Patriots not expected to play in finale

August, 29, 2013
The Patriots wrap up their preseason tonight with a game against the New York Giants, their final tune-up in advance of the regular-season opener next Sunday in Buffalo against the Bills.

It's not uncommon to see teams sit all or most of their starters for the preseason finale (colleague Mike Reiss chronicled Tom Brady's snaps history in the preseason finale: link here), so it's possible that tonight's action will prominently feature Patriots reserves.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin indicated his starters will get between 12-15 snaps, and Brady recently said he expects to play as well.

But let's examine those Patriots whom we would not expect to play because of recent injury issues:

Wide receiver Danny Amendola
Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham
Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard
Defensive end Justin Francis
Tight end Rob Gronkowski (on PUP)

With regard to Amendola, who recently returned to practice, the team could prioritize keeping him off the field to prevent a re-injury rather than putting him out there for limited reps. Given the strong rapport he's developed with Brady, a final preseason game might not be as much of a priority as it would be for other players.

As for the starters, that's a storyline we'll be closely monitoring leading up to kickoff and in the early stages of the game.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.



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