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What Bill Belichick will be looking for in final preseason game

Ryan Hannable
August 29, 2018 - 6:30 am

FOXBORO — For many of the starters, the final preseason game is a night off as the regular season fast approaches, but for bubble players, Thursday against the Giants could be the difference between making the team and not.

It’s hard to say exactly how much can be decided in one game, especially when players have been going at it all summer, but speaking Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, Bill Belichick seemed to indicate for some players a strong showing could go a long way.

“Well, the most important thing in evaluating players is their improvement,” he said. “So, if a player’s improving, then you’re most likely to take the high water mark as opposed to where he was three weeks ago when you feel like he’s passed that and he’s shown that that wasn’t the player that he was. He’s taken the experience, the coaching, the reps that he’s had, and he’s become more efficient at those things, whatever the position is and so forth. So, when you see that improvement, then you start to weigh what happened most recently over mistakes that were made a month ago if you feel like those have been corrected and that we’ve moved past those. So, that’s the most important word for any player, young or old. But, especially players with less experience, if they’re improving, then you’re most likely to look at what they’ve done most recently. 

“If they’re not improving, then you’re most likely to look at what they’ve done most recently, which is less than what it was before, and that’s usually not a good thing. It could be alright if it’s high enough. I mean, if the guy’s a really good player and he’s just not as good as he used to be but still better than everybody else, then that’s good. But, when a player starts at a lower level and is moving up, then if he’s moving up and he’s moving up at a good rate and you think that rate is going to continue, then that carries a lot of weight. Even though he’s not there yet, if you think he’s going to get there, a lot of times you bank on that.

“… We evaluate everything, but if there’s a rising trend, that carries a lot of weight. So, this is the last opportunity. If guys that have been improving the last couple weeks can add onto that, it will absolutely help them. It could help them a lot.”

Some players who this game is very important for include Keion Crossen, J.C. Jackson, Christian Sam, Jason McCourty, Riley McCarron, Cyrus Jones, Adam Butler and Vincent Valentine.

Related: Hannable: Patriots should be cautious when thinking of adding receiver