Accountability check: Patriots' locks

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
9:00
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Before the New England Patriots convened for 2014 training camp, the "checking the locks" series went through each position on the roster to classify players in the "sure-fire lock," "near-lock" and "trying to get in the door" categories.

Let's do an accountability check, revisit the "checking the locks" series, and see some of what we got right and wrong:

WAY OFF THE MARK

Josh Boyce -- The second-year receiver was listed as a "sure-fire lock" with the thinking that if 2013 third-round pick Jake Bequette earned a two-year redshirt type of situation, Boyce would at least get a second year. Boyce's release, while not unexpected by the end of camp, was the signature move of the day.

Jon Halapio -- The high sixth-round draft choice from Florida (179th overall) was viewed as a "sure-fire lock" with the idea that he'd get a year to groom behind the scenes. What we didn't see coming was Jordan Devey's emergence.

Will Smith -- Calling the veteran defensive end a "near lock" was too aggressive. Penalize that one 5 yards for a neutral zone infraction.

Jemea Thomas -- Figured the sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech would be a "sure-fire lock" based on his versatility and special-teams experience, but an injury on the first day of training camp -- and the unexpected rise of undrafted Malcolm Butler -- was a bad combination and he didn't make it through first cuts.

CONFIDENCE IN PLAYERS REWARDED

Brandon Bolden -- Had the third-year running back as a "near lock" from the start, even as speculation swirled that he might be on the bubble, because of his four-down value to the team.

James Develin -- It was easy to see that the fullback was a valuable cog for the Patriots by the end of the preseason, but the picture was far from that clear before the first practice of camp. We'll invest in players like Develin any day of the week and that's why he was a "near lock" from the get-go.

Chris Jones -- Second-year defensive tackle was viewed as a "sure-fire lock" because of his upside, and even after injuring his left ankle in the preseason opener, the Patriots kept a spot reserved for him.

Zach Moore -- From Day 1, we've been high on the sixth-round pick from Concordia (198th overall) because of his unique physical traits. The Roy Hibbert look-a-like has come through for us when it comes to his "sure-fire lock" status.

EXTRA POINT: In our final 53-man roster projection from Friday morning, this is what we missed: Offensive lineman Chris Barker and safety Duron Harmon on the roster in place of linebacker Steve Beauharnais and long snapper Danny Aiken.

Cornell's Mathews among Patriots' tryouts

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
7:50
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The New England Patriots haven't just been busy formulating their 53-man roster, but they have also taken a closer look at some other available players over the past 24 hours. The following players were in for tryouts, perhaps to also give the Patriots a different perspective on some of the players on their own roster:

Armon Binns -- Third-year receiver has spent time with the Bengals (2011-2012) and most recently with the Dolphins (2013). He is 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, has 24 career receptions, and was released by the Dolphins in the cut to 75 players this week.

Omar Brown -- Third-year safety from Marshall appeared in four games with the Ravens over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was with the Ravens in training camp and released as part of the cut to 75 players.

Deveron Carr -- Second-year cornerback out of Arizona State played in nine games last season for the Greg Schiano-coached Buccaneers, and was with the Lovie-Smith-led Buccaneers again in training camp this year before being waived in the cut to 75 players.

Jermelle Cudjo -- A fourth-year defensive tackle out of Oklahoma, he appeared in 38 games with the Rams over a three-season span (2010, 2012 and 2013), so he has a connection with current Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly. Cudjo was waived by the Rams in May, and then he hooked on with the Chiefs, who released him in the cut to 75 players this week.

Hebron Fangupo -- A second-year defensive tackle who is 29 years old, he was with the Seahawks (2012) and Steelers (2013), appearing in five games over that time. The former Brigham Young product was with the Steelers this training camp before being let go at the 75-player cut. He is 6-foot-0 and 324 pounds.

Cam Henderson -- A first-year defensive end out of Central Florida, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Henderson has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game. He was with the Browns in training camp this year and waived in the cut to 75 players.

Aaron Hester -- A first-year cornerback out of UCLA, he was with the Lions until he was waived this week in the cut to 75 players. He has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game after trying to hook on with the Broncos last year as an undrafted free agent.

