FOXBORO — For nearly six weeks now, it’s been a numbers game for James White. Now, it’s just a waiting game.

The second-year back out of Wisconsin has been vying for the team’s third-down or all-purpose back spot to replace Shane Vereen in the Patriots offense. It’s been one of the most competitive battles on the roster all camp. The team brought in Travaris Cadet from New Orleans. They signed Dion Lewis from Cleveland. The Patriots likely won’t keep all three at the Tuesday 4 p.m ET deadline for cuts down to 53.

But there are those who think that White, the player the Patriots spent a fourth-round pick on in 2014 deserves a chance to show what he can do. He got that chance Thursday, carrying the ball 10 for 36 yards. He finished the preseason with 27 carries for 71 yards (2.6 yards per carry), one rushing touchdown. But his true value may come in the pass receiving game, where – like Vereen – he was able to make tacklers miss with moves in the open field.

“Whenever I get the ball in space, I try to make a play for my team, especially when there’€™s a one-on-one situation,” White said. “You’€™ve got to win those situations because they don’€™t come around very often.”

He did it again Thursday night, with two catches for 21 yards. Overall this preseason, White caught seven balls for 93 yards, a 13.3-yard average.

‘€œWhenever they put me out there, I’€™m going to go out there and do what I can,” said White, who like LeGarrette Blount, played a majority of the game. “Today, I got a lot of reps and tried to make the most of it. There’€™s always stuff to improve on, but I feel like I did pretty well.”

White also returned one kickoff for 25 yards. White was all over the field Thursday as offensive coordinator for a day, Brian Daboll, called his number often.

‘€œIt’€™s definitely helpful. The more you’€™re out there, the more you get a feel for the game,” White said. “The more you get a feel for the defense, the more comfortable you get.”

Has he done enough to beat out Travaris Cadet and Dion Lewis?

‘€œThere’€™s a lot of great competition going on,” White said. “We’€™re all competing with one another. We’€™ve all made plays, but the decision is out of my hands. It’€™s up to the coaching staff. We just have to do our best and the decision is theirs.”

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Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
James White rumbles for a few extra yards Thursday night against the Giants. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

James White rumbles for a few extra yards Thursday night against the Giants. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — With the cuts looming this weekend and the regular season just around the corner, here’s a a look at 10 players in the wake of the preseason finale against the Giants, and how their performance in Thursday’s contest will impact their standing on the roster going forward.

Ryan Lindley
The third-string quarterback got all the snaps on the night, and while there’s very little likelihood he’ll be around after the final cuts come down on Saturday, he may have done enough to win a roster spot somewhere else. He went 22-for-45 on the evening, throwing for 253 yards with an interception and four sacks. He played well in some of the situations he and the rest of the New England backups were thrown into, but he was remarkably ordinary in many others. In the overall pantheon of Patriots’ quarterbacking performances in the fourth preseason game of the summer, it was better than Tim Tebow (6-for-11, 91 yards, four sacks, one touchdown in 2013), but short of Brian Hoyer (18-for-25, 242 yards, one touchdown in 2009). Granted, that’s not saying much, but it should be enough to find him a job somewhere by the start of the regular season.

Aaron Dobson
The Marshall product had the last chance to make his case on Thursday against the Giants, and while he wasn’t overwhelming, it’s worth noting that he did finish with four catches on the evening (tying LeGarrette Blount and Asante Cleveland for most catches on the team) and 56 yards (a team-high). That included a nice 24-yard reception via Lindley midway through the second quarter where he juggled the ball before coming away with it. (The Patriots took a shot toward Dobson in the end zone on the following play, but couldn’t connect.) From this viewpoint, when it comes to cuts on Saturday, Dobson is still squarely on the bubble.

James White
While the work of Dion Lewis over the last two weeks of the preseason should be enough for him to win the third-down job to start the season, it appears that White did enough on Thursday night to leave Travaris Cadet (who didn’t play at all in the game) expendable when the final cuts are made over the weekend. The youngster out of Wisconsin, who is entering his second full year with the team, saw plenty of action against the Giants — he led the team with 12 touches on the night (10 carries, 2 catches) and while he wasn’t overpowering, certainly showed enough that he warranted a roster spot as Lewis’ backup going into the 2015 season. With Shane Vereen in the building for the first time since he signed a free-agent deal with the Giants, it was hard not to look at White and wonder if he has the same capacity for growth as someone like Vereen had when he was in New England. Vereen struggled to find his way in his first two years with New England before finding his groove in 2013 and 2014. If White follows the same arc, the Patriots will likely be very happy with the result.

