- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some leftovers from Thursday night's preseason finale for the Patriots:
23 players dress but don't play: On a night when the second- and third-unit players received the playing time, the following 23 players dressed for the game but didn't play, which is a reflection that their place on the roster is safe: WR Julian Edelman, QB Tom Brady, WR Matthew Slater, RB Stevan Ridley, CB Kyle Arrington, S Steve Gregory, RB LeGarrette Blount, CB Aqib Talib, S Devin McCourty, RB Shane Vereen, CB Alfonzo Dennard, RB Brandon Bolden, DE Rob Ninkovich, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Brandon Spikes, C Ryan Wendell, G Logan Mankins, DT Vince Wilfork, OT Sebastian Vollmer, LT Nate Solder, WR Danny Amendola, DT Tommy Kelly, DE Chandler Jones.
Mallett says he'll be ready. No. 2 quarterback Ryan Mallett was the lone player to hold a news conference after the game, and he assessed his preseason. "I felt good. I felt in command of the offense," he said. "Made a few plays, missed a few that I should have made, but that just comes with playing more. ... If I get called on, I'll be ready."
Boyce's best night of preseason. Rookie receiver Josh Boyce had easily his best performance of the preseason, with a 40-yard touchdown catch and also two rushes for 21 yards. He adds an element of speed to the Patriots and has the versatility to line up outside or in the slot. The touchdown came after a stop-and-go move, Mallett delivering a beautiful pass down the left sideline. "Josh ran a great route," Mallett said. "I wasn't even looking to his side at first. The coverage took me over there and he went and made a great play. I had all day to throw the ball, so you couldn't ask for [more]. It couldn't have been drawn up better than that."
Buchanan also with a breakthrough. Playing from wire to wire, rookie defensive end Michael Buchanan (seventh round, Illinois) was a disruptive presence with 2.5 sacks, four tackles, one pass defended and a forced fumble. At 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, with long arms, Buchanan was hard to miss on the edge. "I'd definitely say that was the most comfortable I've felt," Buchanan said, before assessing his overall progression since the start of training camp. "I made a lot of improvements. I think I have a good grasp on this defense and some of what my role on this team may be, but I still have a long way to go."
Belichick shuts things down. Perhaps because the first topic brought up to Bill Belichick after the game was the recent Rolling Stone article on Aaron Hernandez -- about which he deflected multiple queries -- the New England coach seemed a bit punchy in his post-game news conference. Asked if reporters should read into the presence of specific players on the field late in the game, he replied, "I look at how they play. Look at it however you want, I don't care. Look at it upside down or backwards if you want. I'm just trying to look at how they play."