The Patriots will take on the New Orleans Saints in their second preseason game on Saturday night. The game concludes a week that included two days of joint practices. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense shined throughout the two sessions that both teams called valuable. As with the first preseason contest, tonight will feature limited time by the starters with backups playing most of the game. With that in mind, here are five players to watch tonight:
Chris Harper- The rookie wide receiver out of Cal will likely get a lot of chances tonight with Julian Edelman, Brian Tyms, and Aaron Dobson all dealing with injuries. He has looked solid in camp and has come on strong as of late and was productive in joint practices while working with Jimmy Garoppolo. The 5’11”, 175 pound Harper has also had some punt return opportunities in camp.
Brandon Bolden/ James White- Bolden and White have been battling throughout camp to fill the third down back roll that was left open by the departure of Shane Vereen. Bolden is stronger, but White has more speed and quickness. White played in last Thursday’s preseason opener and looked like a player ready to take on the third down role. Bolden has the advantage that he plays on special teams, but if White has another strong outing he could put himself firmly ahead of Bolden.
Malcom Brown- The rookie first round pick is one of several options to fill the middle of the defensive line after Vince Wilfork signed with Houston this offseason. Pairing Brown with 2014 first round pick Dominque Easley is something the Patriots hope to do for the next several seasons.
Jimmy Garoppolo- The potential of Garoppolo starting at least one game this regular season has been well documented. What the Patriots need is for Garoppolo to have a strong game and continue to build toward his possible regular season action. He looked shaky in the first half against Green Bay last week but improved as the game went on. A more consistent performance will help both the Patriots and the young quarterback going forward.