LeGarrette Blount
The big back was on the field into the second half Thursday against the Giants, but along with Reggie Wayne, he’s an exception to the rule of veterans playing in the preseason finale. Blount needed to get as much work as possible in for a few reasons, not the least of which includes the fact that he’s suspended for the first game of the regular season and the Patriots needed him to get in as much work as possible before his brief vacation. (For the record, Brandon Browner was in the same spot last summer, and he played deep into the fourth preseason game of the summer before sitting for the first four games of the regular season.) One thing to remember about Blount — while he’ll never be confused with Shane Vereen when it comes to skills as a pass catcher, he’s been incorporated more and more in the passing game over the course of the summer. He caught a few more passes on Thursday against the Giants; from this viewpoint, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit at least double-digits in receptions this season.

Logan Ryan
The Rutgers product started camp as the No. 2 cornerback on the depth chart, but it was a slow and steady slide down the depth chart over the course of camp for Ryan. At the start of the summer, he was on the field with the starting defense. On Thursday night against the Giants, he was on the field in the second half, running alongside guys Daxton Swanson and other defensive backs who are considered twos and threes. It could be a matter of trying some new guys in new places, or just an attempt to get him as much playing time as possible. But on a night where the likes of Malcolm Butler, Bradley Fletcher and Tarell Brown all took the night off, it wasn’t a good look for Ryan.

Ryan Wendell
The veteran out of Fresno State got the start at center, his first action of the summer after spending the bulk of camp on PUP. He played roughly the entire first quarter before calling it a night, and looked solid. The fact that he was on the field is a win for the Patriots, who could use a veteran presence along the interior of that offensive line. Regardless if he plays center (if Bryan Stork is out for an extended stretch) or steps in at one of the guard positions (likely left guard), the sight of him on the field is a positive one for New England at this stage of the summer.

Rufus Johnson
The young defensive end out of Tarleton State is a really intriguing prospect, and continued to flash positively last night. (He came close to blocking a first-half punt.) He’s one of the longest edge players the Patriots have had in a long time, and he’s really played well over the course of the summer — well enough where it would be a challenge to get him through waivers to the practice squad, if they wanted to try and go that route. But New England is already really deep at the defensive end spot, which presents a problem. He could go on injured reserve with a *cough* injury *cough* between now and the start of the season, which would allow the Patriots to stash him for the 2015 season. Or you could take the chance on the practice squad. Or keep him at the expense of someone else? He did take some snaps at defensive tackle on Thursday night, and that could end up providing New England with more value. But regardless, he’s done his job when it comes to making this tough for the coaching staff when it comes down to cutdown day.

Chris Harper
At the start of the evening — and on the heels of a pretty impressive summer — the sight of the young receiver out of Cal relaxing on the sidelines with the rest of his teammates sparked a thought that the undrafted rookie free agent was relatively secure in his roster standing. However, he was on the field late in the game running with the twos and threes, and ended the night with two catches on three targets for 27 yards. He played as well as could be expected under the circumstances, and we’re still fairly certain that he’ll find a way to stick around Foxboro once the final cuts come down over the weekend. But the sight of him on the field late in the game is certainly food for thought when it comes to his position on the roster.

Reggie Wayne
The veteran got the start in the final preseason game, and will likely be remembered as one of the exceptions to the rule when it comes to veterans seeing extensive time in the preseason finale. It was a better evening for Wayne than he had last week against the Panthers, as he played the first half and ended the night with an unofficial total of 38 snaps. Wayne had two catches on 10 targets for 24 yards — a 6-yarder early after a crazy scramble by Lindley, as well as an 18-yarder on a nice floater down the sidelines from Lindley near the end of the first quarter. The veteran was also able to draw a defensive pass interference call late on a fourth-down play in the second quarter that helped keep a New England scoring drive alive. It wasn’t an All-Pro stat line, and he looked like a guy who was still in the early stages of the acclimation process. But from this viewpoint, there’s no reason to suggest that the veteran pass catcher won’t be a part of the Patriots when the regular season opens in a week.