Rashad Lawrence -- The 6-foot-1, 190-pound rookie receiver out of Northwestern was with Washington in training camp and waived in the cutdown to 75 players. The Patriots practiced against him in early August before New England and Washington faced off in the preseason opener.

Jeff Mathews -- Rookie quarterback from Cornell who went undrafted was with the Falcons in training camp and was part of their initial cuts, as those who watched "Hard Knocks" saw this past Tuesday.

Kevin Reddick -- Second-year linebacker out of North Carolina, he appeared in 16 games for the Saints last season (0 starts) as a core special teamer. The 6-foot-1, 246-pound Reddick was waived as part of the Saints' cut to 75 this week.

Jerome Smith -- Rookie running back from Syracuse, who went undrafted, was with the Falcons in training camp and waived in the cut to 75 players.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson -- Third-year quarterback out of Sacramento State has been with the Vikings (2012-2013) and 49ers (2013). The 6-foot-3, 230-pound signal-caller was with San Francisco this training camp and part of the cuts to get down to 75 players.

New England Patriots cut-down analysis

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
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Most significant move: Waiving 2013 fourth-round draft choice Josh Boyce. When training camp began, he was projected as the New England Patriots' top kickoff returner and was part of a deep receiving corps in which his speed was supposed to be an asset. But Kenbrell Thompkins, an undrafted free agent from the same 2013 class, once again outperformed him as Boyce couldn't gain enough momentum. He'd be a strong practice-squad candidate if he clears waivers.

Linebacker depth on radar: Arguably the second-most notable move was second-year linebacker Steve Beauharnais being waived. The Patriots don't have much depth at their off-the-line linebacker spots (evolving depth chart here), but they're probably factoring Dont'a Hightower into that mix, and perhaps even Rob Ninkovich in an emergency. Beauharnais was on the bubble and had value in terms of his knowledge of the defense and ability to lead the huddle and get everyone lined up correctly, so perhaps he returns on the practice squad if he's not claimed.

Three quarterbacks for now: The Patriots kept both Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo behind Tom Brady, marking the first time since 2011 that they'll enter the season with three players at the position. The next question: Who's No. 2?

If history is any indication, expect more movement: The Patriots seldom set their 53-man roster and stand pat. With this in mind, it would hardly be surprising if there aren't more moves ahead, with the club claiming a player or two on waivers, or entertaining trade possibilities in certain areas. Like some of the lower-level players on the roster should be, we're still on edge for potential surprises.

A change at snapper: In releasing Danny Aiken, the Patriots don't have another snapper on the roster outside of Rob Ninkovich. The Patriots could always bring in another player at the position, but for now, it looks like Ninkovich's job unless Aiken returns or the team signs someone else.

 Patriots cuts: LS Danny Aiken, LB Steve Beauharnais, DE Jake Bequette, WR Josh Boyce, C Braxston Cave, LB Ja'Gared Davis, S Kanorris Davis, RB Roy Finch, WR Jeremy Gallon, S Shamiel Gary, RB Jonas Gray, OL Jon Halapio, TE Steve Maneri, DL Eathyn Manumaleuna, FB Taylor McCuller, LB James Morris (injured reserve), CB Daxton Swanson, DL L.T. Tuipulotu, DL Jerel Worthy.

What's next: Bill Belichick is scheduled to hold a 10 a.m. ET conference call Sunday to answer questions on the roster, and more.

Breaking down Patriots' 53-man roster

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
4:55
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Breaking down the New England Patriots' 53-man roster:

QUARTERBACK (3)

Tom Brady
Jimmy Garoppolo
Ryan Mallett

Quick-hit thought: Could be the best depth chart, from top to bottom and with future upside in mind, in Bill Belichick's 15-year tenure.

RUNNING BACK (4)

Shane Vereen
James White
Stevan Ridley
Brandon Bolden

Quick-hit thought: Bolden brings notable special-teams value, while there could be times we see plenty of Vereen and White on the field together.

FULLBACK (1)

James Develin

Quick-hit thought: Hard-nosed player has earned everything he has coming to him.

