The second week of the preseason was another good opportunity for the Patriots' second and third string players to make their mark as the team's starters essentially only played the first quarter.
Here are the "bubble" players that I feel helped or hurt their chances of sticking on the final roster:
Improved their Chances
Brandon Bolden, RB: Bolden might be near the bottom of the depth chart in 2013, but he improved his chances to stick to the final roster on Friday night (similar to how the Patriots kept an extra back in Green-Ellis in 2009). Bolden carried the ball six times for a total of 38 yards, including a 25 yard second half scamper. Of all the Patriots backs, Bolden is perhaps the best at driving his legs after initial contact.
James Develin, FB: Develin might still be a longshot to make the roster, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick rewarded a strong training camp from him with a start Friday night. Develin was featured during the first two drives as the lead back in the i-formation, and successfully converted two short yardage situations.
Jeff Tarpinian, LB: Didn’t play much with base defense, but flashed as a blitzer on one play, blowing up a block which led to a Mike Rivera tackle for loss. Tarpinian has shown up a couple times throughout the preseason. He’s still a longshot for a spot, but if he can prove his value on special teams, could stick (12 snaps there on Friday).
Marquice Cole, CB: Cole had a very solid game in coverage, coming up with several impressive tackles that negated any potential yards after the catch for the man he was covering. He already has value on special teams, and is proving he may be able to contribute as a sub-package defender.
Hurt Their Chances
Tim Tebow, QB: His stat line may didn’t even reflect how poorly he played. Slow decision making, terrible throws, and a lack of progressions. Tebow has been improved in practice the last two weeks, but had a disappointing performance for a player who was supposed to step it up in game situations.
Kamar Aiken, WR: He didn't do anything wrong, but there was a time where Aiken seemed primed to compete for a roster spot. However, he played just three snaps on Friday. He looks like a real longshot to make the final roster at this point. Practice squad, however, looks like a real possibility if he were to go unclaimed.
Ryan Allen, P: The rookie punter was outperformed by Zoltan Mesko. He had one short 35 yard punt and kicked a touchback (when there was an opportunity to pin the Buccaneers deep).