Stephen Gostkowski
This needs to be said because it really hasn’t been addressed over the course of the summer, as well as the preseason: Gostkowski has been really good in the run-up to the regular season, and after signing a big deal in the offseason, appears poised for a big year. He was 3-for-3 in Thursday’s preseason finale against New York, with makes from 34, 33 and 50 yards. Over the preseason, Gostkowski was 7-for-8, with his lone miss coming from 57 yards out against the Saints. Gostkowski was already considered one of the best kickers in the game after last season, and based on the body of work he’s put together this summer, there’€™s no reason to think he won’t hold the same lofty spot in 2015.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Broncos safety T.J. Ward has been suspended for the first week of the season for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy for a May 2014 incident in which he was charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace after being accused of throwing a glass mug at a bartender in a Denver strip club.

He’s gone through the appeals process, having it heard earlier in the summer, but the appeal did not go in his favor.

Ward was asked Thursday if he would try and take it to the courts, but that doesn’t seem like it will happen and he will have to miss the Broncos‘ season-opener.

“I’m going to try, but my last name isn’t Brady so I’ll probably just have to sit it out,” Ward said to reporters.

Ward is most known in New England for being the player who hit Rob Gronkowski in 2013 when Ward was with the Browns and Gronkowski tore his ACL on the play.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the decision by federal judge Richard Berman to vacate Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension on Thursday, allowing Brady to play in the season opener against the Steelers on Sept. 10 and paving the way for the quarterback to play the entire season. Brady did not stick around Gillette Stadium Thursday night as the New York Giants defeated the Patriots, 12-9, in the preseason finale for both teams.There were signs all around Gillette Stadium Thursday in support of Brady and celebrating the judge’s decision that will allow Brady to play.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Logan Ryan

Logan Ryan

FOXBORO — Normally playing in the second half of the fourth preseason game is not a good sign for a healthy player looking to make the Patriots’ final 53-man roster.

That is what happened with cornerback Logan Ryan in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Giants. Even so, Ryan, a 2013 third-round pick out of Rutgers, says he isn’t concerned.

“You know, not really,” Ryan said. “It’s out of my control. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. No, I’m not really.”

Ryan has played in all 16 games in each of his first two seasons in the league.

“I think I’m right where I want to be playing pretty well, getting ready for Pittsburgh now,” Ryan said. “The preseason is a way to work on your craft and get some action and now it’s what matters.”

The Rutgers product is competing with Robert McClain, Tarell Brown and Bradley Fletcher for potentially the final cornerback spot on the team, although there’s a chance all four players make the final roster.

“I feel like it went well,” Ryan said of his summer. “Defensively, we played well. We competed — didn’t let up any touchdowns which is always good. We have some things to clean up and get ready for the regular season.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Apparently Reggie Wayne hasn’t been in Foxboro long enough to truly appreciate the Patriot Way.

Wayne told reporters he was “excited” to hear the news about his quarterback Tom Brady being reinstated just in time for the regular season.

But that was about all the reaction that came from inside the Patriots locker room after a 12-9 loss to the New York Giants in the preseason finale at Gillette Stadium Thursday night.

Coach Bill Belichick was asked how relieved he was to no longer have the uncertainty of who will be playing quarterback against the Steelers in a week.

“I’€™ll just talk about the game ‘€“ any questions about the game,” Belichick said before moving to talking about the fact that tight ends coach Brian Daboll called the offensive plays for quarterback Ryan Lindley and linebackers coach Patrick Graham was calling the defense.

Belichick wasn’t the only head coach to stay far away from the Brady subject post game.

“I’€™m not touching that,” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. “I don’€™t have anything to do with that and that’€™s just the way it is.”

“Not really my position to comment on that situation,” said Patriots running back James White. “Just worried about myself right now. We’re football players. There’s going to be a lot of stuff said in the media and whatnot, but you have to pay attention to the task at hand and go out there and play football.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Eli Manning expressed support for Tom Brady in the wake of Thursday's Deflategate decision. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Eli Manning expressed support for Tom Brady in the wake of Thursday’s Deflategate decision. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Eli Manning said Thursday night that he was “happy” for Tom Brady, and “happy that he gets to play next week” when the regular season opens.

“It’s probably been a long few months for him,” Manning said shortly after the preseason finale Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “I’m happy he’ll be back on the field next week.”