TIGHT END (3)

Rob Gronkowski
Michael Hoomanawanui
Tim Wright

Quick-hit thought: Promising start for Wright in the preseason finale, as he looks like the better complement to Gronkowski in "12 personnel" (e.g. one back, two TEs).

WIDE RECEIVER (5)

Julian Edelman
Aaron Dobson
Danny Amendola
Brandon LaFell
Kenbrell Thompkins
Brian Tyms*

Quick-hit thought: Dobson's 50-snap performance Thursday night was a significant step in him being in position to help the team from the start of the regular season. Tyms doesn't count against the 53-man roster limit because of his four-game suspension.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

LT Nate Solder
LG Josh Kline
C Ryan Wendell
RG Dan Connolly
RT Sebastian Vollmer
OT/G Marcus Cannon
C Bryan Stork
OT/G Jordan Devey
OT Cameron Fleming
G/LT Chris Barker

Quick-hit thought: Unlike last year, when the Patriots were combing the waiver wire for developmental prospects, they ended up with a surplus in this all-important area.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (6)

Vince Wilfork
Dominique Easley
Sealver Siliga
Chris Jones
Joe Vellano
Zach Moore

Quick-hit thought: After Wilfork, who remains the rock in the middle, it's a young group with high upside.

DEFENSIVE END/OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)

Chandler Jones
Dont'a Hightower
Rob Ninkovich
Michael Buchanan
Darius Fleming

Quick-hit thought: If Jones and Hightower are the top players on the edge, it could reduce Ninkovich's playing time (95 percent of the snaps last year).

INSIDE LINEBACKER (3)

Jerod Mayo
Jamie Collins
Chris White

Quick-hit thought: Looks a bit thin here and could be the area where the Patriots look closely at the waiver wire. Darius Fleming could add depth in this spot too.

CORNERBACK (5)

Darrelle Revis
Malcolm Butler
Logan Ryan
Alfonzo Dennard
Kyle Arrington
Brandon Browner*

Quick-hit thought: Belichick previously said that this is as deep of a group as he's had in recent memory. Next question: Who starts opposite Revis?

* Player doesn't count against the 53-man roster because of NFL suspension.

SAFETY (5)

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Tavon Wilson
Duron Harmon
Nate Ebner

Quick-hit thought: Still a bit of a mystery as to how the safety spot next to McCourty will be handled, as there are a lot of options, including some cornerbacks who have seen time there.

SPECIALISTS (3)

P Ryan Allen
K Stephen Gostkowski
Captain Matthew Slater

Quick-hit thought: No snapper on the roster after the release of Danny Aiken, which would thrust Rob Ninkovich into that role unless the Patriots sign someone else or bring Aiken back. The Aiken release could be part of some initial roster management to preserve assets at other positions (e.g. Mallett, Barker) that the Patriots felt had value if they landed on the open market.

Patriots inform Boyce, others of release

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
11:59
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The New England Patriots informed second-year wide receiver Josh Boyce that he will be waived by Saturday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, as the team has started the process of trimming its roster from 75 to 53 players.

Joyce
Boyce
Boyce, a high fourth-round draft choice out of Texas Christian last year, entered training camp as the team's projected top kickoff returner. He was expected to be a backup at receiver, but he didn't make the expected first-to-second-year jump at that position. He was left off our most recent roster projection.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Boyce, whose speed was one of his main assets coming into the NFL, could potentially return to the team's practice squad if he clears waivers.

In addition to Boyce, the Patriots have informed rookie guard Jon Halapio that he is also being waived. That move was expected, although it's a bit of a disappointment for the Patriots after they selected Halapio in the sixth round of the draft (179th overall) out of Florida.

Similar to Boyce, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Halapio is a possibility for the practice squad if he's not claimed on waivers.

Also, second-year linebacker Steve Beauharnais was informed of his release in what could be considered a mild surprise. The 2013 seventh-round draft choice from Rutgers was praised by teammates for his film study and command of the defense.

