, Brandon Bolden got a ton of reps at running back and Jermaine Cunningham had an impressive night at defensive end. The Giants won, 6-3, on a pair of field goals from Lawrence Tynes, but the Patriots accomplished their two major goals of the night: they survived preseason without any major injuries and had a chance to look at a lot of players.
JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM HAD A BIG GAME WHEN HE NEEDED IT THE MOST
For someone who was considered to be on the bubble all summer, it was a very nice game for the defensive end out of Florida, who has managed to put together a pair of impressive games this preseason and could ultimately find his way back onto the 53-man roster because of his effort.
With an impressive performance against the Eagles already on the resume, he started Wednesday night against the Giants and played most the night. He came away with three tackles (two solo), two sacks (for a total of 21 yards) and three quarterback hits. Those numbers were padded because some of them came against second- and third-teamers, but it was the sort of dominant effort at times that he needed to secure a spot on the roster.
Cunningham had both sacks in the first half. The first happened midway through the first quarter when he beat his man to the outside and dropped Eli Manning for a 14-yard loss. The second one was at the end of the second quarter, and was a seven-yarder on backup David Carr where he was able to get good pressure to the inside. Cunningham added to his night when he drew a holding call on Giants offensive lineman Matt McCants on New York’s first drive of the second half.
In the end, Cunningham ended the preseason with six quarterback hits, best on the team. His future could ultimately be tied to Andre Carter – if the veteran does end up returning to the Patriots, it would cut into his playing time. But you can’t say that he hasn’t battled in his attempt to stick around.
- Erik Scalavino analyzes the Patriots-Giants game, that didn't have the most compelling of story lines.
- Post Game Notes: Patriots vs. Giants.
- Post Game Presser: Bill Belichick (4.57 min. video)
- Post Game Show with Adam Jones. (1 hr, 30 min. program)
- Mike Reiss posts his initial reaction to Giants 6, Patriots 3. Dan Koppen is fighting for a job.
- Jeff Howe reports Bill Belichick had nothing to gain from seeing the starters play last night.
- Greg A. Bedard offers five quickie thoughts on last night's matchup. Did Brandon Bolden do enough to make the roster?
- Tom E. Curran notes the big news to come out of Wednesday's game was that Jeff Demps injured his right leg and Sebastian Vollmer saw a little action.
- Mark Farinella learned from the Pats' preseason finale that Zoltan Mesko (wait for it ...) is in midseason form.
- Paul Kenyon recaps the final Patriots preseason game, exciting only for the players who may never play in another NFL game.
- Zuri Berry gives us a play-by-play account of the Pats' final preseason game.
- Mike Reiss notes Bill Belichick said it's a tight contest for which backup QB will have the No. 2 designation on the depth chart.
- Dan Duggan notes Ryan Mallett showed flashes of talent and has made progress, but there's still a long way to go.
- Greg A. Bedard says the jury is still out on Ryan Mallett.
- Field Yates sees a more comfortable and confident Ryan Mallett.
- Shalise Manza Young reports Jermaine Cunningham clearly got the memo that last night's game was a last-gasp audition to make the team.
- Mike Reiss breaks down Sebastian Vollmer's night.
- WEEI points out what went right and what went wrong for the Patriots in their 4th and final preseason game.
- Mike Reiss gives us his 3 up and 3 down for the Patriots.
- Mark Farinella picks his Hots and Nots from last night. Jermaine Cunningham is on fire.
- Mike Rodak notes the post-game status of some players who were dinged up last night: Niko Koutouvides, Alex Silvestro and Jeff Demps.
- Gary Dzen tells us the storylines to follow this season in the NFL.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: The O-line received a significant boost with the debut of RT Sebastian Vollmer; RB Jeff Demps feels like he's made some strides, but left the game with a slight limp; DE Jermaine Cunningham finished strong with two sacks, three QB hits, one drawn holding penalty and three total tackles last night; Brady, Branch, Hernandez and Gronkowski had a little fun in a pick-up game at MetLife Stadium before kickoff.
- NFL Game Center - New England Patriots at New York Giants. Recap, stats, analysis and highlights.
- Video (NFL.com) Brady and Gronk fool around in warmups. (24 second clip)
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Jeff Demps "fine" after precautionary MRI.
- Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) 2012 NFL predictions. NE tops the AFC East, and beats the Saints in the Super Bowl.
- Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) Hernandez's $40M Pats deal, versatility send message to rest of NFL.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) What we learned in Wednesday's preseason games. No mention of Jermaine Cunningham.
- Ian Rapoport (NFL.com) XLVII things to look forward to when 2012 NFL season begins.
- Peter Schrager (Fox Sports) Bold predictions for 2012 NFL season.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Jay Gruden thinks Jermaine Gresham can be like Gronkowski.
- James Walker (ESPN) 'Hard Knocks' report: Episode four.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Davis trade frames important question about player relations. Interesting comment about NE, GB, NYG & Pit vs. teams like Miami.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Problems persist with replacement officials. Ya think?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL says it's ready to negotiate with officials.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Building a better NFL agent.