Brady, who had his four-game suspension overturned Thursday morning, didn’t play Thursday evening against the Giants. Manning also didn’t suit up for the contest, the final preseason game of the summer for both teams.

Manning was happy for Brady, but didn’t sound overly shocked that the suspension was overturned.

“I don’t think anything surprises me,” he said. “But I saw that it got overturned, and (Tom’s) been dealing with a lot. So I’m glad he finally gets to play.”

As for his thoughts about the role that commissioner Roger Goodell played in the process, Manning shrugged.

“I try not to get took involved in all of that, without knowing all of the details,” he said. “What I’d say is that (the commissioner) has a job to do. But I’m glad Tom can play next week.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Ryan Lindley likely made his first and only appearance in a Patriots uniform Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ryan Lindley likely made his first and only appearance in a Patriots uniform Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The one player on the Patriots who maybe wasn’t as thrilled as everyone else about the Tom Brady news was third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley.

While Lindley did say he was happy for Brady, it means with the Patriots having two quarterbacks in Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo available for Week 1, he likely will be released when the team cuts its roster down to the final 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m.

Lindley, entering his fourth season in the league, has spent all four of those seasons as a backup so he knows what he’s in for.

“I think everybody – about 50 percent of the NFL – is under an uncertainty week to week,” Lindley said. “You learn to play with that, and a third-string, second-string, journeyman quarterback is in that group of people who kind of have some uncertainty. So I’ve dealt with that in the past couple of years, and you just control what you can control.

“And you kind of go out and put your best foot forward whether it be in practice, whether it was on scout team all the last three weeks while I was here or anything else to let these guys know that I’m a hard worker and a team player and I’m a good guy in the locker room. And the chips are going to fall where they will whether that’s here or some place else, and all I can do is put my best foot forward with what I’m doing on the football field.”

Overall for his career, he’s played in nine games (all with the Cardinals) and has thrown two touchdowns to go along with 11 interceptions.

Lindley got his first snaps Thursday as a Patriot since he arrived just a few days before the preseason opener last month. He went wire-to-wire in the Patriots’ 12-9 loss to the Giants going 22-for-45 for 253 yards, while throwing an interception.

“Here and there, there were definitely some throws I’d like back,” Lindley said. “Others were just kind of throw-aways, but there are always maybe a half dozen. You want to cut that down to play good football, but there’s stuff to build off of. And I’m happy with what I put out there effort-wise as well.”

He said he didn’t hear about the Brady news until he was in the locker room Thursday afternoon, as he was remaining focused on the game and didn’t want any distractions.

For Lindley, he will now likely be searching for another team early this coming week, but he was grateful for the opportunity to show the rest of the league what he can do.

“Like I told the guys beforehand, I was just excited to get out there and play.” he said. “That was kind of the idea, the attitude we all had going in.”

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Count ex-teammate Shane Vereen as someone who is in Tom Brady‘s corner.

Shane Vereen is now with the Giants, but he still has a soft spot for Tom Brady. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Shane Vereen is now with the Giants, but he still has a soft spot for Tom Brady. (Elsa/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Count ex-teammate Shane Vereen as someone who is in Tom Brady‘s corner.

The former New England running back made his return to Gillette Stadium Thursday night for the first time since he signed a free-agent deal in the offseason with the Giants. And even thought he’s now a part of Big Blue, the 26-year-old still has a place in his heart for his old quarterback.

“He’s one of the few cats, (one of the) few guys in this league that will keep taking his backlashes but still get better and still work harder,” Vereen told WHDH-TV after the game, a 12-9 win for the Giants in the preseason finale for both teams. “(There are a) lot of guys in this league that would love to be like him as a competitor and as a great quarterback, I’m sure he’ll do well.”

Vereen, who ended up with just one carry on the night, said it was a “little surreal” to be back in Foxboro. The Cal product spent four seasons in New England before signing with the Giants a month after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX.

“It was fun — a little surreal for a while,” he said of Thursday’s action. “I had to snap out of it. It was fun being back and seeing everybody and being welcomed back with open arms.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

DraftKings Kick off this football season with the biggest fantasy football contest ever on DraftKings! Prizes worth $10 million are up for grabs, including $2 million for first AND $1 million for second! PLAY IN THE WEEK 1 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, CLICK HERE.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price