Patriots vs. Giants Preview: 4 Things to Watch in the Preseason Finale
As we finally close out the 2011 preseason questions arise for each team around the league.
Who will make the final roster? What are the biggest concerns for your favorite team? What parts of your team are you the most excited about?
The New England Patriots will be heading in to their final game of the preseason against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Even an organization as prepared as the Patriots has its fair share of questions going in to the preseason finale.
Here are four things to watch for in the Patriots final game of the 2011 preseason.
Where Is Albert Haynesworth?
One of the Patriots biggest offseason moves was acquiring Albert Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins.
While the move seemed controversial even for Bill Belichick, many New England fans have had confidence that the Patriots can get the most out of the former defensive player of the year.
Haynesworth recently pleaded no contest to simple assault over an incident with a cocktail waitress. Coincidentally, Haynesworth returned to practice shortly after.
My gut feeling is that we won't be seeing Haynesworth suit up for the Giants game tonight. Whether it is because he is just not in football shape or because Belichick plans on unleashing him in the first regular season game, we don't really know.
I'm sure all Patriots fans would love to get a look at him, but as long as he is ready for Week 1 there won't be many complaints.
Whats Wrong with Chad Ochocinco?
Many fans were excited about the arrival of Chad Ochocinco thinking that we could be flashing back to the 2007 Patriots offense.
Unfortunately the preseason hasn't shown any signs of that.
The common explanation has been Ochocinco's trouble converting to the Patriots play calling system. The Bengals operated under a number system for their play calling while the Patriots system is much more complex.
New England relies on all of their players being able to understand the system. Especially on offense, it is important for the offensive line and the receivers to see the same things Tom Brady is seeing.
It appears that Chad Ochocinco has yet to get on the same page as the rest of the offense.
All eyes will be on Ochocinco as he takes the field for the final preseason game. Even though it may not dictate his regular season performance, it will certainly put some pressure on him come Week 1.
Which Patriots Performance Is Closer to Their True Form?
The Patriots were the most talked about team in the NFL after Week 2 of the preseason.
They had put up two very impressive performances against the Jaguars and Buccaneers that had the NFL already crowning them the Super Bowl favorite. Then came Week 3 against the Detroit Lions.
New England's offensive line crumbled underneath the pressure of the Lions young, athletic pass rush. Tom Brady took his fair share of hits that had Patriots fans holding their breath each time a Lions player got to him.
The offense on all fronts looked terrible and out of sync. The Patriots defense made Matthew Stafford look like he was the favorite to be this year's MVP.
There are a lot of mixed emotions for Patriots fans heading in to tonight's preseason finale.
Will the Patriots recover from their poor performance against a Giants team that also has a formidable pass rush or will the true flaws of this team be exposed?
We will have to wait until tomorrow night to find out.
Which Players on the Bubble Will Step Up?
With the roster cuts already beginning there are several players that will be on the bubble heading in to Week 4 of the preseason.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Brandon Meriweather will make the final roster. He has earned the reputation of being the kind of player that plays outside the system.
As I mentioned earlier if you aren't playing in the Patriots system than you won't be playing for the Patriots for very long.
Meriweather tends to break off his assignments in hopes to make the big play, but in a system that relies on everyone doing their job it can instantly break up the defensive scheme.
However, with James Sanders getting cut there is some question as to who will play safety for the Patriots if Meriweather is also cut.
Other players on the bubble are wide receivers Julian Edleman and Brandon Tate.
While there has been rumors of Ochocinco being cut, there is little chance. With the contract that he was given after being traded there is zero chance the Patriots don't give him a look in the regular season.
Other hot cut spots include the defensive line and the running backs. The Giants game is their last chance to stand out before Belichick prepares the final cuts.
For many players it could be their last game in a Patriots uniform.