Others reportedly told of their release who were expected to be let go, per reports, include defensive tackles Jerel Worthy, Eathyn Manumaleuna, and L.T Tuipulotu, defensive end Jake Bequette, center Braxston Cave, tight end Steve Maneri, linebackers James Morris (injured) and Ja'Gared Davis, receiver Jeremy Gallon, fullback Taylor McCuller, running backs Roy Finch and Jonas Gray, cornerback Daxton Swanson, and safeties Kanorris Davis and Shamiel Gary.

NOTE: While players are informed of their release, nothing is official until the team turns in paperwork to the NFL. There is always the outside chance of a late change, or another team seeing news of a player being informed of his release and approaching that team about a trade.

Could Sebastian Vollmer be a fit at LG?

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
10:30
AM ET
An interesting scenario was presented by Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Saturday morning. As the New England Patriots consider their best offensive line configuration following the trade of Logan Mankins, could moving Sebastian Vollmer to left guard be part of the solution?



Considering this possibility brings us back to Thursday's blog post on the balance between a team playing its best five linemen versus picking the best overall combination.

Four-year veteran Marcus Cannon is a starting-caliber lineman, but with Vollmer (right) and Nate Solder (left) locking down the tackle spots, it pushes him out of the top-unit line unless he's at guard.

And from this view, Cannon isn't as effective at guard. He doesn't seem as comfortable at that spot.

Maybe Vollmer would be. And then the Patriots wouldn't lose much, if at all, in the Cannon-for-Vollmer swap at right tackle because Cannon has already proven he's capable of playing there and at a high level.

It's something the Patriots, according to Volin, are at least considering at this point.

MNF moments, No. 9: Pats stay unbeaten

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
9:30
AM ET
Tom BradyJames Lang/USA TODAY Sports
To celebrate the 45th season of "Monday Night Football," a panel of ESPN.com contributors has selected the 45 most memorable moments in MNF history. Follow along as we reveal one per day and count down to this season's MNF debut.

No. 9: Patriots 27, Ravens 24 | Dec. 3, 2007


The New England Patriots won their first eight games of the 2007 season without any trouble. New England's smallest margin of victory in their 8-0 start was 17 points. Then they started to display mortality, however, and won two of the next three by four points or fewer leading up to a Week 13 visit to the Baltimore Ravens.

On a Monday night in early December, the 19-point underdog Ravens had the Patriots on the ropes late in what became a wild affair.

Kyle Boller hit tight end Daniel Wilcox on the second play of the fourth quarter to put the Ravens up 24-17. That was only the third time New England had trailed in the fourth quarter all season. The Patriots trimmed the lead to 24-20 before getting the ball back on their own 27-yard line with 3:30 left.

Tom Brady's potential game-winning drive stalled at the Ravens' 13-yard line with a fourth-and-5 incompletion to Benjamin Watson, which left the Patriots stunned and Baltimore elated -- until an illegal contact call on defensive back Jamaine Winborne yielded an automatic first down.

Brady hit Jabar Gaffney for an 8-yard, game-winning touchdown on the next play, which prompted an incensed Bart Scott to earn two more flags for unsportsmanlike conduct. Baltimore still had one last chance to win, but the Ravens were 55 yards from the end zone when Boller completed a 52-yard pass to Mark Clayton as time expired.

Pats-Giants review: Putting a wrap on it

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
5:00
AM ET
After reviewing the preseason finale between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, a few final notes:

Wright
Following up on Tim Wright's usage. The new Patriots tight end played 43 snaps (including penalties) and was sent into a pass route 34 times. He stayed in to block, or was assigned to block at the second level on a running play, on eight snaps. There was one snap in which a neutral zone infraction was called on the Giants. Wright aligned in a few different spots, but was most often in a two-point stance close to the offensive tackle. He also played in the slot, had a few snaps in a three-point stance next to the offensive tackle, and made his first catch after aligning in a "YY wing" (two tight ends stacked together to one side of the line) while coming across the formation from left to right. A smart player with flexibility to line up in various spots, Wright looks like a nice fit for the Patriots' system. He gives nice effort as a blocker, but when he's matched up against a defensive end such as Jason Pierre-Paul and assigned to pass block, that's not ideal, as we saw in the first half.

