The New England Patriots will close out their preseason tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET against the New York Giants, and it will be the tenth straight time that they will end their exhibition games against the Giants. It’s a final chance for bubble players to make a case for a full-time roster spot, as the starters will give way to the backups as they get fresh for the regular season, while the players fighting for a roster spot are battling harder than ever.
According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, rookie second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to play in “most” of today’s game, and he could actually end up taking every snap under center tonight. Tom Brady is obviously getting a day off, but it looks like the Patriots might give Ryan Mallett the night off as well. Reiss is one of the most well-connected writers for any team, so this needs to be kept in mind as we head into tonight’s preseason matchup.
Garoppolo has looked significantly better than Mallett this preseason, which is mixed news for Patriots fans. I mean, it’s great to hear that the Eastern Illinois rookie is catching on faster than expected, but it’s troubling to hear that Mallett continues to struggle. Heading into the final year of his deal, a team would have to be crazy to trade for him, as Mallett has looked uncomfortable in all of his preseason snaps. He doesn’t possess a good feel for the pocket, and his accuracy is erratic. The tools and pedigree are there, though, but he won’t be able to compete for anything until free agency next year, barring an incredibly unexpected trade. The fact that the Patriots might not even play Mallett tonight could be seen as an indictment of his play; the Patriots don’t really care what he does from this point forward. However, another theory could be that they already have a trade in place, but this is all random speculation on my part.