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Top players to watch in Patriots preseason finale Titans

The New England Patriots' preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans is the last chance for players on the bubble to secure a roster spot. Key players to watch include rookie Malik Cunningham, running back J.J. Taylor, wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, tight ends Mike Gesicki and Tommy Sokol, offensive linemen Michael Onwenu and Riley Reiff, guard Chasen Hines, defensive lineman Christian Roberts, rookie Marte Mapu, linebacker Anfernee Wilson, cornerback Shaun Wade, and kicker competition between Quinn Nordin and Nick Folk.

The New England Patriots are gearing up for their preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans. While Mac Jones, the team's quarterback, may not be playing, this game is crucial for the players on the bubble who are fighting for a spot on the roster.

One player to watch is rookie Malik Cunningham. He had a strong drive in the first preseason game but didn't get any quarterback reps in the second game. Instead, he played as a wide receiver and on special teams. With Jones potentially sitting out, Cunningham might get a chance to showcase his skills as a quarterback. However, the Patriots may choose to keep him off the field to protect him from stealing the show and being claimed by another team.

Another player to keep an eye on is Taylor. He had an impressive performance against Green Bay, excelling in rushing, receiving, and pass protection. Bill Belichick praised his performance, and it seems like Taylor has a shot at earning a roster spot. However, he faces competition from second-year backs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. Another strong game from Taylor could solidify his place on the team.

Kayshon Boutte is also worth watching. After a slow start to camp, he has been impressive in recent weeks, including a 42-yard touchdown in the last game. With his involvement on special teams, he is currently projected to make the team. Another strong performance on Friday could make it difficult for the Patriots to cut him.

The battle for the third tight end position is another area of interest. Mike Gesicki, who returned to practice this week, is expected to be back by Week 1. However, the competition between Sokol and Firkser for the remaining spot or the opportunity to be activated off the practice squad on game days is still ongoing. Sokol has been the team's best in-line blocker, while Firkser offers more versatility in different positions.

The offensive line is a unit that needs monitoring. The right side of the line is a question mark, with uncertainty over whether Michael Onwenu will stay at right guard or move to right tackle. The performance of Riley Reiff and Sidy Sow in the preseason finale could impact the Week 1 lineup. The competition also continues along the interior, with rookies Atonio Mafi and Jake Andrews likely securing spots due to their draft status. However, second-year guard Chasen Hines is putting up a fight and fits well in the team's run scheme.

Roberts, a lineman, had a strong performance in the last game despite two penalties. He has shown power and explosiveness throughout the summer, making a case for a roster spot. A standout performance in the preseason finale could secure his place on the team.

Rookie Marte Mapu has yet to play this preseason due to injury. However, he has been out of his non-contact jersey for over a week, and the Patriots hope to see him on the field against the Titans. This game will be an opportunity for Mapu to showcase his skills, especially against a mobile quarterback like Malik Willis.

Wilson, a defensive player, had a solid performance in pass coverage but struggled with his angles in the run game. He needs a strong showing against Tennessee to prove he deserves a spot on the roster.

Wade, who primarily plays in the slot, has had an impressive summer. He excelled in coverage against Houston and consistently made plays in practice. He has a strong case for earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

Ameer Speed, a sixth-round rookie, has shown potential as a specialist and has flashed in the preseason. With the Patriots potentially needing depth at the boundary cornerback spot, Speed's versatility and intriguing traits make a compelling case for a roster spot.

Lastly, the competition between kickers Ryland and Folk is still ongoing. Both had a subpar practice performance recently, so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back in the preseason finale.

Overall, the Patriots' preseason finale against the Titans is crucial for players on the bubble to make their case for a roster spot. There are several key players to watch, and their performances in this game could determine their fate with the team.

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