Stork's shotgun snaps. This was our first look at rookie center Bryan Stork, and one thing that stood out was his solid delivery of the shotgun snap, which is a staple in the Patriots' offense. We counted 16 of them from Stork and they were mostly (if not all) on the mark. In contrast, first-year center Braxston Cave had one low delivery in the red zone that made things harder on Jimmy Garoppolo on a play that ultimately was an incomplete pass. In terms of his blocking, Stork showed promise (e.g. nice seal on James White's 9-yard run up the middle) while also enduring some standard rookie hiccups, such as losing his feet while getting into his pass set at one point.

Kline
Josh Kline's two breakdowns. It is not often that the left guard would be such a focus of a game, but that was the case with Logan Mankins' trade leaving a big void. His potential replacement, Kline, played all 70 snaps and he did some good things. But two snaps he'd certainly like to have back came against 10-year veteran Mike Patterson and 11-year veteran Israel Idonije, as he couldn't hold blocks and both Patterson and Idonije closed in quickly on Garoppolo for sacks/pressures. Against Patterson, he simply got pushed back into the pocket. It happens to the best guards, including Mankins, and this was a night in which Kline's technique mistakes drew a little extra attention. Kline is still a promising prospect who, like most others at this stage of their career, is seeking more consistency.

Ball skills show up in the secondary. Patriots defensive backs had five pass breakups in the game as Logan Ryan totaled two, followed by Daxton Swanson, Tavon Wilson and Brandon Browner. Ryan and Swanson appeared to be fortunate to avoid pass interference penalties in the end zone, but overall, the coverage in the defensive backfield was competitive and tight. When Swanson is making plays like he did (pass breakup, forced fumble and recovery), and undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler is blanketing receivers, it reflects some quality depth.

Aaron Dobson does the little things, too. While the second-year receiver's preseason debut was productive with a big touchdown catch, he showed up in another area, too. On running back James White's 29-yard catch and run, Dobson effectively rubbed the linebacker assigned to cover White, helping to create some significant separation for White. It might have been a penalty on Dobson, but from this view, it still reflected a receiver doing the little things necessary that are often overlooked.

Belichick: O-line performed inconsistently

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
4:00
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With guard Logan Mankins now down in Tampa Bay, all eyes are on the Patriots' offensive line.

Head coach Bill Belichick provided some insight on the effectiveness of his offensive line's blocking in Thursday's preseason finale with the New York Giants.

"Overall offensively we had not very many problems in pass protection, a couple, but overall not very many," Belichick said in a conference call on Friday. "We didn't run the ball as well as we would like, or need to.

"That was a combination of things. Sometimes it was multiple people or a combination block or the back and the offensive linemen with the read or whatever it happened to be."

Belichick likes the effort in pass blocking, but still needs to see more consistency from all of his offensive linemen. Second-year guard Josh Kline, who projects to assume the role of Mankins after playing all 70 offensive snaps on Thursday, is one of those players in the spotlight.

"I'd probably say it's about the same thing with all the players that played," Belichick said about Kline. "There were a lot of good things out there and there were some things that at times weren't so good, need to be corrected, need to be improved.

"When you talk about the whole line, you're probably going to have similar comments on all of them: a lack of consistency in the running game, pass blocking [was] not perfect but certainly manageable."

Although Marcus Cannon did not play Thursday, he possesses the versatility that can provide some consistency to the line. Belichick confirmed that Cannon has lined up at every spot except for center.

"He's [Cannon] obviously got great size and strength, and he's very athletic for his size," Belichick said. "He moves well. He has excellent feet, balance. He's a powerful player in the running game ... [with] his length and size."

Most of Cannon's snaps have come at tackle, but Cannon did play guard last year and has seen some action there this year. Belichick is trying to find the right spot for Cannon's skills.

"He [Cannon], I think, physically can play any position on the line," Belichick said. He probably could play center too but definitely could play guard or tackle. It's just a question of refining his skills at one position."

Belichick: Wright handled Pats debut well

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
3:15
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Tim Wright did not have a lot of time -- roughly 48 hours from the announcement of the trade that brought him to New England -- to prepare for Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Giants. Wright made the most of his short window to get ready for the game.

