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Patriots vs. Giants: Fan Notes from the Preseason

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Notes, musings, and observations from the final week of the preseason

New England Patriots v New York Giants Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The best part of last night’s game? The preseason is officially over!

It’s easy to forget exactly what Week 4 of the preseason is. Week 3 always has a lot of hype, and immediately following the annual Pats/Giants game is the official start of the season, so this game always gets buried. And it always catches a lot of flak for being the Backup Bowl. But for a lot of these kids, this week will be the last time they ever live their dream of playing professional football, so there’s something special there as well.

Doesn’t stop the game from being an absolute snoozer, though.

  • There are two types of people reading this article right now: folks who watched last night’s game and are looking for my analysis, and folks who had no desire to watch the backups take on the backups and are just here for some kind of recap. Welcome to both groups. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I’d like to express my jealousy over those who had better things to do last night.
  • Last night, Carl Banks looked - and spoke - exactly how I imagine Steve Urkel would look and speak if Family Matters were still on the air today. That alone made him way better than Zolak.
  • I tuned in for one reason and one reason only last night, and that reason was Danny Etling. Etling has been more or less absent for the entire preseason as the coaching staff wanted to get Brian Hoyer as many meaningful reps as possible before (hopefully, Tebow willing) shelving him until next August. And here’s what I could glean:
  • Accurate, but slow on the windup and release.
  • Adequate pocket awareness, more less what you’d expect from a late round rookie.
  • Tends to telegraph his throws and doesn’t look off the linebackers and safeties
  • throw sail a little high, especially when the reciver has a step on the defenfder.
  • Decent deep ball
  • Kind of just hucked it up there on a few occasions, including his first interception
  • The man runs a mean naked bootleg!
  • I hope the coaches saw enough quickouts and screens, as that made up about 60 percent of his throws
  • Poor clock management late in the first half
  • Late in the 1st quarter, there was some miscommunication on a Ralph Webb handoff that led to a busted play, and Etling had to scramble to try and salvage it. And he didn’t run face-first into a lineman’s butt, fumble the ball, and give up a touchdown. So he has already had a better career than Mark Sanchez.
  • Defensively, my biggest takeaway was Jason McCourty seeing reps at safety. I don’t know what he brings to the position that the other safeties don’t, other than perhaps some version of pulling the ol’ switcheroo with Devon, but he has underwhelmed at corner thus far and it might be the Patriots trying to figure out how to best get value out of the trade.
  • Other than seeing McCourty at safety, it was good to see Jordan Richards continuing to take poor angles, overpursue, and hang onto ballcarriers as he gets dragged like Goofy behind the firetruck in the old Disney cartoons. He picked up right where he left off.
  • I don’t know if I saw anything new out of J.C. Jackson that he hasn’t already shown already. His first pick saw him in great position to make a play he absolutely should have made, as it was a throw that shouldn’t have been tossed. His second was solid athleticism and good instincts. I like his hustle and his lateral movement, so he might sneak his way onto the very, very back end of the roster. I’m not sure he’ll make it to the practice squad.
  • Neither will Ralph Webb, unfortunately. His running was fine, but he had some very solid chip blocks on the pass rush, and that’s the kind of thing that will get him noticed somewhere. But if Webb does clear, I’d love for the Patriots to practice squad him.
  • The Giants scored their first TD of the game on the exact same shallow cross that went for a big gain courtesy of bad angles and piss poor tackling that almost cost the Patriots a win against the Steelers last season.
  • None of the Patriots receivers did anything of note, other than a few drops and some poorly run routes. AJ Maye made the most of his reps, but nothing too crazy. None of those guys are making the team anyway - we have plenty of receivers.
  • I’ll be very curious to see if Vincent Valentine is still on the team come Monday. He’s just so streaky, and the line is deep enough, that he might be an odd man out.
  • Very much looking forward to care about these Fan Notes again, which I’ll be doing next Sunday afternoon when the Patriots play the Texans. As I did for all of last season, I’ll be catching Pats games at Paddy’s of Park Slope on 5th Ave and 13th St. in Brooklyn. If you live in the NYC area and are looking for a great place to catch the game, come on over for some great drinks, free food, and even a Jets fan or two. It’s always good to meet fellow fans behind enemy lines.

Here we go!