This year's rookie class has left a positive impression on Bill Belichick, who applauded the newcomers by labeling them among the hardest workers he's coached since his arrival in New England.
"They make mistakes just like all rookies do, and we will see how they perform over the long haul, not just based on a couple of weeks. But they have put a lot into it. They have been accountable,” Belichick told the Boston Globe.
Those rookies will be among the players competing for roster spots in tonight's preseason finale against the Giants.
"It's up to you whether you get cut or not. It's up to you going out there and performing and earning the respect of your peers and coaches, so at that point, it kind of is what it is. It's kind of all up to you and how you perform,” rookie cornerback Terrence Wheatleytold the Globe.
Another player looking to make a positive impression tonight is wide receiver Chad Jackson, who is coming off his best preseason performance after catching a touchdown pass last week against Philadelphia.
“It’s the last chance to show what you’ve got. Most of the primary guys, the big-name guys, aren’t going to play, so it’s a big chance for me to go out there and show everybody what I can do,” Jackson told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Speaking of tonight's game, the Boston Herald provides us with five things to watch as the Patriots put the finishing touches on their preseason and get ready for their Week 1 opener against Kansas City.
The Providence Journal offers a similar viewpoint, specifically pointing out the intense battle for the backup quarterback position between Matt Casseland Matt Gutierrez.
The *Herald *also takes a look at Wheatley, who has emerged as one of the top rookie performers heading into the regular season.
“[The training camp experience] has been very interesting, a little bit harder than I thought it was going to be. But at the end of the day, once you’ve survived, it’s not that bad,” Wheatley told the Herald.
In New York, the Giants have a much different take on tonight's preseason finale, which is also a rematch from Super Bowl XLII.
“It's going to be funny for me. I'm going to laugh. We won. I can laugh. I got the last laugh,” Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce told the New York Post.
Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has a different take.
“That's all in the past. It's just the fourth preseason game. Why would there be any emotion from us?” Jacobs told the New York Daily News.
Elsewhere, ESPN offers its 2008 season preview in which each of its football writers picks the Patriots to win the AFC East division.