It was the Mesko show.
That’s really the best way to describe whatever that was last night. It was billed as the Patriots fourth preseason game, against the New York Giants, but really, it was a giant snoozefest. The only player doing any real work for New England was punter Zoltan Mesko, who was up to nine punts (for an average of 46 yards) by the fourth quarter. Not ideal.
The final score was equally boring: Giants 6, Patriots 3.
Just what you were expecting from a “Super Bowl rematch,” right?
None of the team’s starters – with the exception of right tackle Sebastian Vollmer – appeared in the game, probably because it was their third one in ten days and Bill Belichick wanted to give them some rest.
I don’t do it often, but I completely disagree with Belichick on that call. Few of the starters played against the Philadelphia Eagles last Monday and the Tampa Bay game was last Friday, which gave the starters plenty of time to unwind before last night. This offensive unit has not looked good this preseason, to put it bluntly. Regardless of whether it’s exhibition play or not, Tom Brady has not looked Brady-esque, the first-team offensive line has been absolute garbage and the receivers are still trying to find a rhythm.
So why were they all sitting on the sideline? Obviously they could use the practice.
I understand the regular season opens next Sunday for the Pats. But the regular season opens next WEDNESDAY for the Giants and Eli Manning and company were out there taking reps and trying to get better.
One of these teams won a Super Bowl last February. One of these teams did not. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Cunningham makes his case
All week long, questions have swirled around Jermaine Cunningham and whether or not he could do enough to avoid being cut when the team reduces their numbers to 53 tomorrow. For the first time this preseason, Cunningham really looked like he belonged, proving himself time and again against the Giants first team offense. Cunningham recorded two first half sacks and drew a holding penalty in the third quarter for his most productive outing of the summer. But the real difference was in, for lack of a better term, his swagger. When I think swagger on the Patriots’ defense, I always think of Brandon Spikes. He just walks around a little taller than everyone else, and whether or not he’s the best player on the field, he gives off an air like he is. That’s what Cunningham did last night. He was focused, controlled, relentless and played strong. Whether or not it’s enough to make the cut remains to be seen, but he’s in a far better position today than he was yesterday.
It’s no secret who will be the Patriots starting quarterback. But who will back up Brady? That debate has swirled since Ryan Mallett has seen more preseason snaps than Brian Hoyer. Hoyer who has been the number two guys in New England for three seasons, but is it time for a changing of the guard? Heck no. Mallett may have been on the field more, but he wasn’t doing more with the opportunity than Hoyer. To be frank, Mallett doesn’t make good decisions with the football. Whether that’s fear, whether that’s nerves, whether that’s a lack of understanding of the Pats offensive system; doesn’t matter. If Brady goes down, that’s not a quarterback I want under center. I’d take Hoyer all day. While he’s not going to break any records, Hoyer is consistent. He’s solid. And he knows the system (or we assume he does since he’s been able to stick around this long). Mallett is just not ready for the bright lights.