It’s the final week of the preseason and young players around the league know this is their time to shine.
With final NFL roster cuts to 53 players looming this Saturday, this week’s games are a last chance for many players to make the roster.
“Every single play from scrimmage is an opportunity to prove to the coaches that you’re not only good enough to play in the NFL, but you’re an indispensable part of the team,” says New York Giants wide receiver VICTOR CRUZ, who made the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and was selected to the Pro Bowl last season.
For many of these young players, they know this is their last opportunity to make the final 53. Roster cut-down to maximum of 53 players on Active/Inactive List must be done by Saturday, August 31 at 6 PM ET.
Thursday, August 29
New York Giants at New England Patriots 7:30 PM NFLN
San Francisco 49ers at San Diego Chargers 10:00 PM NFLN (Joined in progress)
Some of the highlight games in Week 4 of the NFL preseason:
NEW YORK GIANTS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Thursday, NFLN, 7:30 PM ET)
New England head coach BILL BELICHICK hopes to use this week to improve in all areas after last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions.
“We just have to get back to work and do better in every area of the game,” says Belichick. “We need to go out and have a good week of practice and do things a lot better. Nobody is going to do it for us. We’re going to have to go out there and do something about it.”
The Giants, who lost to the New York Jets last week, will also utilize this week to get better as the regular season approaches.
“We’re not satisfied and we need to get better,” says Giants quarterback ELI MANNING. “We have a week of practice and we’ll try to go out there and be sharper on offense. We need to make sure we’re doing the right things. I know we can correct things. It’s just a matter of executing and doing a little better.”
HOUSTON TEXANS at DALLAS COWBOYS (Thursday, 8:00 PM ET)
In last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, Texans wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON looked ready for the regular season as he recorded seven catches for 131 yards.
“We just try to make the best of the opportunities,” says Johnson. “We’re just out there playing. We are given opportunities and we try to make the best of them. Whether it is preseason or regular season, we are trying to win. We will continue to work through next week. You can never be satisfied with where you stand. The regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to continue to get better as a team.”
The Cowboys knocked off the Cincinnati Bengals last week, highlighted by two touchdown passes from quarterback TONY ROMO.
“I thought it was important more than anything just to score points and put us in a position to have a good feeling,” says Romo. “It was something we needed to do because the starters hadn’t gotten in the end zone yet.”
Romo connected on a five-yard touchdown pass to DEZ BRYANT early in the second quarter and tossed a 12-yard touchdown to MILES AUSTIN at the end of the first half.
TENNESSEE TITANS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (Thursday, 8:00 PM ET)
The Titans defeated the Atlanta Falcons last week in a game that saw the starters playing into the second half. Tennessee’s defense recorded six sacks, including five against Atlanta’s first-team offense.
“Preseason or not, at least we won one that the guys played into the third quarter on both sides,” says Titans head coach MIKE MUNCHAK. “So we kind of got a real feel of where we’re at. It is still a lot different than the regular season. We know that. But again, you want to be ready to go out and play.”
Minnesota played in San Francisco on Sunday night and through three preseason games, head coach LESLIE FRAZIER knows what needs to be done moving forward.
“What we get done between now and our season opener is going to be important,” says Frazier. “That will probably determine what’s going to happen to our football team as we go forward. How we can utilize these three weeks that we’ve had – playing games – to learn from them and put some things together as we prepare for the regular season. There are things we can correct. There are some corrections that have to be made. But from the things that I’ve seen, they are correctable so that’s what encourages me.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (Thursday, NFLN, 10:00 PM ET)
COLIN KAEPERNICK had six consecutive completions on a touchdown drive in the 49ers’ 34-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. The young QB capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to QUINTON PATTON.
“When you get out there and you find your rhythm, that’s how you want to be playing,” says Kaepernick.
San Francisco head coach JIM HARBAUGH was happy with his team’s performance.
“I saw a lot of good football and I’m pleased with the way our guys worked, practiced all week and then came out and played in the game. I thought there was a lot of good football out there.”
For the Chargers, San Diego defeated the Arizona Cardinals 24-7 last week and got a complete team effort.
“This is the way we like to play week in and week out,” says Chargers head coach MIKE MC COY. “All three phases made plays and did their jobs to the best of their ability.
“The number one thing is we’re in this business to win. As a new staff kind of recreating an identity here of what we’re doing and what we expect of players, it’s all about winning. We’re going to compete every day in everything we do. We told everyone that in the organization. We’ve got to do whatever we can do to be the best in everything we do as an organization.”
WINNING IS A HABIT
Thirty-six of the 47 Super Bowl champions (76.6 percent) finished the preseason with a winning percentage of at least .500.
Since 2000, the 13 Super Bowl champions have combined for a 32-20 (.615) preseason record during their championship seasons.