"I think the big thing for him and for the rest of the team for us is just that chance we had to have him actually play in our system," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It was an abbreviated way of doing it. It's a lot better than next week being the first time that all those things happen."

Wright
"There were things that happened during the game on the field, on the sideline, substitutions, on the bench in between series, communication, all those things, snap count, he heard the quarterback audible, adjustments being made on the sideline, all those things which you know are part of the game. He only knew a handful of plays, but overall I thought he handled the situation pretty well."

Wright played in 43 of 70 offensive snaps and finished with four catches for 43 yards, a productive night for such a quick turnaround.

More impressively, Wright demonstrated his football intelligence, which quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo praised after the game.

"I think probably what Jimmy was referring to and I think we saw it as a coaching staff was just [Wright] was able to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time and go out there and function in the game," Belichick said.

"It certainly wasn't perfect. Formations, and the routes and so forth -- there is certainly a lot of fine-tuning that needs to be done. He picked up a lot pretty quickly, and when he got into the game, he didn't forget it."

Wright showed his adaptability, but he still has a lot of work to do. It is a good sign that Wright can learn on the fly.

"Sometimes, it's one thing to sit in a meeting and go over it and feel like, yeah, you've got it [or] OK, you hear this, you are going to do that," Belichick said. "It's another thing to go out there and actually do it full speed in a game situation."

With the preseason in the books, Belichick emphasized a clean slate for every player.

"Now this week, he [Wright] will be starting at the beginning, like everyone else will, for our game plan and preparation for Miami," Belichick said. "We will just take it day by day and see how it goes."

Tedy Bruschi Patriots chat recap

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
2:00
PM ET
Tedy Bruschi kicked off his contributions to ESPNBoston.com's 2014 New England Patriots coverage by hosting a season-preview chat on Friday. The chat transcript can be reviewed here, and included some of the following topics:

1. Optimism for the defense as one of the Patriots' best units in recent memory.

2. Fallout from the Logan Mankins trade and how players reacted to big changes like that during his own career.

3. Linebacker depth is a concern.

4. Tight end Tim Wright has some good things going for him; don't be shocked if he catches 70 passes.

5. Why Kenbrell Thompkins is a player Tedy will be following closely in 2014.

6. Sharing the story of how he knew his Patriots career was coming to an end.

Patriots defensive snaps vs. Giants

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
12:20
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A look at snaps played by New England Patriots defensive players in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Giants (includes all penalties):

DEFENSIVE TACKLE:
Zach Moore – 65 of 65
Jerel Worthy – 45 of 65
Eathyn Manumaleuna – 44 of 65
L.T. Tuipulotu – 36 of 65

Quick-hit thoughts: Moore, the sixth-round pick from Concordia, was lining up in various spots and has shown improvement over the course of the preseason as a nice developmental prospect.

DEFENSIVE END/OUTSIDE LINEBACKER:
Jake Bequette – 50 of 65
Michael Buchanan – 29 of 65
Darius Fleming – 20 of 65

Quick-hit thoughts: Buchanan was knocked out of the game in the second half with an ankle/foot injury, but it appeared he could have re-entered if needed.

LINEBACKER (off-the-line):
Steve Beauharnais – 65 of 65
Ja'Gared Davis – 39 of 65
James Morris – 22 of 65
Chris White – 17 of 65

Quick-hit thoughts: Beauharnais, the 2013 seventh-round draft choice from Rutgers, shows leadership when on the field in leading the huddle.

CORNERBACK:
Brandon Browner – 49 of 65
Logan Ryan – 42 of 65
Daxton Swanson – 33 of 65
Malcolm Butler – 20 of 65
Alfonzo Dennard – 20 of 65
Quick-hit thoughts: Dennard got some work at safety, as the Patriots experimented a bit early in the game.

SAFETY:
Nate Ebner – 48 of 65
Tavon Wilson – 30 of 65
Duron Harmon – 25 of 65
Shamiel Gary – 16 of 65

Quick-hit thoughts: Ebner, whose role on the team is tied to special teams, showed up with some solid work on defense.

