The New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants with a final score of 12-9. It was exactly as exciting as that final score reports. Here are the key takeaways from the game.
Reggie Wayne still has gas in the tank
While his statline wasn't impressive, that was more about the quality of the quarterback than the receiver. Wayne was shaking free of his defender at will and generating helpful separation. He doesn't have his old athleticism, but he's smart enough to be a productive chain mover.
Aaron Dobson gets the roster nod over Chris Harper
Harper suited up with the third stringers and, while he made a ton of great plays, seems destined for the practice squad. Dobson earned his time with the top unit and made a few great plays down the field to help atone for his performance against the Panthers.
Shaq Mason is behind Tre Jackson in his development and could be on a short leash
The rookie guards look like they'll be the starters for week 1, with veteran Ryan Wendell as the top back-up. Jackson has been playing well enough to keep his position in control, but look for Mason to be under scrutiny if his pass protection doesn't improve. Wendell's pass protection isn't very good either, but the team might opt to shake up the line-up if Mason struggles.
Trey Flowers is a star in the making
Flowers made dominant play after dominant play and was a fantastic presence on defense. He's going to be a major factor this season.
James White is just so much fun to watch
The Patriots have a few quality running backs in the stable and White is a ton of fun to watch. He seems to freelance down the field with his blockers, but never to the detriment of the play. His cutbacks are exciting and he's a hard runner to bring down. He and Lewis will be fun to watch compete.
Logan Ryan is the last man on the depth chart
While Ryan started out the offseason as the Patriots top cornerback on the roster, it's clear that he's now at the bottom. He's been passed by Malcolm Butler, Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher, and Robert McClain. His inconsistency is what prevents him from taking the next step, and his inability to recover after he's beaten leaves him little room for error.
Rufus Johnson needs a roster spot
Johnson and Flowers beat the Giants offensive line at will and Johnson added a few near-punt blocks. Johnson needs a roster spot. He's been one of the best defensive ends in the preseason and he offers plenty of upside. Some might call him a one-trick pony, but he wins around the edge, he bull rushes, he cuts inside, and he's really good at all of them. He has the skill set to compete and can contribute on special teams. Get him a roster spot.