FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tim Tebow's preseason work is done. Now comes
the waiting game.
Finishing with a flourish, the player getting so much attention trying
just to hang on as a third-string quarterback says he won't fret about
whether the Patriots will keep him. All teams must cut their rosters to
the regular-season limit of 53 players by Saturday.
"You're just trying to execute every play and improve from weeks past,"
Tebow said after New England's 28-20 win over the New York Giants on
He completed 6 of 11 passes for 91 yards, two touchdowns and one
interception with four sacks while playing the entire second half. Both
scores went to rookie free agent Quentin Sims in the fourth quarter, a
52-yarder that gave the Patriots the lead and a 9-yard fade to the
right corner of the end zone with 6 seconds remaining.
That was Tebow's last play of the game and, perhaps, of his Patriots
career that started when he signed as a free agent June 11.
Here are five things we know from the exhibition season about
QUARTERBACK QUESTION: Coach Bill Belichick has kept just two
quarterbacks in three of the past four seasons. So with Tom Brady and
Ryan Mallett in front of him, Tebow may be in jeopardy of being let go
by his third team in 17 months. "Whoever we keep will be because of the
value they bring to the team," Belichick said.
CATCHING ON: The three rookie receivers the Patriots are counting on
continue to have their ups and downs. Second-round draft pick Aaron Dobson tipped a ball that was intercepted, fourth-rounder Josh Boyce
caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Mallett and free agent Kenbrell Thompkins caught two of the four passes thrown to him.
TO YOUR HEALTH: The Patriots survived the exhibition season relatively
unscathed. Starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was sidelined for much
of training camp and tight end Rob Gronkowski missed all four games
following back surgery. But Dennard may be ready for the opener and
Gronkowski could be back early in the season.
AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS: Belichick addressed the arrest of former Patriot
Aaron Hernandez on a murder charge the day before training camp and
players went about their business with an apparent minimum of
distractions. Even the arrival of Tebow, focus of a media frenzy with
the New York Jets, was met with much less fanfare.
IMPROVED DEFENSE: The signing of tackle Tommy Kelly and safety Adrian Wilson provides veteran talent to a defense that was vulnerable to big
plays and finished in the middle of the pack in the NFL last year.
Here are five things we know about the Giants:
REPLACING RUNNERS: David Wilson took over as the starting
running back when Ahmad Bradshaw was allowed to leave and sign with the
Indianapolis Colts. Now the Giants may have to look for another backup
after Andre Brown broke his left leg against the Patriots. But Brown
says he won't need surgery and hopes to stay on the active roster.
REGULAR RECEIVERS: Hakeem Nicks caught a 3-yard touchdown
pass from Eli Manning on Thursday night. Victor Cruz, who missed the
last two exhibition games and most of the previous one with a left heel
injury, expects to play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys
on Sept. 8.
SUPER BOWL MEMORIES: The Giants went 1-3 in the exhibition
season after going 9-7 last year when they failed to defend their Super
Bowl championship. But defensive end Justin Tuck anticipates better
days. "Playing back to two years ago is all that I'm concerned about,"
he said. "We obviously know what it takes to get to the top of the
SUB SAFETY: The Giants secondary suffered a blow in the
third exhibition game when strong safety Stevie Brown tore the anterior
cruciate ligament in his left knee, ending his season. Ryan Mundy
started in his place Thursday and Antrel Rolle returned as starting
free safety after missing time with a sprained ankle.
PROTECTING ELI: Injuries have caused coach Tom
Coughlin to shake up his offensive line. James Brewer got his first
start at left guard Thursday. Whatever alignment is used in the opener
must protect Manning. He threw two scoring passes in the exhibition
season and the offense totaled just four touchdowns in four games.