Patriots offensive snaps vs. Giants

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
11:45
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A look at snaps played by New England Patriots offensive players in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Giants (includes all penalties):

OFFENSIVE LINE:
LG Josh Kline – 70 of 70
RT Cameron Fleming – 70 of 70
RG/LT Chris Barker – 70 of 70
RG Jon Halapio – 57 of 70
C Bryan Stork – 37 of 70
C Braxston Cave – 33 of 70
LT Jordan Devey – 20 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: With Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer sitting this one out, it gave the Patriots a chance to look at their younger players.

QUARTERBACK:
Jimmy Garoppolo – 70 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: Bill Belichick wanted him to go wire to wire -- both on the field and during the week -- to fully experience what it would be like in the event he was the starter. Garoppolo had some miscues, but his overall command has been impressive.

WIDE RECEIVER:
Dobson
Josh Boyce – 56 of 70
Aaron Dobson – 50 of 70
Jeremy Gallon – 39 of 70
Kenbrell Thompkins – 33 of 70
Brian Tyms – 15 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: The 50 snaps for Dobson's conditioning was a positive, as Bill Belichick noted after the game. Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola earned the night off, reflecting their standing on the depth chart, as well as their veteran status.

TIGHT END
Tim Wright -- 43 of 70
Steve Maneri – 23 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: Before the game, the question was if Wright would play because he had been acquired just two days earlier. That he was on the field for 43 snaps was impressive -- preseason game or not.

RUNNING BACK:
James White – 29 of 70
Roy Finch – 29 of 70
Jonas Gray – 13 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen earned the night off as White still seems to be tentative at times when running between the tackles.

FULLBACK:
Taylor McCuller – 13 of 70

Quick-hit thoughts: The undrafted free agent from West Texas A&M has put his best foot forward for a possible practice squad spot.

Tedy Bruschi chat at 1 p.m. ET

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
11:00
AM ET
Tedy Bruschi is back for another season with ESPNBoston.com. The former Patriots linebacker will hold weekly chats after games and also provide his weekly breakdown of the upcoming contest.

Bruschi will kick things off with his first chat of the 2014 season on Friday, with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.

Questions can be asked in advance.

Catch up with Tedy then.

New England Patriots' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
10:30
AM ET
Examining the New England Patriots' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Garoppolo has made a serious run at the No. 2 job, putting Mallett's spot in jeopardy. Mallett sticks here because Bill Belichick has previously talked about how quarterback is one position where a team can never have enough depth.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Played a hunch at this spot last week with Ridley and looks like that was off the mark. Haven't seen enough spark from White to move away from Ridley.

FULLBACKS (1)

That he was held out of the preseason finale speaks to the valuable contributor that he has become.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

If the preseason finale is any indication, with Wright playing 43 of 70 snaps (including penalties), the former Buccaneer is going to be a significant part of the team's plans.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Haven't seen enough from Josh Boyce to warrant giving him a roster spot. Wonder if there would be any trade interest there.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The Logan Mankins trade came down so quickly on Tuesday, it reshapes the look of this group significantly. Chris Barker, Jon Halapio and/or Braxston Cave are strong practice squad candidates.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Vellano's standing was reflected in that he didn't play in the preseason finale, which probably means he has earned a spot. Jerel Worthy to the practice squad?

LINEBACKERS (6)

Beauharnais has been back and forth between the roster and practice squad in past projections, but his value in leading the defense is deemed important in the final projection, especially with Mayo and Hightower dealing with ailments that have kept them off the field.

CORNERBACKS (6*)

Because Browner is suspended for the first four regular-season games, he won't count against the initial 53-man roster limit. But he is included here because he is obviously a significant part of the team's overall planning for the 2014 season. Butler, an undrafted free agent from West Alabama, was the surprise story of the preseason. Now the question is who starts opposite Revis.

SAFETIES (4)

In an unexpected twist, it looks like Chung and Wilson could provide more value to the team from a defensive/special teams standpoint than Duron Harmon, who is eligible for the practice squad and could land there.

SPECIALISTS (4)

No surprises here, unless the Patriots keep their eyes on available snappers.

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